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What Simon said: the impact of the major management works of Herbert Simon

Gerry Kerr (Odette School of Business, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to trace the impact of a major management scholar, Herbert Simon.


A novel approach was employed in identifying the most influential research articles that have made use of Simon's two great management works, Administrative Behavior and Organizations (with James March). The list allowed the close analysis of the nature of the influence wielded by Herbert Simon on management scholarship. The process of analysis was guided by a targeted search. Google Scholar allowed the compilation of a list of top‐cited research articles that made use of the two books. The 25 most‐cited articles associated with each were then categorized by their subject matter and examined for the impact of Simon's research.


As measured by citations, Herbert Simon's influence on management scholarship has been immense. Administrative Behavior and Organizations have incurred huge numbers of citations, more than 7,000 each. Moreover, not one of the 50 papers populating the two lists has generated fewer than 1,000 citations. Both works contributed heavily to research on theories of the firm, organizational learning and knowledge, and on organizational coordination and decision‐making, among other topics.


An emerging research tool, Google Scholar, was engaged, allowing an empirically based analysis of Herbert Simon's contribution to management scholarship. The results mark, with unusual clarity, the direction and nature of Simon's enormous influence.



Kerr, G. (2011), "What Simon said: the impact of the major management works of Herbert Simon", Journal of Management History, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 399-419.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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