Putting the organization back into computational organization theory: a complex Perrowian model of organizational action

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date



At best, computational models that study organizations incorporate only one perspective of how organizations are known to act within their environments. Such single-perspective models are limited in their generalizability and applicability to the real world and allow for researcher bias. This work develops a multi-agent simulation using eight different well-known organizational perspectives: Strategic choice, contingency theory, behavioral decision theory, enactment, resource dependence, institutional theory, population ecology, and transaction cost economics. A literature review of each field is applied to the construction of algorithms which, when combined with techniques derived from a literature review of computational modeling of organizations, was applied to the construction of a series of algorithms describing a multi-perspective computational model. Computer code was written based on the algorithms and run across different types of environments. Results were statistically analyzed to both validate the model and to generate contingency-oriented hypotheses. Conclusions were made with regard to the expected behavior of organizations and the model’s applicability toward further research.


This article was originally published in Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory


© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008