The validity of computational models in organization science: From model realism to purpose of the model

  • Richard M. Burton
  • Børge Obel


Computational models are widely applied to address fundamental and practical issues in organization science. Yet, computational modeling in organization science continues to raise questions of validity. In this paper, we argue that computational validity is a balance of three elements: the question or purpose, the experimental design, and the computational model. Simple models which address the question are preferred. Non-simple, imbalanced computational models are not only inefficient but can lead to poor answers. The validity approach is compared with well-known validity criteria in social science. Finally we apply the approach to a number of computational modeling studies in organization science, beginning with Cyert's. They were pioneering and are examples of well designed computational models.


Artificial Intelligence Social Science Simple Model Computational Model Model Realism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Burton
    • 1
  • Børge Obel
    • 2
  1. 1.Fuqua School of BusinessDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementOdense UniversityOdense M.Denmark

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