Organizational Structure and Responsibility

Lambèr Royakkers, Davide Grossi, Frank Dignum



We analyze the organizational structure of multi-agent systems and explain the precise added value and the effects of such organizational structure on the involved agents. To pursue this aim, contributions from social and organization theory are considered which provide a solid theoretical foundation to this analysis. We argue that organizational structures should be seen along at least three dimensions, instead of just one: power, coordination, and control. In order to systematize the approach, formal tools are used to describe the organizational structure as well as the effect of such structures on the activities in multi-agent systems, and especially the responsibilities within organizations of agents. The main aim of the research is to provide a formal analysis of the connections between collective obligations to individual responsibilities. Which individual agent in a group should be held responsible if an obligation directed to the whole group is not fulfilled? We will show how the three dimensions of an organizational structure together with a specific task decomposition determine the responsibilities within a (norm-governed) organization.


  1. Grossi, D., Royakkers, L., Dignum, F., Dastani, M.: Foundations of organizational structure in multi-agent systems. In Dignum, F., ed.: Proceedings of AAMAS'05, Fourth International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, ACM Press (2005) 690- 697
  2. Selznick, P.: Foundations of the theory of organization. American Sociological Review 13 (1948) 25-35
  3. Morgenstern, O.: Prolegomena to a theory of organizations. Manuscript (1951)
  4. Giddens, A.: Social Theory and Modern Sociology. Polity Press (1984)
  5. Alberts, D., Hayes, R.: Power to the Edge: Command ... Control ... in the Information Age. CCRP Publication Series, Washington (2003)
  6. Castelfranchi, C., Falcone, R.: From task delegation to role delegation. In Lenzerini, M., ed.: LNAI 1321. AI*IA 97: Advances in Artificial Intelligence. Springer Verlag, Berlin (1997) 278-289
  7. Jones, A.J.I., Sergot, M.: A formal characterization of institutionalised power. Journal of the IGPL 3 (1996) 429-445
  8. Dignum, V.: A Model for Organizational Interaction. SIKS Dissertation Series (2003)
  9. Harel, D.: Dynamic logic. In Gabbay, D., Guenthner, F., eds.: Handbook of Philosophical Logic: Volume II: Extensions of Classical Logic. Reidel, Dordrecht (1984) 497-604
  10. Conte, R., Paolucci, M.: Responsibility for societies of agents. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 7 (2004)
  11. Santos, F., Jones, A., Carmo, J.: Responsibility for action in organisations: a formal model. In Hintikka, G., Tuomela, R., eds.: Contemporary Action Theory, volume Synthese Library 267, Deventer, Kluwer (1997) 333-350

Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Royakkers L., Grossi D. and Dignum F. (2006). Organizational Structure and Responsibility . In Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Computer Supported Activity Coordination - Volume 1: CSAC, (ICEIS 2006) ISBN 978-972-8865-53-5, pages 65-74. DOI: 10.5220/0002482000650074

in Bibtex Style

author={Lambèr Royakkers and Davide Grossi and Frank Dignum},
title={Organizational Structure and Responsibility},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Computer Supported Activity Coordination - Volume 1: CSAC, (ICEIS 2006)},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Computer Supported Activity Coordination - Volume 1: CSAC, (ICEIS 2006)
TI - Organizational Structure and Responsibility
SN - 978-972-8865-53-5
AU - Royakkers L.
AU - Grossi D.
AU - Dignum F.
PY - 2006
SP - 65
EP - 74
DO - 10.5220/0002482000650074