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.
6 April 2016 Paper Number CEPDP1421
This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Growth programme.