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Combining Information Technology and Decentralized Workplace Organization: SMEs versus Larger Firms

Fabienne Rasel

International Journal of the Economics of Business, 2016, vol. 23, issue 2, 199-241

Abstract: This paper examines whether information technology (IT) and decentralized and incentive-based workplace organization are complementary only for large firms or also for smaller firms. Previous empirical evidence suggesting complementarity between IT and decentralization is mainly based on large firms. Using data from a sample of 3,288 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 595 larger firms from the manufacturing and service sector in Germany, it appears that SMEs with decentralized and incentive-based work practices tend to use IT more intensively. Moreover, for the sample of SMEs, IT and workplace organization are individually associated with higher productivity, but the combination of IT and decentralization does not yield a productivity premium. In contrast, the productivity of IT depends positively on decentralization for large firms. The findings suggest that combining IT and decentralized workplace organization seems only to be a successful strategy for larger firms.

Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1080/13571516.2015.1106065

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