The Search for a Theory of Novelty
February 22, 2:00 – 3:30 PM
School of Business, Room 117
James Steele Parker Professor of International Management, Emeritus
James G. March is Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, where he has been on the faculty since 1970. He holds appointments in the Schools of Business and Education and in the Departments of Political Science and Sociology. Before that, he was on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine, and the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He has received honorary doctorates and honorary professorships from several European and North American universities and has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the National Academy of Education, as well as several overseas academies.
He is best known professionally for his writings on decision making and organizations, including: Organizations: A Behavioral Theory of the Firm, Leadership and Ambiguity, Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations, Decisions and Organizations, Rediscovering Institutions, The Pursuit of Organizational Intelligence, Democratic Governance, A Primer on Decision Making, The Dynamics of Rules,and On Leadership.
Theories of adaptation combine (a) ideas about the refinement of practice through differential survival and reproduction of ideas, routines, or properties associated with success with (b) ideas about the generation and early survival of new ideas, routines, or properties, that is, ideas about the sources of novelty. The theories are better developed with respect to the former, but there are some rudiments of the latter, which can perhaps be called a theory of novelty. The remarks on February 22 will examine some elements of such a theory and some problems in understanding the sources of novelty in a way that is precise and useful. There will be no significant surprises.