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James G. March

Bio: James G. March is an academic researcher from Stanford University. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Organizational learning & Politics. The author has an hindex of 72, co-authored 176 publication(s) receiving 94815 citation(s). Previous affiliations of James G. March include Carnegie Mellon University & University of Bergen.
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This paper considers the relation between the exploration of new possibilities and the exploitation of old certainties in organizational learning. It examines some complications in allocating resources between the two, particularly those introduced by the distribution of costs and benefits across time and space, and the effects of ecological interaction. Two general situations involving the development and use of knowledge in organizations are modeled. The first is the case of mutual learning between members of an organization and an organizational code. The second is the case of learning and competitive advantage in competition for primacy. The paper develops an argument that adaptive processes, by refining exploitation more rapidly than exploration, are likely to become effective in the short run but self-destructive in the long run. The possibility that certain common organizational practices ameliorate that tendency is assessed.

14,959 citations

01 Jan 1963-
Abstract: List of Tables and Figures. Acknowledgements. Preface to Second Edition. 1. Introduction. 2. Antecedents of the Behavioral Theory of the Firm. 3. Organizational Goals. 4. Organizational Expectations. 5. Organizational Choice. 6. A Specific Price and Output Model. 7. A Summary of Basic Concepts in the Behavioral Theory of the Firm. 8. Some Implications. 9. An Epilogue. Index.

8,662 citations

Posted Content
Abstract: Provides a theory of decision making within business organizations. Contrary to the economic theory of the firm, which sees firms as profit-maximizing entities, the authors advocate a theory based on empirical observation of actual firm decision-making. Various features of firm decision-making are identified. First, firms are coalitions of participants whose individual goals may and often do conflict. How this conflict is resolved is determined by the firm's bargaining process. This process is constrained by past behavior and decisions. Second, the authors reject the notion that firms are one-dimensional profit-maximizers in favor of a view of firms as entities with many different objectives that will accept suboptimal outcomes if they are above a minimum level. Congruent with this, a firm's search activity occurs in response to a perceived problem and is limited in scope. The effect is that firm policies will change only incrementally. Also impeding radical policy change is the fact that firms react to uncertainty using standardized decision rules. Using this theory, two computer models of business decision-making are presented and compared with actual results. These models are shown to have especially good predictive power. (CAR)

6,676 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Organized anarchies are organizations characterized by problematic preferences, unclear technology, and fluid participation. Recent studies of universities, a familiar form of organized anarchy, suggest that such organizations can be viewed for some purposes as collections of choices looking for problems, issues and feelings looking for decision situations in which they might be aired, solutions looking for issues to which they might be an answer, and decision makers looking for work. These ideas are translated into an explicit computer simulation model of a garbage can decision process. The general implications of such a model are described in terms of five major measures on the process. Possible applications of the model to more narrow predictions are illustrated by an examination of the model's predictions with respect to the effect of adversity on university decision making.

6,559 citations

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: In this paper we draw on recent progress in the theory of (1) property rights, (2) agency, and (3) finance to develop a theory of ownership structure for the firm.1 In addition to tying together elements of the theory of each of these three areas, our analysis casts new light on and has implications for a variety of issues in the professional and popular literature, such as the definition of the firm, the “separation of ownership and control,” the “social responsibility” of business, the definition of a “corporate objective function,” the determination of an optimal capital structure, the specification of the content of credit agreements, the theory of organizations, and the supply side of the completeness-of-markets problem.

45,832 citations

Book ChapterDOI
Abstract: Understanding sources of sustained competitive advantage has become a major area of research in strategic management. Building on the assumptions that strategic resources are heterogeneously distributed across firms and that these differences are stable over time, this article examines the link between firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Four empirical indicators of the potential of firm resources to generate sustained competitive advantage-value, rareness, imitability, and substitutability are discussed. The model is applied by analyzing the potential of several firm resources for generating sustained competitive advantages. The article concludes by examining implications of this firm resource model of sustained competitive advantage for other business disciplines.

43,350 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Feb 2009-
Abstract: Building Theories From Case Study Research - This paper describes the process of inducting theory using case studies from specifying the research questions to reaching closure. Some features of the process, such as problem definition and construct validation, are similar to hypothesis-testing research. Others, such as within-case analysis and replication logic, are unique to the inductive, case-oriented process. Overall, the process described here is highly iterative and tightly linked to data. This research approach is especially appropriate in new topic areas. The resultant theory is often novel, testable, and empirically valid. Finally, framebreaking insights, the tests of good theory (e.g., parsimony, logical coherence), and convincing grounding in the evidence are the key criteria for evaluating this type of research.

37,906 citations

Book ChapterDOI
Abstract: What makes organizations so similar? We contend that the engine of rationalization and bureaucratization has moved from the competitive marketplace to the state and the professions. Once a set of organizations emerges as a field, a paradox arises: rational actors make their organizations increasingly similar as they try to change them. We describe three isomorphic processes-coercive, mimetic, and normative—leading to this outcome. We then specify hypotheses about the impact of resource centralization and dependency, goal ambiguity and technical uncertainty, and professionalization and structuration on isomorphic change. Finally, we suggest implications for theories of organizations and social change.

30,905 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The dynamic capabilities framework analyzes the sources and methods of wealth creation and capture by private enterprise firms operating in environments of rapid technological change. The competitive advantage of firms is seen as resting on distinctive processes (ways of coordinating and combining), shaped by the firm's (specific) asset positions (such as the firm's portfolio of difftcult-to- trade knowledge assets and complementary assets), and the evolution path(s) it has aflopted or inherited. The importance of path dependencies is amplified where conditions of increasing retums exist. Whether and how a firm's competitive advantage is eroded depends on the stability of market demand, and the ease of replicability (expanding intemally) and imitatability (replication by competitors). If correct, the framework suggests that private wealth creation in regimes of rapid technological change depends in large measure on honing intemal technological, organizational, and managerial processes inside the firm. In short, identifying new opportunities and organizing effectively and efficiently to embrace them are generally more fundamental to private wealth creation than is strategizing, if by strategizing one means engaging in business conduct that keeps competitors off balance, raises rival's costs, and excludes new entrants. © 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

25,469 citations


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Author's H-index: 72

No. of papers from the Author in previous years

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Author's top 5 most impactful journals

Administrative Science Quarterly

12 papers, 9.6K citations

Organization Science

8 papers, 17.2K citations

American Political Science Review

5 papers, 3.8K citations

Social Science Research Network

5 papers, 7.3K citations