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Title: Essays on social networks, information and organisations
Author: Harkins, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 6207
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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In the first chapter of this thesis I bring two well-known concepts from sociology and network science into the literature on network games, by microfounding the notions of the k-core and coreness. I show that these concepts arise naturally out of a simple threshold game played on a network. I also analyse the stability properties of equilibria, borrowing ideas from evolutionary game theory. The Pareto dominant equilibrium is shown to be unstable and prone to unravelling, so vulnerable nodes in the network are identified. This model can be applied to technology adoption decisions within firms and user engagement in social networks. The second chapter focuses on how firms manage public beliefs about the value of their product. I use a ‘Bayesian persuasion’ approach to investigate how they might optimally design a publicity campaign to maximise sales. The optimal campaign will depend on the accuracy of private information, with more broadly focused campaigns preferred when consumers are less certain of their valuation. I also look at how the behaviour of external reviewers influences this decision. Reviewers have varying standards to pass their test and so I analyse the optimal reviewer in this context, highlighting cases where buyers can prefer softer reviewers than sellers. The third chapter unites these themes by examining how the internal structure of the firm influences its ability to adapt itself to the external environment. Following Herbert Simon, I assume that a major obstacle in this task is insufficient attention to the relevant information. Since attention is a costly and scarce resource for employees, I examine how their endogenous allocation of attention impacts the organisation’s performance. I follow the ‘team theory’ approach to show that more broadly defined tasks exhibit inertia in decision making, also relating this to recent empirical results regarding how CEOs allocate their attention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HB Economic Theory ; HF Commerce