Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations

March, James G.

This book is based on a series of studies of organizational choice in Denmark, Norway, and the United States. It is an attempt to underĀ­ stand how organizations deal with ambiguity - goals that are unclear, technologies that are imperfectly understood, histories that are difficult to interpret, and participants who wander in and out. It is in the tradition of theories of organizational decision making and draws heavily on the works of Allison, Coleman, Crecine, Cyert, Edelman, Hirschman, Lindblom, Simon, Steinbruner, Thompson, and Weick. Because the problems of ambiguity are very conspicuous in educational institutions, most of the studies are studies of decision making in an educational context. These include the selection of a new dean in an American university (Chapters 6, 15), the location decisions of Norwegian district colleges (Chapter 10) and a new Norwegian medical school (Chapter 7), several important decisions in a Danish free school (Chapters 8 and 16), major decisions in American universities (Chapters 9 and 12), desegregation decisions in San Francisco schools (Chapter 11), participation and reorganization in the University of Oslo (Chapters 13 and 14r), and beliefs about power in the Danish Technical University (Chapter 17).

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