Herbert Simon's Rational Choice Theory

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It should be noted, however, that rational choice theory, long ascendant among economists as the preferred assumption of how an individual will, or should choose among set of alternatives, became increasingly challenged. Despite its hegemony in economics and substantial influence in political science and sociology, Herbert Simon, a decision theorist, used behavioral studies to examine, among other things, the adequacy of the theory. Simon’s “bounded rationality” did not quarrel with rationality as a guiding principle in human affairs but with what constitutes rationality. The concept of “satisficing” has also been developed by those who reject the normative expectations and assumptions of the rational choice model in circumstances when not all alternatives and their consequences can be known without further investigation. For such revisionists, the context of a problematic situation usually determines the extent to which a decision maker tries to make the “best choice,” which is a relative term when there is limited time and/or information, when the cognitive abilities of those involved are limited, or when the problematic situation only deserves limited attention because of other pressing concerns. Thus, satisficing is consistent with “bounded rationality.” It is thought when decision makers are faced with making a choice they may seek an alternative that is “good enough,” which is perfectly rational given the contexts in which their choices are made. They may also indulge

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