Honoring the Scientific Endeavor of James March

Call for papers for: Journal of Management History

Special Issue Call for Papers from Journal of Management History

Honoring the Scientific Endeavor of James March

This Special Issue will open for submissions in October 2020.

Guest Editors

Matteo Cristofaro, University of Rome Tor Vergata
Mario Hayek, Texas A&M University-Commerce
Alex W. Williams, Texas A&M University-Commerce
Christopher Hartt, Dalhousie University
Joyce T. Heames, Berry College

Submission deadline:

January 30th, 2021


At 90 years old, James (‘Jim’) Gardner March, Professor of Management, Political Science, Sociology, and Education, passed away on September 27, 2018.
His massive (more than 700 published scientific contributions) interdisciplinary and insightful research has impacted the management of organizations, mainly due to his realist approach to the investigation of individual-organizational behavior and decision making processes. His most cited and influential works include: Organizations (with Herbert Simon, 1958), A Behavioral Theory of the Firm (with Richard M. Cyert, 1963), Handbook of organizations (1965), The technology of foolishness (1971), A garbage can model of organizational choice (with Michael D. Cohen and Johan P. Olsen, 1972), and Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning (1991). These works have laid the foundation for a greater understanding of a broad spectrum of phenomena such as the negative and positive effects of bounded rationality, the boundaries and opportunities of standard operating procedures, the power of coalitions within organizations, the benefits of ambiguity between exploring-exploiting opportunities, and many other mechanisms at the basis of the management of organizations.
The influencing scientific legacy of James March is evidenced by the 250,000 citations of his works (Google Scholar, as of November 2019), by the outstanding awards received such as the Progress Medal from the Society for Progress in 2016 and, especially, his contributions through the conceptualization and development of new concepts, theories, and fields of research that flourished, such as routines (Dosi e Merengo, 2007) and dynamic capability concepts (Eisenhardt and Martin, 2000), the upper echelons theory (Hambrick and Mason, 1984), and the behavioral strategy field (Powell et al., 2011).
Despite the significant impact of March’s contributions in current studies about the management of organizations, only some scholars have been committed to historically reviewing his works in the light of occurring advancements (e.g., Wilden et al., 2019) and most of them have focused on the examination of the Behavioral Theory of the Firm (Argote and Greve, 2007; Augier, 2008; Gavetti et al., 2012). In this regard, the proposed Special Issue aims at more comprehensively honoring and commemorating the scientific endeavor of James March, calling for contributions that consider the historical evolution (i.e., ontology) of his scientific insights, also including important lessons lost by the Scholar (e.g., leading with ambiguity). The called commitment would help informing important future research in the light of a meaningful past, according to a ‘taking stock and moving forward’ rationale. Moreover, this would allow executives in learning how organizations and their processes evolved since March’s original conceptualizations and understanding, which are enduring assumptions and which ones have been reconsidered by the occurring historical advancements about the management of organizations. 

Aims and Scope

In this Special Issue of the Journal of Management History we encourage contributions honoring the works of James March. Historical analysis to be followed, but are not limited to:

•    From the Behavioral Theory of the Firm to Behavioral Strategy;
•    From organizational learning to the learning organization;
•    From dominant coalition to Upper Echelons Theory and superstars’ CEOs;
•    From the technology of foolishness to rational technologies;
•    Adaptive rationality and ecological rationality;
•    Focus of attention, the Attention-Based View of the firm, and mindfulness;
•    Personal leadership and situated leadership;
•    Standard operating procedures, routines, and dynamic capabilities;
•    From aspiration and organizational adaptation to co-evolutionary processes.

These and other topics are welcome to be discussed within this Special Issue. What is mandatory for submitted articles is to be historically rooted in James March’s works.
In addition, are appreciated contributions that deal with:

•    The lessons lost from March;
•    Interviews with March and personal memoir on his research/educational approach derived from a direct experience with him;
•    Cross-fertilizing analysis of March’s works with other fields (psychology, sociology, etc.);
•    Commemorating March through the lens of his revisionists.

Submission Process

Submitted papers must conform to the submission guidelines of the Journal of Management History. Manuscripts are due by January 30th, 2021 and must be submitted using the JMH submission system.

Authors should indicate that they would like their document to be considered for the Special Issue “Honoring the Scientific Endeavor of James March”. Authors of papers invited to be revised and resubmitted will be expected to work within a tight timeframe for revisions.

Further information

Questions pertaining to this Special Issue may be directed to:
• Matteo Cristofaro ([email protected])

For questions about submitting to the Special Issue contact the JMH Publisher, Hayley Coulson ([email protected]).


Argote, L., and Greve, H. R. (2007), “A behavioral theory of the firm – 40 years and counting: Introduction and impact”, Organization Science, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 337-349.
Augier, M., and March, J. G. (2008), “A retrospective look at a behavioral theory of the firm”, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Vol. 66 No. 1, pp. 1-6.
Cohen, M. D., March, J. G., and Olsen, J. P. (1972), “A garbage can model of organizational choice”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 1-25.
Cyert, R. M. and March, J. (1963), A Behavioral Theory of the Firm, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Dosi, G. and, Marengo, L. (2007), “On the evolutionary and behavioral theories of organizations: A tentative roadmap”, Organization Science, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 491-502.
Eisenhardt, K. M., and Martin, J. A. (2000), “Dynamic capabilities: what are they?”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 21 No. 10‐11, pp. 1105-1121.
Gavetti, G., Greve, H. R., Levinthal, D. A., and Ocasio, W. (2012), “The behavioral theory of the firm: Assessment and prospects”, Academy of Management Annals, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 1-40.
Hambrick, D. C., and Mason, P. A. (1984), “Upper echelons: The organization as a reflection of its top managers”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 193-206.
March, J. G. (1965), Handbook of organizations, Chicago: Rand McNally.
March, J. G. (1971), “The technology of foolishness”, Civiløkonomen, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 4-12.
March, J. G. (1991), “Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning”, Organization Science, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 71-87.
March, J. G. and Simon, H. A. (1958), Organizations, New York, NY: Wiley.
Powell, T. C., Lovallo, D., and Fox, C. R. (2011), “Behavioral strategy”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 32 No. 13, pp. 1369-1386.
Wilden, R., Hohberger, J., Devinney, T. M., and Lumineau, F. (2019), “60 Years of March and Simon’s Organizations: An empirical examination of its impact and influence on subsequent research”, Journal of Management Studies, DOI: 10.1111/joms.12531.