James G March

Jack Steele Parker Professor of International Management, Emeritus

Phone: (650) 353-0587

Email: MARCH@stanford.edu

Academic Areas: Organizational Behavior

James March studies organizations. His recent research has focused on understanding risk taking, decision making, learning, and leadership in organizations such as business firms, public bureaucracies, and educational institutions.


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 is the father of four children and (depending on how you count them) somewhere between five and 16 grandchildren.

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 received the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale University in 1968, the Academy of Management Award for Scholarly Contributions to Management in 1984, the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching from Stanford University in 1995, the John Gaus Award from the American Political Science Association in 1997, the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Academy of Management in 1999, the Viipuri Award from the Viipuri Society in 2004, the Aaron Wildavsky Award from the Public Policy Society in 2004, and the Herbert Simon Award from Laslo Raik College (Budapest) in 2005. In 1995 he was made a Knight First Class in the Royal Norwegian (Olav V) Order of Merit, and in 1999 he was made a Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland.

He has been a member of the National Science Board (1969-1974) and the National Council on Educational Research (1975-1978), as well as a member or chair of a number of committees for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences and the Social Science Research Council. From 1984 to 1994 he was a member, and from 1991 to 1993 Chair, of the Board of Trustees of the Russell Sage Foundation. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors of Sun Hydraulics Corporation (1989-1992 and 1996-2000), the Scandinavian Consortium for Organizational Research (1988-1999), and Wally Industries (1996-2001). From 1994 to 2001 he was a member of the Board of the Citigroup Behavioral Sciences Research Council (Chair 1994 to 2000).

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, Explorations in Organizations, On Leadership, and The Ambiguities of Experience.

He has also written nine books of poetry and two films.

Academic Degrees

PhD, Yale University, 1953, MA, 1950; BA, University of Wisconsin, 1949; Dr.March (Hon.), Copenhagen School of Economics; Swedish School of Economics (Helsinki); University of Bergen; Helsinki School of Economics; LLD (Hon.), University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee ; dr. econ. (Hon.), Uppsala University; Gรถteborg University; hon. doc., Dublin City University, University of Poitiers, York University, Ramon Llull University (Barcelona),Lappeenranta (Finland) University of Technology, University of Alberta.

Professional Experience

At Stanford since 1970. Emeritus since 1995.

Professor of Political Science and Sociology, 1970-95; Jack Steele Parker Professor of International Management, 1991-95; Fred H. Merrill Professor of Management, Stanford University, 1979-91; David Jacks Professor of Higher Education, Stanford University, 1970-78; Professor of Psychology and Sociology and Dean, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine, 1964-70; Assistant Professor to Professor of Psychology and Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, 1953-64.

Selected Publications

  • Organizations: Wiley, 1958
  • Behavioral Theory of the Firm: Prentice-Hall, 1963
  • A Primer on Decision Making: Free Press, 1994
  • Rediscovering Institutions: Free Press, 1989
  • The Pursuit of Organizational Intelligence: Blackwell, 1999
  • Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations: Bergen, Norway; Universitetsforlaget, 1976
  • Decisions and Organizations: Blackwell, 1988
  • The Dynamics of Rules: Stanford University Press, 2000
  • Democratic Governance: Free Press, 1995

Selected Cases

  • SM122: Hyundai Motor Company

Awards and Honors

  • Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal,, 1968, Yale University
  • Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching,, 1995, Stanford University
  • Knight First Class, 1995, Royal Norwegian (Olav V) Order of Merit
  • John Gaus Award,, 1997, American Political Science Association
  • Distinguished Scholar Award,, 1999, Academy of Management
  • Commander of the Order of the Lion, 1999, Finland
  • Viipuri Prize,, 2004, Viipuri School of Economics
  • Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award, 2004, American Political Science Association
  • HHerbert A. Simon Award,, 2005, Budapest University of Economics



  • Member: National Academy of Sciences
  • Member: American Academy of Arts & Sciences
  • Member: American Philosophical Society
  • Member: National Academy of Education
  • Member: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • Member: Norweigan Academy of Sciences and Letters
  • Member: Finnish Society of Arts and Sciences
  • Member: Italian Academy of Business Economics

In The Media

  • Stanford Professors Elected to Prestigious Society, San Francisco Chronicle