The Strategic Garbage Can

15 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by Francesco Maria Barbini

Francesco Maria Barbini

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Guido Fioretti

University of Bologna

Date Written: January 29, 2021

Abstract

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

Barbini, Francesco Maria and Fioretti, Guido, The Strategic Garbage Can (January 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3775642 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3775642

Francesco Maria Barbini

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Guido Fioretti (Contact Author)

University of Bologna ( email )

Via Capo di Lucca 34
Bologna, 40126
Italy

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