Monday, December 19, 2005

Don't Forget Herb Simon!

PITTSBURGH. As a CMU grad I was pleased to read this paragraph on the Tom Peters (in a post appropriately titled "Stuff") blog about the late nobel-prize winning Professor who helped put CMU on the map, both attracting me to the school and giving my degree value...

"HERB SIMON GOT THERE FIRST. In a recent Fortune article Geoffrey Colvin says that if there had been a nobel prize in management, Peter Drucker would have "won it every year." How silly. A "management guru" did in fact pocket the economics Nobel in 1978...Herb Simon of Carnegie Mellon (defining book: Administrative Behavior); I had the privilege of interviewing him for In Search of Excellence. Other worthies besides Simon (and Drucker) would include rigorous academics such as Doug MacGregor (a shoo-in), Warren Bennis (also a shoo-in), Alfred Chandler (shoo-in), James March, Karl Weick, Henry Mintzberg (shoo-in—may get the economics prize someday), Graham Allison, Richard Neustadt, and Michael Porter (also an economics candidate). But, mostly, thank God there is no "Management Nobel." Make no mistake: Management is an art ... not a science. (Frankly, it's not all that clear to many, even those in the field, that economics is a "science.")"


One reason Herb Simon is not so readily remembered by those in management and economics is the diversity of fields Dr. Simon pursued in his research. Typing Drucker, Peter into an Amazon author search yield 388 results, all on management. Dr. Simon's biography includes work in psychology, economics, and philosophy in addition to management.

Update: From the comments section of the Tom Peters blog, Posted by Tom Peters: "Justin, "yes!" to Simon's interdisciplinary genius. If ever someone merited the term "polymath"...

Links:
Herb Simon's CMU biography
Amazon's Peter Drucker Search
Tom Peter's Post "Stuff"

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