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An Agent-Based Representation of the Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice

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Abstract

Cohen, March and Olsen's Garbage Can Model (GCM) of organizational choice represent perhaps the first – and remains by far the most influential –agent-based representation of organizational decision processes. According to the GCM organizations are conceptualized as crossroads of time-dependent flows of four distinct classes of objects: 'participants,' 'opportunities,' 'solutions' and 'problems.' Collisions among the different objects generate events called 'decisions.' In this paper we use NetLogo to build an explicit agent-based representation of the original GCM. We conduct a series of simulation experiments to validate and extend some of the most interesting conclusions of the GCM. We show that our representation is able to reproduce a number of properties of the original model. Yet, unlike the original model, in our representation these properties are not encoded explicitly, but emerge from general principles of the Garbage Can decision processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Fioretti & Alessandro Lomi, 2007. "An Agent-Based Representation of the Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 11(1), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2007-19-3
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    File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/11/1/1/1.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Gibbons, 2003. "Team theory, garbage cans and real organizations: some history and prospects of economic research on decision-making in organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 753-787, August.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:01:p:191-198_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:01:p:169-190_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tesfatsion, Leigh & Judd, Kenneth L., 2006. "Handbook of Computational Economics, Vol. 2: Agent-Based Computational Economics," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10368, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. James G. March, 1978. "Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 587-608, Autumn.
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