Simon, Herbert Alexander

views updated


SIMON, HERBERT ALEXANDER (1916–2001), U.S. political scientist; authority on public administration, Nobel laureate. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Simon received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago (1943). In 1949 he was appointed professor of computer science and psychology at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he founded the Department of Computer Science. He remained at the university for his entire career. In his principal treatise on public administration, Administrative Behavior (1947), Simon discussed the position of the individual in the administration process and the psychological mechanisms that influence and condition his behavior. He laid down principles for the scientific study of public administration in a technological society and rejected the preexisting principles of public administration as mere "proverbs" or summaries of crude homely wisdom. In 1978 Simon was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics, for his pioneering research into the decision-making process within economic organizations. He is also considered a pioneer in the development of computer artificial intelligence.

Simon's other works include Organizations (1958), of which he was co-author; The New Science of Management Decision (1960); The Shape of Automation for Men and Management (1965); Representation and Meaning (1972); The Sciences of the Artificial (1981); Scientific Discovery (1987); Models of Thought (1989); and Models of My Life (1992).

add. bibliography:

P. Earl (ed.), The Legacy of Herbert Simon in Economic Analysis (2001); J. March (ed.), Models of a Man: Essays in Memory of Herbert A. Simon (2004); H. Crowther-Heyck, Herbert A. Simon: The Bounds of Reason in Modern America (2005).

[Nimrod Raphaeli /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]