Search results

1 – 10 of over 10000
To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 25 October 2021

Albert James Mills, Milorad Miodr Novicevic and Foster Roberts

This paper aims to examine the role of James March and his actor-network in the development of a functionalist paradigm of organization theory (OT). Recognizing the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the role of James March and his actor-network in the development of a functionalist paradigm of organization theory (OT). Recognizing the important contribution of March to the development of the field of OT, the authors set out to understand the role that he played in establishing the oft-quoted development of founding a behavioral facet of the functionalist paradigm of management theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on ANTi-History to study some of the key factors that contributed to the challenges associated with the creation of a functionalist paradigm of OT. ANTi-History is an amodernist method drawing attention to how history is produced, differing from a modernist method for identifying the single-most truth of a series of past events and from a postmodernist method for revealing the relativity of accounts of the past. To that end, the method of ANTi-History is to explore the intersections of a series of human (e.g. scholars), non-human (e.g. a textbook) and non-corporeal (e.g. paradigms) actors to assess their role in producing a version of the past (e.g. a unified field of OT).

Findings

The authors reveal how the history, producing the paradigmatic idea of OT as a supposed field of inquiry, is not an account of an actual field of inquiry as much as it is the outcome of the shared and conflicted worldviews of multiple actors.

Originality/value

The unique and original contribution is in the tracking over time of the relationship between a known and important actor James March and the formation of a specific paradigm of OT. In particular, the authors focus on the factors and activities that formed or failed to form OT at points in time and James March’s role in this. In the process, the authors set out to learn not simply what James March achieved but how he achieved it.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 26 October 2021

Daniel A. Newark

Abstract

Details

Carnegie goes to California: Advancing and Celebrating the Work of James G. March
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-979-5

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 26 October 2021

Thierry Weil

James G. March taught his students how to combine rigor and playfulness. He saw scholarship as the interplay between harnessing crazy ideas; the technology of foolishness…

Abstract

James G. March taught his students how to combine rigor and playfulness. He saw scholarship as the interplay between harnessing crazy ideas; the technology of foolishness on one side, and the rigorous building and assessment of models which emulate the behaviors of individuals in organizations and of organizations as a whole on the other side. Therefore, a student should develop not only an ability to understand the world, by mastering technical analytical methods, but also an ability to appreciate it. In order to develop the latter, one should grasp that the underlying problems of management and leadership are indistinguishable from the fundamental problems of life, and that the novels, poems and plays of great literature are the best sources to examine these problems. Thus, James March’s teaching involved basic skills in statistics, the subtle art of building models, and the study of major pieces of great literature. According to James March, teaching is not primarily about spreading knowledge but is about raising faith in scholarship. Learning is not aimed at adapting to the world, but at developing a desire to change it for more truth, beauty and justice. Higher education is a vision, a vocation, not a rational choice. Teaching is a sacrament.

Details

Carnegie goes to California: Advancing and Celebrating the Work of James G. March
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-979-5

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 26 October 2021

Chengwei Liu and Chia-Jung Tsay

Chance models – mechanisms that explain empirical regularities through unsystematic variance – have a long tradition in the sciences but have been historically…

Abstract

Chance models – mechanisms that explain empirical regularities through unsystematic variance – have a long tradition in the sciences but have been historically marginalized in management scholarship, relative to an agentic worldview about the role of managers and organizations. An exception is the work of James G. March and his coauthors, who proposed a variety of chance models that explain important management phenomena, including the careers of top executives, managerial risk taking, and organizational anarchy, learning, and adaptation. This paper serves as a tribute to the beauty of these “little ideas” and demonstrates how they can be recombined to generate novel implications. In particular, we focus on the example of an inverted V-shaped performance association centering around the year when executives were featured in a prominent listing, Barron’s annual list of Top 30 chief executive officers. Our recombination of several chance models developed by March and his coauthors provides a novel explanation for why many of the executives’ exceptional performances did not persist. In contrast to the common accounts of complacency, hubris, and statistical regression, the results show that declines from high performance may result from the way luck interacts with these executives’ slow adaptation, incompetence, and self-reinforced risk taking. We conclude by elaborating on the normative implications of chance models, which address many current management and societal challenges. We further encourage the continued development of chance models to help explain performance differences, shifting from accounts that favor heroic stories of corporate leaders toward accounts that favor their changing fortunes.

Details

Carnegie goes to California: Advancing and Celebrating the Work of James G. March
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-979-5

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 26 October 2021

Yanfei Hu and Claus Rerup

James March argued that irrational approaches to problem solving and foolishness can be useful for addressing complex problems. Grand challenges are complex problems that…

Abstract

James March argued that irrational approaches to problem solving and foolishness can be useful for addressing complex problems. Grand challenges are complex problems that often involve “guarded societal institutions” – societal beliefs and practices guarded by political or commercial powers. To explain how organizations with impossible goals dismantle such institutions by mobilizing irrationality and foolishness, we develop a process model which is illustrated with the case of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Our main contribution is to expand James March’s ideas on logics of action and organizational intelligence to advance a novel perspective for tackling big societal problems. We argue that foolishness is not only a means for finding distant solutions to complex problems but also a means for generating sustained motivation, well-being, and ideas that spark debate and lead to the questioning of taken-for-granted societal beliefs.

Details

Carnegie goes to California: Advancing and Celebrating the Work of James G. March
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-979-5

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Mie Augier

While the history of modern ideas in business education in general, and organization theory and organizational economics in particular, has several different intellectual…

Downloads
4559

Abstract

While the history of modern ideas in business education in general, and organization theory and organizational economics in particular, has several different intellectual roots, two books in particular were influential in initiating the field that is now broadly recognized as behavioral theories of organizations: A Behavioral Theory of the Firm, written by Richard Cyert and James G. March; and Organizations, written by Herbert Simon and James March. These two books set the stage for several subsequent developments in organization and management theory including research in learning, strategic management, and organizational routines. The behavioral view of the firm was also important to modern developments such as evolutionary theory and transaction cost economics. This paper examines part of this history and development, focusing in particular on the contributions of March.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 42 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 11 October 2021

Jean-Etienne Joullié and Robert Spillane

This article aims to propose a critical review of James G. March’s research in and particular its consistency with its epistemological and psychological underpinnings.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to propose a critical review of James G. March’s research in and particular its consistency with its epistemological and psychological underpinnings.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proposes a textual and conceptual analysis of James G. March’s study.

Findings

The article argues first that March’s study exemplifies the “physics envy” typical of management and organisation studies scholars since the early 1960s. Second, evidence is presented that March’s conclusions, irrespective of their legacy on management and organisation studies, were not developed along and were not consistent with the foundations that March espoused and advocated during most of his career. As a result, the implications of his conclusions are uncertain. To his credit, however, there are reasons to believe that, towards the end of his career, March came to recognise the limitations of his scholarship. Further, he indicated an alternative avenue for organisation studies which eschews the shortcomings of positivist and post-modern research.

Research limitations/implications

Although centred on March’s work, the argument presented is relevant to psychology, organisations, choice, the nature of knowledge, the limitations of positivism and post-modernism.

Originality/value

The paper balances the perspective offered by recent celebratory reviews of March’s study.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here

Abstract

Details

Carnegie goes to California: Advancing and Celebrating the Work of James G. March
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-979-5

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 19 November 2021

Jyoti Bachani

This study aims to reveal a lesser known side of Late James G. March, as a poet, by offering a curated selection of his poems. The other purpose of this study is to make a…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to reveal a lesser known side of Late James G. March, as a poet, by offering a curated selection of his poems. The other purpose of this study is to make a case for using poetry as a methodology. Poetry requires engagement by the reader, thus creating space for the personal. With multiple personal explanations co-existing, poetry allows clarity of action at the individual level while simultaneously leaving room for debate and discussion at the collective level. Thus, poetry offers pluralistic histories with room for complexity, ambiguity, paradox and contradictions.

Design/methodology/approach

The selection of poems is highly subjective, so an auto-ethnographic approach was appropriate. The collection is curated for the readers of this journal, on topics relevant for the members of the Academy of Management. The argument for poetry as a methodology is based on engaging with the poems for self-reflection and reflexivity.

Findings

March had a life-long commitment to self-expression through poems. Poetic engagement by one poetry lover with a selection of his poems about our shared profession, yields small self-discoveries that are good for the collective, by revealing unknown histories, with possibilities other than the dominant single story. Poetry as a methodology brings in the personal, that yields moving theories, that are practical in guiding individual action in personally meaningful ways, even in ambiguous, contradictory and complex situations.

Originality/value

Ideas expressed in poetic form provide a way to liberate possibilities latent in the language itself. Future work from this contribution can be that March’s poems stimulate the imaginations of other poets and poetry lovers, who may have kept it as a private pursuit, just as he did, to come out and share their personal reflexive journeys.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 1 November 2021

Russell K. Lemken and Marc H. Anderson

The purpose of this study is to examine the historical continuity of James March’s contributions to management scholarship by tracing the co-citations that appear within…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the historical continuity of James March’s contributions to management scholarship by tracing the co-citations that appear within the textual contexts of articles in premier management journals that cite both March and Simon’s 1958 book Organizations and other works co-authored by March.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses within-citation context analysis to examine 522 passages from eight premier management journals that contain co-citations to Organizations and any another work co-authored by March. This entails coding the citing passages to identify the specific knowledge claims from March’s works and how citing authors used them, which establishes linkages between the content in different works of March’s works as used by citing authors.

Findings

This study finds that 31 other works by March are co-cited within the same citation contexts along with Organizations. The vast majority (71%) of these co-citations of March’s later works are to Cyert and March’s A Behavioral Theory of the Firm. The four other most highly co-cited works are Levitt and March (1988); March (1991); Cohen et al. (1972); and Levinthal and March (1993). Of the eight summary codes used in the analysis corresponding with the contents of Organizations, two summary codes – “Routines and Programs” and “Cognitive Limits” – accounted for the clear majority (60.1%) of all co-citation contexts in this study.

Research limitations/implications

This study only examined the co-citations to Organizations in eight premier journals in organization studies, and a larger selection of journals might have altered the results to some degree. A truly comprehensive analysis might consider every citation context in the published literature where citing authors jointly mention any two or more of March’s works. Given the extraordinarily large number of citations to March’s works, this was impractical and unfeasible.

Practical implications

A time-bound and rigorous review of co-citations in common contexts allows both scholars and practitioners to recognize the genuine threads of theory presented by leading scholars and trace them through subsequent works to see how theories have evolved both in practice – reflected in empirical work – and in conception – reflected in theoretical development.

Social implications

Prior research into citation methodology has shown the proliferation of references over time. It is not uncommon for contemporary works to list 100 or more references for a single paper. This research encourages and facilitates a greater discipline in understanding and using citations by tracing the roots of citations and the extent of their importance in citing works.

Originality/value

This paper presents an historical perspective of the influence of James March’s body of scholarship by tracking within context co-citations that link a seminal early work of March to his most cited works in premier journals. This study tracks specific knowledge claims that have persisted throughout March’s corpus of scholarship. This historical method is a systematic approach to tracing how subsequent scholarship ties together and uses multiple works to support specific knowledge claims, enabling an objective analysis of the commonalities among a scholar’s works over time. This is the first example of research using this bibliographic method to form an historical perspective of a seminal author or a classic work.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 10000