The Strategic Garbage Can
15 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 29, 2021
Cohen, March and Olsen’s Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice is generally thought to describe organizations characterized by extremely distributed decision processes, to the point that their members can at most hope to exploit serendipitous opportunity windows that eventually appear on the scene. By analyzing a little-known report on American college presidents published by Cohen and March in 1974 we show that garbage cans were meant also as a tool to neutralize opponents by making them busy with irrelevant issues. We analyze the strategic usage of garbage cans and discuss this concept within the scholarly and the business literature.
Keywords: Garbage Can Model, Ambiguity, Strategy, Leadership
JEL Classification: B29, B59, M12, Z19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation