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Primer on Decision Making


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Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments Preface 1. Limited Rationality The Idea of Rational Choice Limited (or Bounded) Rationality Theories of Attention and Search Risk and Risk Taking 2. Rule Following Decision Making as Rule Following Rules, Identities, and Action Rule Development and Change Appropriate Rules or Consequential Choice? 3. Multiple Actors: Teams and Partners Interpersonal Consistency and Teams Interpersonal Inconsistencies Social Bases of Inconsistencies Uneasy Partners 4. Multiple Actors: Conflict and Politics Decisions and Power Decisions and Coalitions Participation and Decision Instabilities Single Actors and Multiple Actors 5. Ambiguity and Interpretation Order and Ambiguity in Decision Making Ambiguous Bases of Decision Making Loose Coupling in Organizations Garbage Can Decision Process Decision Making and the Construction of Meaning Ambiguity and Understanding 6. Decision Engineering Defining Decision Intelligence Improving Adaptiveness Using Knowledge Creating Meaning Notes Additional Reading Index About the Author

About the Author

James G. March is the Jack Steele Parker Professor of International Management and a professor of political science and sociology at Stanford University. Professor March is the author and co-author of numerous books and hundreds of journal articles on organizations, decision making, and leadership. He lives in Stanford, California.


Sidney G. Winter

Deloitte and Touche Professor of Management, The Wharton SchoolA wonderfully balanced and urbane account of the realities of decision making in a complicated world.

Tom Peters

The Tom Peters GroupMarch towers above the landscape in his understanding of the process of actual decision making in organizations. This masterful and accessible book is a gem.

Daniel Kahneman

Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, Princeton UniversityBrilliant, wise, thoroughly original, and deeply rooted in a large body of modern research. An occasion for the gratitude of all students of decision making.

Nils Brunsson

Professor of Management, Stockholm School of EconomicsAn extraordinarily rich and clear analysis by the leading scholar in the field. This book will not only become a standard reader in courses of decision theory but will also serve as an introduction to many related areas.

Herbert A. Simon

Nobel Laureate in Economic ScienceOver a half century of research and writing, March has done more than anyone else to give us an unvarnished picture of how people actually make decisions in organizations, with all the uncertainty, craftiness, illogic, passion, ignorance, and even playfulness that entails. In this book he sums up his incisive insights into the decision-making process, and shares with us some very practical notions about the difficualt task of making intelligent decisions.

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