Herbert A. Simon, Administrative Behavior: A study of decision-making processes in administrative organization

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In Administrative Behavior, Herbert Simon proposed a science of administration where organizational decisions represent the primary units of analysis. In constructing a conceptual framework to guide that science, Simon drew heavily on insights from cognitive psychology. Since its publication in 1947, Administrative Behaviorhas inspired researchers investigating institutional and organizational practices across many settings. Here, consideration is given to the impact of Administrative Behavior in public policy and public administration. Four legacies are highlighted. They are: scholarship on incrementalism in policy-making, scholarship on agenda setting, scholarship on choice architecture, and scholarship on expertise and learning organizations. Continuous improvements in information technology and its application, combined with increasing citizen demands for more effective and efficient government, suggest ideas introduced in Administrative Behavior will continue to influence theory and practice in policy design and public management for years to come.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Classics in Public Policy and Administration
EditorsMartin Lodge, Edward C. Page, Steven J. Balla
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780199646135
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Management
  • decision-making
  • organizational behavior
  • bounded rationality
  • incrementalism
  • agenda-setting
  • choice architecture
  • expertise

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