Dados n. 20 Rio de Janeiro 1979

Avaliando Decisões: Em Busca de Racionalidade

Oliveira, João Batista Araújo e


The search for rationality in the organizational decision-making process frequently assumes a mythic character. Prevailing theories and concepts, most of which derive fr8m a current economic vision of the rational entrepreneur, place upon the idea of the organization which strives to be rational too many demands to be compatible with reality. The middle road between this line of thought and a more empirical-naturalist perspective is suggested by Thompson who repeatedly applies the expression "under the norms of rationality" to all of the principles which he develops in his classic work, "Organizations in Action". More recent studies, especially those of this decade, argue for the necessity of a more comprehensive and fertile alternative theoretical approach to understand the life of these organizations, or at least, the life of specific organizations. The educational sector, in particular, was the object of various studies. From this research, some new theories about the limits of rationality in the decision-making process were proposed by Cohen and March (1974), March and Olsen (1976) and Meyer and Rowan (1977). It is possible to understand rationality within the very decision-making processes of these organizations themselves without main taining unrealistic assumptions. A study of Brazil's educational television sector is used as an example of the scope of these theories. This area was chosen because educational television could rationally be selected as the most inexpensive and effective alternative, given the criteria of cost effectiveness. The examples studied, based on the concrete experiences of a half-dozen analyses of the cost-effectiveness of various television systems in Brazil, support more recent theories with respect to the limits of rationality and alternative forms of administration in the educational sector. The article concludes with reflections and suggestions for the marginal use of these cost effect studies within the recognized limits for using rationality as an economic maximizer.

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Avaliando Decisões: Em Busca de Racionalidade