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Can a person communicate? We are inclined to believe that.

If we take the analyses of N. Luhmann seriously, we must become more precise: a person can speak, but not communicate. For communication to take place the person speaking must choose what he says and have someone who understands him. Communication, therefore, is a social event for which at least two parties are required for it to take place. The enormous meaning of this thought starts to reveal itself when we realise that with this statement he is asserting, at the same time, that communication has an individual existence. This is because nobody can control how they will be understood. They can only wait and see if their message is received, whether the information connected with it is used and whether it will be formed into an – always individual – understanding.

It is only this understanding of communication, which enables us to recognise social systems, such as an organisation, as communication processes. They ‘consist’ of communication and are, therefore, dependent upon people to shape a communicative, independent existence. If we see it like this, we acquire unimagined possibilities to understand organisations differently.