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Decision Premise: Communication Channels

In all organisations it is regulated as to who speaks officially with whom about what, who may speak or may not speak. Mostly, it would be astonishing if the porter simply took a seat during a board meeting. Luhmann’s concept of communication channels are therefore those things, which are called hierarchies, meetings, departments, committees, reporting lines, etc..

Why were these invented? If everybody talked to everyone about everything, (such as is practiced in many start-ups), it would significantly restrict the performance capability of the organisation. Through the setting of boundaries opportunities are created. However, no organisation can subject all communication to formal regulations.

In every organisation, therefore, there are also ‘unwritten’ channels of communication: where one can better wait for someone, what can be better approached via an assistant, what is better discussed by having a beer together etc.