James March has been named one of the gurus in a list complied by The Economist Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus, announced in an article in the Economist. We congratulate James March (author of Explorations in Organizations and The Dynamics of Rules: Changes in Written Organizational Codes) on this much deserved accolade. He is author of ideas, like satisficing, which has become part of the vocabulary across the social sciences and business. It is the idea that we as consumers and managers go for the less-than-rational decision because we are restricted by human and organizational limitations (to mention two broad factors). As the Economist points out, March comes up with " colorful metaphors" in which to package his theories, for instance, the "garbage-can" theory of organizational decision-making, which (once again) emphasizes the chaotic nature in which problems are tackled and solutions assigned in organizations. The solutions may not address the problems for which they were designed. And, what was the problem? Sound familiar? Anybody who has ever worked for a company of any size can relate to that. His other inventive metaphors include "technology as foolishness" and the "hot-stove effect."
With his full embrace of organizations as both rule-based and imperfectly adaptive and complex systems, it is no wonder that Professor March finds much inspiration in poetry and in the work of Cervantes. His most recent book with SUP, Explorations in Organizations, considers theories of organizational action, the ways in which organizations continue to adapt, and the uses of literature in the study of organizations.