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The Garbage Can Model by Victoria Pevkina
Transcript of The Garbage Can Model by Victoria Pevkina
streams (4 types)
In their article, Cohen et al., explain the elements of an organization. Also known as "streams," these are the abiding elements that are present at all times within the organization, which help the process of decision-making.
As seen on page three of their article, Cohen, March, & Olsen describe the distinct variables of the decision-making process.These variables are aspects of an organization that can affect the streams and their potential to be chosen.
Cohen, March, & Olsen describe the Garbage Can model as revolving around a non-linear and non-rational process of decision-making. For example, rather than starting with a problem and creating a solution, the model proposes that an organization may start with a solution and then seek out an issue/problem.
garbage can theory
(A simplified explanation)
In 1972, Michael D. Cohen, James G. March, and Johan P. Olsen created a model illustrating how organizations make decisions.
The Garbage Can model illustrates the decision-making process of an organization.
They called it the Garbage Can Model.
It includes the simultaneous presence of many different variables, such as problems, solutions, and decision-makers.
In other words, there are existing solutions that are seeking out problems to which they might be the answer.
When created, this model focused on "organized anarchies," like universities, hospitals, and libraries.
This process is also observable in private organizations, such as privately owned businesses, establishments, and foundations.
David Maister expands by observing that these "organized anarchies" have three things in common:
There are ambiguous ideas and preferences that are only discovered through action (they are not predetermined and universally known to the members of the organization).
Regular activities, such as teaching or consulting, can only be learned through experience or trial and error.
The time and effort devoted to a specific concern differs from member to member in an organization. So, the level of participation is not predetermined, but measured by the present issues, choices, perspective, and timing.
In their article, Cohen, March, and Olsen refer to organized anarchies as public, educational, and illegitimate organizations.
Cohen et al, focused their studies on universities and characterized these organizations as:
A COLLECTION OF CHOICES
ISSUE AND FEELINGS
DECISION SITUATIONS IN WHICH THEY MIGHT BE AIRED
ISSUES TO WHICH THEY MIGHT BE THE ANSWER
Problems or Issues
These are the concerns of people, inside
outside of the organization.
The timing of these problems and issues.
A solution to a problem does not necessarily have to be an idea. It can be somebody's product. For example, a technological innovation, or gum.
The people involved in the decision-making. Usually members in the organization or ones who are affiliated with it.
Also called "decision situations," are the instances when the organization produces behaviour that we can call a decision
Lets assume this garbage can represents the organization uOttawa (not literally)
find more students
admit more students
lack of funding
reach out to alumni
hire more professors
offer more services
All four streams are simultaneously existing in the organization, relying on luck or chance to be randomly selected in the process of decision-making.
STREAM OF PROBLEMS
RATE OF FLOW OF SOLUTIONS
STREAM OF ENERGY FROM PARTICIPANTS
DECISION MAKER ACTIVITY
Slack is the difference between the resources of an organization and the demands made on the organization.
The Garbage Can Model
has the capacity to
slack as it
in an organization.
MONEY + OTHER RESOURCES GIVEN
TO THE ORGANIZATION BY ITS
THE CONSISTENCY OF
ON THE ORGANIZATION
It relies on two major factors:
It has four variables:
NET ENERGY LOAD
The difference between the energy required and the effective energy available (within an organization)
Taking advantage of the benefits of delegation and specialization
The way decisions are made in an organization (more authoritative or more relaxed)
Energy available for use and allotment in an organization
Cohen, March, & Olsen mention five organizational structures that may help the process of decision-making.
Decisions can be made in three different ways:
Choices resolve problems after some period of working on them (not the most common method)
There is energy available to make the decisions before new problems appear. This decision will be made with minimal energy.
If problems have not been resolved after some period of time, decisions can be made if the problems leave the choice opportunity
The measure of the degree to which problems are active (based on the level of conflict and understanding of problems within the organization).
Degree of problem activity
Level of conflict/understanding of problems
Problems that are active in an organization but solutions have not been found yet.
The total period of time that a decision maker is attached to a choice. It is measured in four ways:
The total time a decision maker is attached to a choice.
The total number of times a decision maker goes from one choice to another.
The total amount of effective energy available, and the amount that is used.
amount of energy required to make the choices that were made
There are two ways of measuring decision difficulty within an organization:
The total number of choices
The total amount of time that a choice is
STREAM OF CHOICES
Choices are characterized by:
(when the choice appears/becomes available)
A decision structure
(participants able to participate in making that choice
Problems are characterized by:
(when the problem appeared)
(energy needed to resolve the problem)
(the choices to which the problem has access
Matching specific solutions with specific problems and solutions
The rate at which solutions are flowing into the system
The rate may vary based on the energy and time required to come up with solutions
Each participant is characterized by:
The amount of potential energy available for organizational decision-making
The difficulty of the decisions needed to be made in an organization.
SOLUTIONS ARE LINKED TO PROBLEMS
PARTICIPANTS ARE LINKED TO CHOICE OPPORTUNITIES
The final decision-making process looks something like this:
PROBLEMS, SOLUTIONS, AND ENERGY ARE PRODUCED
PARTICIPANTS DUMP THEM INTO THE "GARBAGE CAN" AS THEY ARE PRODUCED
ONCE FULL, THE GARBAGE IS TAKEN OUT AND A DECISION IS MADE
take the quiz!
On page five, Cohen et al., illustrate the access structure of an organization as the
in relation to the accessible problems and choices. There are three types:
has access to any
Problems and choices are arranged in a hierarchy. Important problems have access to many choices and important choices are only accessible by important problems
Each problem has access to only one choice
Each choice is only accessible to TWO problems that can be associated with it
Any decision maker can participate in any active choice opportunity
Similarly, organizations also have a decision structure. Cohen et The al., describe this as the
link between decision makers and choices.
There are three visible types:
Decision makers and choices are arranged in a hierarchy. Important decision makers may participate in many choices and important choices may only be made by important decision makers.
Each decision maker is associated with only one choice and each choice has only one decision maker
Cohen, M., March, J., & Olsen, J. (1972). A Garbage Can
Model of Organizational Choice. Administrative Science Quarterly, 17(1), 1-25.
Maister, D. (1983). Garbage Can Decision Making.
Retrieved October 27, 2015, from http://davidmaister.com/articles/garbage-can-decision-making/
(Cohen, March, & Olsen, 1972)
(Cohen et al., 1972, p. 12)
How organizations make decisions using the garbage can model
The different characteristics of organized anarchies
The four different streams that are permanently present in an organization
The final decision-making process
Existing variables during decision-making
Organizational structures of decision-making
How slack is measured
In this presentation you saw:
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