Skills, preferences and rights: evolutionary complementarities in labour organisation

The paper contributes to the literature on organisational change by analysing two competing paradigms of work organisation, where a “hierarchical” regime characterised by concentration of decision-making power is juxtaposed to a “network-like” regime where workers are entitled to modulate their productive activity via the delegation of decision rights. It does so by presenting an evolutionary game-theoretic model where heterogenous workers are matched with heterogenous organisations, within a framework where the existence of strategic complementarities between organisations and employees determine the latter’s motivation and well-being, the efficiency of production and the stability of equilibria. Explicit conditions under which the system may remain stuck into what we call “an evolutionary trap” are derived, as to explain the observed persistence of sub-optimal equilibria in organisational behaviour and account for many of the empirical puzzles which seem to characterise nowadays’ Western economies.