A decision-theoretic characterization of organizational influences

  • Sleight J
  • Durfee E
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Abstract

Despite a large body of research on integrating organizational concepts into cooperative multiagent systems, a formal understanding of how organizations can influence agents' decisions remains elusive. This paper works toward such an understanding by beginning with a model of agent decision making based on decision-theoretic principles, and then examining the possible routes that organizational influences can take to affect that model. We show that alternative avenues of applying influences correspond to different prior notions of organizational control, and empirically demonstrate the impact that each can have on the quality and overhead of coordinated behavior. To do so, we must define the agents' baseline behavior (without a designed organization), and we present a methodology for initializing agents' models to comprise what amounts to an "uninformed" organization. Finally, we show how the specification of organizational influences in terms of components of a decision-theoretic agent creates opportunities for agents to compare actual events with predictions implied in the models, such that agents can reason about whether to change organizations. We demonstrate that this capability to question and change organizations can be valuable if used judiciously.

Author-supplied keywords

  • organization
  • organizationally adept agents

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Authors

  • Jason Sleight

  • Edmund H. Durfee

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