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Power and Control in Chinese Private Enterprises

Organizational Design in the Taiwanese Media Industry

by Kai Schlevogt

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Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science
Advisor(s): Institute of Management
Degree: M.Sc. (Econ) in Management
Year: 1995
Volume: 164 pages
ISBN-10: 1581120338
ISBN-13: 9781581120332


An empirical study was undertaken to (a) examine various determinants influencing (de-)centralisation in Trans-World, the largest producer of television programs in Taiwan, and (b) make normative recommendations as to how insights from organisational dynamics models can be used in practice. The research was based on a sample of 63 standardised personal interviews with all Trans-World employees. Scales were particularly developed for the purpose of this study. In-depth interviews, participant observer and archival data were combined with the survey data to test a model predicting uncertainty and interdependence as primary drivers of decentralisation. Results showed that despite high uncertainty and interdependence, Trans-World was highly centralised. This apparent paradox was explained by the overriding influence of two other factors not usually modelled, including both the owner-manager's desire to control and national culture. Reduced organisational effectiveness due to this partial "misfit" was sustainable through the company's oligopolistic power based on personal relations. Managerial recommendations included the use of a "company profile grid" to determine the optimal degree of decentralisation.

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