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Journal Article

Routines, Bounded Rationality and Reflexivity: Where Simon Meets Critical Realists


Daoud,  Adel
Projekte von Gastwissenschaftlern und Postdoc-Stipendiaten, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;
Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden;

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Koumakhov, R., & Daoud, A. (2015). Routines, Bounded Rationality and Reflexivity: Where Simon Meets Critical Realists. Academy of Management Proceedings, (1): 13425.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-7508-B
This paper re-constructs Herbert Simon’s account of organizational routines/rules and cognition as a part of his decision-making theory. In this account, rules are not rigid repetitive patterns of action, but imply various degrees of flexibility and interpretation. We show the central place that Simon assigns to the concept of a shared cognitive model governing representations of reality in organizations, and stress the importance of this concept in understanding the issue of rule-based behavior. We argue that there are common methodological and theoretical grounds between Simon and critical realists, especially Margaret Archer. We examine the way in which critical realism avoids collectivism and individualism; its understanding of social entities as open systems; the role Archer assigns to reflexivity in mediation of structures by agency; the concept of cultural systems. We also reveal how these ideas are very closely related to Simon’s assumption of bounded rationality and decision theory.