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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines “A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice,” a paper authored by Michael D. Cohen, James G. March, and Johan P. Olsen. It first discusses the assumptions of the garbage can model about decision-making in organizations, paying particular attention its three main elements: problematic preferences, unclear technologies, and fluid participation. It then considers four “relatively independent streams” and their interrelations: problems, solutions, participants, and choice opportunities. The chapter also assesses the paper’s main impact by focusing on organization theory and the original formal model before turning to the more specific areas of policy-making, administrative reform, and institutional theory.

Keywords: Michael D. Cohen, James G. March, Johan P. Olsen, garbage can model, decision-making, organization theory, formal model, policy-making, administrative reform, institutional theory

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