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CEP discussion paper
Team adaptation
Jordi Blanes i Vidal and Marc Möller
April 2016
Paper No' CEPDP1421:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D02; D23; L29

Tags: teams; organizations; communication; disclosure; adaptation; motivation

We model an organization as a team choosing between a status quo project and a potentially superior alternative. We show that the members’ concern for each other’s motivation leads to a lack of communication, resulting in a failure to adapt (i.e. the status quo is maintained even when evidence for the alternative’s superiority has been observed). Adaptation failures are particularly severe when production exhibits strong complementarities. Improving the organization’s aggregate information has the adverse effect of reducing communication. In the long run, the organization can become “locked-in” with the status quo, in that adaptation is impaired for every adoptable alternative.