Can tools help unify organization theory? Perspectives on the state of computational modeling

  • Michael J. Ashworth
  • Kathleen M. Carley


Scholars engaged in the study of work group and organizational behavior are increasingly calling for the use of integrated methods in conducting research, including the wider adoption of computational models for generating and testing new theory. Our review of the state of modern computational modeling incorporating social structures reveals steady increases in the incorporation of dynamic, adaptive, and realistic behaviors of agents in network settings, yet exposes gaps that must be addressed in the next generation of organizational simulation systems. We compare 28 models according to more than two hundred evaluation criteria, ranging from simple representations of agent demographic and performance characteristics, to more richly defined instantiations of behavioral attributes, interaction with non-agent entities, model flexibility, communication channels, simulation types, knowledge, transactive memory, task complexity, and resource networks. Our survey assesses trends across the wide set of criteria, discusses practical applications, and proposes an agenda for future research and development.


Computational organizational theory Agent-based simulation Dynamic network analysis Organizational behavior 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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