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The Rhetorical Dimensions of Bounded Rationality: Herbert A. Simon and Organizational Economics


  • Nicolai J. Foss


I discuss the rhetorical dimensions of bounded rationality in two different, yet related, contexts, namely in the practice of organizational economists and in Herbert Simon’s key attempts to persuade economists to take bounded rationality seriously, his Ely lecture and his Nobel Prize lecture. I discuss various reasons why Simon failed to convince his contemporaries, among other things, the absence of clear definitions of bounded rationality and heuristics for incorporating it into economic models. Simon’s failures in these respects help explaining the very modest, and mainly “rhetorical,” use of bounded rationality in the works of organizational economists.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolai J. Foss, "undated". "The Rhetorical Dimensions of Bounded Rationality: Herbert A. Simon and Organizational Economics," IVS/CBS Working Papers 2002-07, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ivs:iivswp:02-07

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    Cited by:

    1. Estrada, Fernando, 2012. "Herbert Simon: bounded rationality y teoría de las organizaciones
      [Herbert Simon: bounded rationality and organizations theory]
      ," MPRA Paper 38686, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Herbert Simon; bounded rationality; organizational economics; rhetoric.;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • M1 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration

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