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Passing the buck in the garbage can model of organizational choice

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  • Fioretti, Guido

Abstract

We reconstruct Cohen, March and Olsen's Garbage Can model of organizational choice as an agent-based model. In the original model, the members of an organization can postpone decision-making. We add another means for avoiding making decisions, that of buck-passing difficult problems to colleagues. We find that selfish individual behavior, such as postponing decision-making and buck-passing, does not necessarily imply dysfunctional consequences for the organizational level. The simulation experiments confirm and extend some of the most interesting conclusions of the Garbage Can model: Most decisions are made without solving any problem, organization members face the same old problems again and again, and the few problems that are solved are generally handled at low hierarchical levels. These findings have an implication that was overseen in the original model, namely, that top executives need not be good problem-solvers.

Suggested Citation

  • Fioretti, Guido, 2009. "Passing the buck in the garbage can model of organizational choice," MPRA Paper 16977, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16977
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/16977/1/MPRA_paper_16977.pdf
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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:01:p:169-190_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Secchi & Raffaello Seri, 2017. "Controlling for false negatives in agent-based models: a review of power analysis in organizational research," Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 94-121, March.
    2. Schade, Christian & Snir, Avichai, 2012. "When the stress of quitting meets the cost of playing: An Experiment on to quit or not to quit?," Structural Change in Agriculture/Strukturwandel im Agrarsektor (SiAg) Working Papers 134426, Humboldt University Berlin, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    3. Annachiara Casalini & Guido Fioretti & Andreas Pyka, 2016. "Playfulness, ideology and the technology of foolishness in the creation of a novel market niche for distributed control: The case of iPLON," Journal of Organization Design, Springer;Organizational Design Community, vol. 5(1), pages 1-16, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Organizational Decision Making; Garbage Can Model; Postponing Decisions; Buck-Passing;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other
    • D79 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Other

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