- what is it about organizations that have meant that we have ended up with a garbage can theory of decision making?
- under what organizational conditions would the garbage can the theory of decision making apply
Within the micropolitics, numerous goals, and purposes
- The outcomes of every political engagement will strengthen the strategic position of the organization and compromise the organization’s long-term survival.
- The official structure and culture of the org (the formal blueprint or ‘organizational design’, calculations and actions of organizational actors) contribute to the negotiated order of the organization.
- According to the control system and a narrowing career ladder, we see a pattern of order in which things seem ‘very organized’ and ‘disorganized’ – anarchic even.
- Organized anarchy was used to capture the quality of organizational life
- The term usefully brings out the rather paradoxical quality of all organizational processes: their tendency, at the same time, to be both very organized and ‘very disorganized’.
- The garbage can model of organizational choice developed by these same researchers can usefully help us see how this ‘disorganized-organization’ quality of organized life manifests itself in decision-making situations in organizations generally.
Definition: garbage can model of organizational choice
- Organizational decisions are influenced by the various problems that exist at the time of the decision; the various available solutions which might be attached to these problems;
- the people who are around at the time; the amout of the time these people have available.
- GC help us understand further the way that the general negotiated order of an organization comes about by focusing on the specific processes that occur in particular decision-making or organizational choice events.
- GC makes us aware that there are plenty of other factors ‘at play’ when managers meet to make decisions because of the variety of different goals and interests.
- A complex mixture in the big vessel of the decision-making event leads to the use of the metaphor of the garbage can (big suitcase, loaded shopping trolley model).
Decision-making in organisations
Decision-making is a rational organisational process – but only in part. To understand how it happens in practice we must take into account:
- the boundedness of human rationality and the pervasiveness of ambiguity & uncertainty which we considered last week
- managerial politics and the pursuit of self & sectional interests
- how these two things – ambiguity etc, on the one hand, and the pursuit of interests on the other hand – interrelate Identification of a problem- discuss all the relevant information – the emerge of the solution – one best
How complex the mix of factor is in typical decision making.
- more than one problem ‘floating around’Meeting to tackle a specific problem, but people will tend to bring along further problems.
- solutions are rarely ‘created’ in the decision-making process. Bring various already existing solutions to a problem, but sometimes there are solutions not the focal ones/ might attached to the problem the meeting is tackling. Eg. Solution for heating system in a building- -demolish the building.
- the people who turn up to contribute to the decision making process, and those who fail to turn up, will affect outcomes. Eg. The person with knowledge og heating engineering fail to turn up.
- The amount of time the people who are involved have available – or, indeed, the extent to which they are willing to concentrate on what is going on – will make a difference to the decision that is reached.( engineer has just arrived back from holiday, is sick and jet-lagged and has to leave early….)
Our awareness of the importance of micropolitical processes encourages us to Pay close attention to the ‘variables’ who is present and what amount of time or concentration each of them is going to devote to the extent.
Take into account in a decision making
In process decision processes (as we see in Links Leisure centre, case 6.2) people
- fulfil duties
- meet commitments
- justify themselves
- distribute glory & blame
- exercise, challenge & defend friendships
- seek power and status
- further personal or group interests
- have a good time
Garbage cans contain (four streams)
- problems which are around at the time
- available solutions which might be attached to these problems
- people who are around
- the amount of time people have
Other information (in my essay)
- Moreover, garbage can model was developed to explain the decision making in high ambiguous settings called organized anarchy (Cohen, March and Olsen, 1972).
- Organized anarchy, which is characterized by rapid change and a collegial, nonbureaucratic, is an extremely organic organization (Daft, 2007).
- The model describes a random confluence of four streams:
- Problems (points of dissatisfaction with current activities and performance),inside and outside the org.
- Potential solutions (answers looking for problems),
- Participants (employees in the organization) and
- Choice opportunities (occasions when an organization makes a decision) (Eisenhardt and Zbaracki, 1992).
Organized anarchies / garbage can model properties
garbage can model of organizational (Cohen, March and Olsen, 1972)
- Problematic preferences. Difficult to impute a set of preferences to the decision situation that satisfies the standard consistency requirements for a theory of choice. The org operates on the basis of a variety of inconsistent and ill-defined preferences. Can be described as a loose collection of ideas than a coherent structure. It discovers preferences through actions more than it acts on the basis of preferences.
- Unclear technology. Although the organization manages to survive and even produce, its own processes are not understood by members. It operates on the basis of simple trial and error procedures, the residue of learning from the accidents of past experience, and pragmatic inventions of necessity.
- Fluid participation. Participants vary in the amount of time and effort they devote to different domains; involvement varies from one time to another; the boundaries of the organization are uncertain and changing; the audiences and decision-makers for any particular king of choice change capriciously.
A theory of organized anarchy will describe a portion of almost any organization’s activities, but will not describe all. The model describes a random confluence of four streams/variables (garbage processing assumptions) (Eisenhardt and Zbaracki, 1992). (Cohen, March and Olsen, 1972) Problems (points of dissatisfaction with current activities and performance), inside and outside the org. A stream of problems:
- An entry time: the problem becomes visible
- An energy requirement: the energy required to resolve a choice to which the problem is attached
- An access structure: a list of choices to which the problem has access. Potential solutions (answers looking for problems),
A rate of flow of solutions:
- The rate at which solutions are flowing into the system.
- Because of variations in the stream of solutions/ the efficiency of search procedures within the org, different energies are required to solve the same problem at different times. Participants (employees in the organization)
A stream of energy from participants
There is some number, v, of participants. Each is characterized by a time series of energy available for organizational decision-making. Thus, in each time period, each participant can provide some specified amount of potential energy to the org. Choice opportunities (occasions when an organization makes a decision)
A stream of choices
Each choice is characterized by:
- An entry time, the time that choice is activated for decision
- A decision structure, a list of participants eligible to participate in making that choice.
It pays more attention to the importance of chance, and it gets decided depending on timing and luck strongly. It lacks the clear beginning and ending of rational models (Daft, 2007).