ICOA Seminar by Maciej Workiewicz

Project Screening and Resource Allocation in Boss-less Organisations

2017.03.17 | Merete Elmann

Date Tue 02 May
Time 10:15 11:15
Location Room 1325-242, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University

Tuesday 2 May at 10:15 in room 1325-242, Maciej Workiewicz, Assistant Professor of Management at ESSEC Business School in France, will give a presentation entitled:

Project Screening and Resource Allocation in Boss-less Organizations


Everyone is welcome!


Boss-less organizations have been an emerging phenomenon that has attracted attention of both scholars and practitioners. The proponents of this new form, where employees self-select to projects, argue that it offers considerable advantages over the more traditional hierarchical approach. The empirical and anecdotal evidence, however, has so far offered mixed results. We propose an agent-based model that captures key properties of open and central resource allocation and use the model to illustrate the mechanisms and boundary conditions for the application of the two opposing modes of project selection and resource allocation. The results of the model suggest that the relative balance between the resources of the organization and number of opportunities it faces plays a critical role in determining the efficacy of the two forms. We provide a detailed analysis of the mechanism and discuss potential applications of our findings to studies of industry evolution and firm size.

Maciej Workiewicz is an Assistant Professor of Management at ESSEC Business School in France (His name is pronounced [MA-chay], rhymes with "pay" or "day".) He presents himself below.

In my research, I focus on the role of authority in the functioning of organizations. In particular, I study organizations where managers report to two or more superiors, as in the case of matrix and project-based organizations – a type of hierarchy I call “the multi-authority form”. This organizational form is widely diffused among contemporary companies and having multiple solid and dotted reporting lines has become a daily reality for many managers. However, we know relatively little about the mechanisms through which this form operates, and the boundary conditions regarding its use and effectiveness.

The theoretical literature, especially that employing formal and computational modelling, has focused on traditional types of hierarchies, such as the functional and the M-form, and has largely ignored multi-authority structures. The empirical literature, on the other hand, has investigated multi-authority forms such as matrix and project-based organizations, but has produced conflicting findings. While some studies suggest that this form increases the information flow, employee motivation and productivity, and speeds up the response to environmental challenges, other studies, often citing the same mechanisms, report the opposite effects.