Annals of Business Administrative Science
Online ISSN : 1347-4456
Print ISSN : 1347-4464
Garbage Can Code
Mysteries in the Original Simulation Model
Nobuyuki INAMIZU
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2015 Volume 14 Issue 1 Pages 15-34

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Abstract

The garbage can model created by Cohen, March, and Olsen (1972) explains organizational decision making under ambiguity. In the initial study outlining the model, a computer simulation was used for analysis. However, despite the appendix of Cohen et al. (1972) providing the Fortran source code for the simulation, subsequent studies rarely made any reference to the simulation model. In this study, we examine the simulation model of Cohen et al. by rebuilding the aforementioned source code. The results of our study clearly indicate the following three points. 1) the program created by Cohen et al. failed to detect the three decision-making styles (decision by resolution, decision by oversight, and decision by flight); 2) decision making sometimes occurred not only when choice opportunities had no problems but also when a choice opportunity had no decision maker; and 3) even when there were no problems attached to choice opportunities, the initial setting was programmed as though there were, perhaps to avoid the decision making seen in 2).

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