ICOA Seminar by Stephan Billinger

Strategic decision-making in hierarchies: How firms use structure to substitute for authority

2017.03.13 | Anne Øster Marcussen

Date Tue 04 Apr
Time 10:15 11:15
Location room 242, building 1325

Tuesday 4 April 2017 at 10:15 in room 1325-242, Stephan Billinger from the Strategic Organization Design Unit at University of Southern Denmark will give a presentation entitled:

"Strategic decision-making in hierarchies: How firms use structure to substitute for authority    "

Everybody is welcome!


Strategic decisions are often made by multiple organizational members who form decision-making structures specialized for a given strategic decision.  We study a series of strategic decisions in a business unit of a global Fortune 500 firm, identifying for each decision the hierarchical and departmental positions of all participating organizational members. We find that firms substitute among structural components in decision-making structures to adapt to changes in decision complexity, decision importance, CEO proximity, and the degree to which a decision is routine. We show in different examples how substitution concerns the structural components of the decision-making structure to combine the benefits of hierarchical authority with benefits of cross-departmental coordination and redundant knowledge. We discuss implications for strategic decision-making and organizational adaption.


Stephan Billinger is an Associate Professor at the Strategic Organization Design Unit and the Danish Institute for Advanced Study. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of authority-granting across multiple levels of hierarchy. Using different methodological approaches, including experiments and in-depth case studies in firms, he examines hierarchical micro-mechanisms  and their relevance for strategic management. His work has appeared in Organization Science and the Journal of Experimental Economics, among others. Stephan received a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen (CH). Prior to joining the Strategic Organization Design Unit at the University of Southern Denmark, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at London Business School (UK).