James G. March was a Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, where he’d been on the faculty since 1970. He held 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 leaves behind four children 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, the Herbert Simon Award from Laslo Raik College (Budapest) in 2005 and the Society for Progress Medal from INSEAD in 2016. 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 was 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 had 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 was 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 also wrote nine books of poetry and two films.