Self-Organizing Mechanisms for Task Allocation in a Knowledge-Based Economy

Marcozzi, Andrea (2009) Self-Organizing Mechanisms for Task Allocation in a Knowledge-Based Economy , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Informatica, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1338.
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A prevalent claim is that we are in knowledge economy. When we talk about knowledge economy, we generally mean the concept of “Knowledge-based economy” indicating the use of knowledge and technologies to produce economic benefits. Hence knowledge is both tool and raw material (people’s skill) for producing some kind of product or service. In this kind of environment economic organization is undergoing several changes. For example authority relations are less important, legal and ownership-based definitions of the boundaries of the firm are becoming irrelevant and there are only few constraints on the set of coordination mechanisms. Hence what characterises a knowledge economy is the growing importance of human capital in productive processes (Foss, 2005) and the increasing knowledge intensity of jobs (Hodgson, 1999). Economic processes are also highly intertwined with social processes: they are likely to be informal and reciprocal rather than formal and negotiated. Another important point is also the problem of the division of labor: as economic activity becomes mainly intellectual and requires the integration of specific and idiosyncratic skills, the task of dividing the job and assigning it to the most appropriate individuals becomes arduous, a “supervisory problem” (Hogdson, 1999) emerges and traditional hierarchical control may result increasingly ineffective. Not only specificity of know how makes it awkward to monitor the execution of tasks, more importantly, top-down integration of skills may be difficult because ‘the nominal supervisors will not know the best way of doing the job – or even the precise purpose of the specialist job itself – and the worker will know better’ (Hogdson,1999). We, therefore, expect that the organization of the economic activity of specialists should be, at least partially, self-organized. The aim of this thesis is to bridge studies from computer science and in particular from Peer-to-Peer Networks (P2P) to organization theories. We think that the P2P paradigm well fits with organization problems related to all those situation in which a central authority is not possible. We believe that P2P Networks show a number of characteristics similar to firms working in a knowledge-based economy and hence that the methodology used for studying P2P Networks can be applied to organization studies. Three are the main characteristics we think P2P have in common with firms involved in knowledge economy: - Decentralization: in a pure P2P system every peer is an equal participant, there is no central authority governing the actions of the single peers; - Cost of ownership: P2P computing implies shared ownership reducing the cost of owing the systems and the content, and the cost of maintaining them; - Self-Organization: it refers to the process in a system leading to the emergence of global order within the system without the presence of another system dictating this order. These characteristics are present also in the kind of firm that we try to address and that’ why we have shifted the techniques we adopted for studies in computer science (Marcozzi et al., 2005; Hales et al., 2007 [39]) to management science.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Marcozzi, Andrea
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze e ingegneria dell'informazione
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Self-Organizing, Organization theory, Task allocation, Peer-to-Peer, Knowledge Economy
Data di discussione
20 Aprile 2009

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