Cover of Explorations in Organizations by James G. March
Explorations in Organizations
James G. March

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2008
480 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804758970
Paper ISBN: 9780804758987

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Explorations in Organizations presents readers with contemporary issues in the study of organizations, and introduces the paths down which tomorrow's organizational scholarship might travel. A collection of recent papers by or co-authored by the eminent James G. March, the book consists of five sections: exploring theories of organizational action; novelty in organizational adaptation; institutions and the logic of appropriateness; the history of organization studies; and uses of literature in the study of organizations.

Each section begins with a new essay by a scholar whose work has focused on the theme explored in that part of the book. These introductory essays not only introduce and tie together the papers that follow, but also serve to add additional voices to the volume in order to deepen the discussion within it.

About the author

James G. March is Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. He holds appointments in the Schools of Business and Education, and in the Departments of Political Science and Sociology.

"With a little help from his friends, James G. March reprises in this collection his earliest and latest explorations of organizations.Well-known themes of organizational action, institutional logics, and the role of novelty are contemplated and extended; less familiar themes of organizations in literature and the history of organization studies are introduced and given shape. Explorations of each theme bring to life March's pioneering view of organizations as complex, rule-based, imperfectly adaptive, interpretive systems--a view as vital and vibrant in organization studies today as when it helped found the field a half century ago."

—Joel Baum, Canadian National Chair in Strategic Management, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

"Jim March is one of our time's leading social scientists and every new article and book from his pen is a treat for the reader. This new book, his third collection of essays, is no exception. There is a vigor and creativity to the arguments that makes these two dozen new articles irresistibly fun and interesting. Read, enjoy—and feel inspired!"

—Richard Swedberg, Cornell University

"In an age in which scholarship is increasingly commodified, Explorations in Organizations reminds us that it is possible to pursue ideas across what others see as boundaries. This volume presents several, well-defined windows onto the garden of organization theory that March has done a great deal to create, suggesting some directions for growth. As March notes in his introduction to the volume, the somewhat chaotic nature of the garden may be an important part of the vitality of the field."

—Martha S. Feldman, Johnson Chair for Civic Governance and Public Management, University of California, Irvine

"This volume of papers by Jim March makes clear that there is no scholar who is more effective at inspiring at the same time that he informs. Over the years, March has cultivated a vision of organizational life that has not only illuminated realities that went unnoticed by so many, but he has also sparked the imagination and, therefore, the research of countless scholars. Accordingly, this book serves as a reminder as to why we should be so grateful to Jim March for his many gifts to the field of organizational scholarship."

—Joel Podolny, Dean and William S. Beinecke Professor, Yale School of Management

"In this third collection of papers (which, together, span five decades!), Jim March continues to inspire—not just with his ideas, but also by being "unremittingly exuberant about the pursuit of [them]." In all three collections, economists may find greatest connection to the idea of an "organization as a decision-making process" proposed by Cyert and March (1963). In each successive decade, March and co-authors have elaborated on this theme; more recently, so have organizational economists. But, whereas Coase (1972) described his 1937 article as "much cited and little used," the reverse might be said of March's work: in organizational economics, we use his ideas every day, often without recalling their inception."

—Robert Gibbons, Sloan School of Management and Department of Economics, MIT