To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Bounded Rationality, Heuristics, Computational Complexity, and Artificial Intelligence

Behavioral Strategy in Perspective

ISBN: 978-1-78756-348-3, eISBN: 978-1-78756-347-6

ISSN: 0742-3322

Publication date: 21 September 2018


Herbert A. Simon and Alan Newell won the Turing Award jointly in Computer Science for foundational work on Artificial Intelligence. Simon also won the Nobel Prize in Economics for the concept of “bounded rationality.” In both cases, the same heuristic was deemed fundamental: “Search till a satisfactory solution is found.” We argue that behavioral strategy can learn a great deal from the Theory of Computational Complexity and Artificial Intelligence. These fields can provide a sounder theoretical grounding for bounded rationality and for the necessity and usefulness of heuristics. Finally, a concept of “organizational intractability” based roughly on the metaphor provided by the Theory of Computational Complexity may be useful in determining what analytical decision technologies are actually intractable in real organizations with constraints on time and managerial attention.




The authors would like to thank Michelle Rogan and Isin Guler for their insightful comments on an earlier draft. They greatly improved the quality of the paper. Any remaining errors are the authors’ responsibility. This paper is dedicated to Anna Quinn Bettis, the first granddaughter of the first author born on October 15, 2017.


Bettis, R.A. and Hu, S. (2018), "Bounded Rationality, Heuristics, Computational Complexity, and Artificial Intelligence", Behavioral Strategy in Perspective (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 139-150.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited