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Brian John LOASBY

economist , educator , researcher

Brian John Loasby, British economist, educator, researcher. Fellow British Academy; member Royal Economics Society (council 1981-1986), Scottish Economic Society (council 1981-1986, president 1987-1990), American Economic Association, Strategic Planning Society (secretary Scottish chapter 1987-1990).


LOASBY, Brian John was born in 1930 in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.


Bachelor, University Cambridge, England, 1952. Master of Letters, University Cambridge, England, 1958. Master of Arts, University Cambridge, 1998.

Doctor (honorary), University Stirling, 1998.


Assistant Political Economics, Bournville Research Fellow, University Aberdeen,

8, 1958-1961. Tutor, Management Studies, University Bristol, 1961-1967. Arthur D. Little Management Fellow, Arthur D. Little Incorporated, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America, 1965-1966.

Lector, Senior Lector, Economics, Professor Management Economics, University Stirling,

8,1968-1971,1971-1984. Visiting Fellow, Oxford Centre Management Studies, 1974. Visiting Professor of Economics, University Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, since 1984.

Advisory Board, Managerial and Decision Economics, since 1980. Advisory Board,/. Economics Studies, since 1984.


  • Council, Scottish Economics, Society, since 1977. Council, Royal Economic Society, United Kingdom,




After an excursion into economic history, I investigated the location decisions of firms moving out of Birmingham, and some years later made a more detailed study of a major transfer from London (The Swindon Project). This work convinced me that managerial decisions should be analysed as processes: the identification (possibly incorrect) and the (restricted) search for solutions condition choice, and unexpected outcomes often generate new problems in a continuing cycle. Conventional theories of the firm addressed other questions.

On moving to Stirling I began to work with scientists who had experience of managing innovation, which they envisaged as a cyclic process, and heard of

T. S. Kuhn from a research student who identified the current paradigms of influential groups (within or outside the innovating organisation) as major

barriers to some innovations. A comparable barrier to the acceptance of non-optimising theories of the firm was obvious. Since then my primary twin interests have been in applying theories of the growth of knowledge to the history of economic thought (especially theories of the firm) and to decisionmaking in organisations.

My most recent work (still mostly unpublished) tries to use the concept of research programmes (or construction systems, from the American psychologist George Kelly) as a means of analysing development and the problems of coherence and breakdown within schools of thought, organisations, and economies.


Married Judith Ann Robinson, September 7, 1957. Children: Caroline Ann, Sarah Janet.

Caroline Ann Loasby