Making, breaking and following rules: The Irvine case
20T16:07:46Z February 2014
James March’s highly influential article on organisational learning underpins the studies of exploration and exploitation collected in this issue. What is less well known is that March’s article, which is based on a computer simulation of collective and individual learning, reflects a reallife experiment in exploration and exploitation that he, in large part, designed and conducted when he was the new ‘boy Dean’ of the School of Social Sciences in the University of California at Irvine between 1964 and 1969. This paper tells this story and then uses it to critique March’s AU :1 original model. It argues that March’s model, which was probably the first simulation of an organisation learning, worked to constitute rather than AU :2 model the phenomenon of organisational learning. The Irvine story is also important because it provides the context for what constitutes knowledge in organisation theory, and because it highlights the personal trauma and distress that can accompany the creative play of exploration.
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Copyright (Published Version)
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Mikael Holmqvist, André Spicer (ed.) Managing ‘Human Resources’ by Exploiting and Exploring People’s Potentials (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 37)
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