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Structure, Skill, and Ambition in Organizational Problem Solving

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

Abstract

We extend the classical garbage can model to examine how individual differences in ability and motivation will influence organizational performance. We find that spontaneous coordination provided by an organized anarchy is superior when agents are equally competent. The Weberian bureaucracy of planned coordination is effective when problems require specialist knowledge. However, errors in matching problems to specialized agents are a central challenge for bureaucracies. Actual organizations, therefore, combine elements of organized anarchies and bureaucracies. Heterogeneous motivation compounds coordination problems, but is usually less important than competence. Our findings point to matching and interactive learning as fruitful areas for further study.

Citation

Knudsen, T., Stieglitz, N. and Yi, S. (2012), "Structure, Skill, and Ambition in Organizational Problem Solving", Lomi, A. and Harrison, J.R. (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. 319-345. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X(2012)0000036015

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited