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Consideration of the origin of Herbert Simon's theory of “satisficing” (1933‐1947)

Reva Brown (Oxford Brookes University Business School, Oxford, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



Herbert Simon's major contribution to decision‐making theory is the concept of “satisficing”. This was first posited in Administrative Behavior, published in 1947, and the book, concerned as it was with establishing a scientific approach to administrative theory, puts forward an adjustment of then‐current economic theory, which viewed administrative choice as a process of maximising. While, over the ensuing decades, Simon adjusted his definitions of both “economic man” and of “satisficing” in several subsequent publications, the original exposition of these was a major contribution to the area of administrative theory. An attempt has been made here to explore what circumstances might have led Simon into putting forward the concept of “satisficing”.



Brown, R. (2004), "Consideration of the origin of Herbert Simon's theory of “satisficing” (1933‐1947)", Management Decision, Vol. 42 No. 10, pp. 1240-1256.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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