Volume 16, Number 3, Fall 2013

CONTENTS
REGULAR ARTICLES

Perceived Obstacles as the Indicators of Adaptive Paths to
Performance Management: Tracing Exploration and
Exploitation in Surveys of Public Managers ............................................. 287
E. Gibson

Measuring Organization: Performance in Environmental
Agencies ......................................................................................................... 326
L. Fowler

SYMPOSIUM

Symposium on Models of Rationality and Decision Making in
Organizations: Part I ..................................................................................... 359
D. Secchi

Symposium on Models of Rationality and Decision Making in
Organizations: Introduction ......................................................................... 360
D. Secchi

Unbounding Bounded Rationality: Heuristics as the Logic of
Economic Discovery .................................................................................... 368
A. Grandori and M. Cholakova

Making It up as We Go: A Conceptual Model of Improvisation
in Organizations ........................................................................................... 393
T. G. Zarankin and S. Wang

ABSTRACT. State environmental agencies have been organized
independently with a variety of structural schemes, and are responsible for
the bulk of administration of federal environmental policy, such as the Clean
Air Act. Using statistical models of air quality outcomes, this research
compares three competing typologies for capturing agency differences:
Ringquist (1993b), Lester (1990), and Wilson (1989). The findings indicate
the most commonly used measure of organization, Ringquist (1993b), may
be the weakest in comparison. Additionally, both Lester (1990) and Wilson
(1989) show interesting advantages in comparison to each other. The
findings provide some interesting insights into the difficult task of measuring
organization.

ABSTRACT. This paper focuses on individuals' improvisation in organizations.
The extant literature in this area examines improvisation as either a
predictor or an outcome variable. However, there is still considerable
confusion about the essence of improvisation and its individual-level
determinants. To address these deficiencies, we discuss the differences
between improvisation, creativity, and intuition, integrating insights and
theories from those fields. Then, we propose a comprehensive model
describing a process that includes contextual and individual level variables,
which leads to improvisation. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical
implications of our model and suggest avenues for future research.

ABSTRACT. Research on performance management, as it applies to public
sector organizations, has been addressed most often from a static
perspective. A process-oriented view on performance is undertaken through
use of perceived obstacles, garnered through two large surveys of U.S.
government managers, to infer the adaptive paths federal agencies have
followed. By applying a learning-based model founded on March's
framework of exploration and exploitation, the ideal-typical ways that public
organizations adapt to a performance initiative can be distinguished,
opening a window into the processes such learning entails. Structural
equation modeling provides the statistical capacity to interpret exploration
and exploitation as cohesive paths. Exploratory adaptation appears to have
been largely counterproductive, as the obstacles associated with this
dynamic indicated a roadblock rather than a path forward. But exploitation
had the opposite effect, as its associated obstacles corresponded with
greater use of performance measures for management activities and
enhanced results orientation.

ABSTRACT. This paper builds on a long-lasting research program on the
micro-foundations of innovative decision making, founded on a development
of a neglected epistemic aspect of Simon's work, and on contributions in
epistemology, in which heuristics are not procedures that are uncertaintyavoiding,
economizing on cognitive and search effort, and problem-space
reducing, but procedures that are uncertainty-modeling, investing in
research effort, and problem-expanding. The paper offers a summary of the
main effective heuristics of that kind so far identified, as applied to real
processes of innovative decision making under epistemic uncertainty, such
as judging and investing in novel entrepreneurial projects. It argues and
shows that, in contrast to the common view, a wide range of those
procedures, usually thought to belong to different and rival models, can be
fruitfully combined.

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