Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Department of Industrial Economics & Strategy, Copenhagen Business School Working Paper Series, Department of Industrial Economics & Strategy, Copenhagen Business School

No 02-7:
The Rhetorical Dimensions of Bounded Rationality: Herbert A. Simon and Organizational Economics

Nicolai J. Foss

Abstract: I discuss the rhetorical dimensions of bounded rationality in two different, yet related, contexts, namely in the practice of organizational economists and in Herbert Simon’s key attempts to persuade economists to take bounded rationality seriously, his Ely lecture and his Nobel Prize lecture. I discuss various reasons why Simon failed to convince his contemporaries, among other things, the absence of clear definitions of bounded rationality and heuristics for incorporating it into economic models. Simon’s failures in these respects help explaining the very modest, and mainly “rhetorical,” use of bounded rationality in the works of organizational economists.

Keywords: Herbert Simon, bounded rationality, organizational economics, rhetoric.; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: B41; D23; M1; (follow links to similar papers)

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