Garbage Can in the Lab

The Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice: Looking Forward at Forty

ISBN: 978-1-78052-712-3, eISBN: 978-1-78052-713-0

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 26 October 2012


We develop an experimental setting where the assumptions and predictions of the garbage can model can be tested. A careful reconstruction of the original simulation model let us select parameters that leave room for potential variations in individual behavior. Our experimental design replicates these parameters and thereby facilitates comparison of human behavior with the original model. We find that the majority strategy of human subjects is consistent with the original model, but exhibits some behavioral diversity. Human subjects exhibit fluid diverse behaviors that improve coordination in the face of uncertainty, but hinder collective learning that can improve group performance.


Knudsen, T., Warglien, M. and Yi, S. (2012), "Garbage Can in the Lab", Lomi, A. and Harrison, J. (Ed.) The Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice: Looking Forward at Forty (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 36), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 189-227.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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