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Decision Premise: Organisational Culture

Do things occur in organisations, which were never decided, but, nevertheless, are effective? N. Luhmann (in conjunction with E. Schein) gave this phenomenon the name organisational culture. For him, this was the receptacle for everything in organisations which is intangible, not directly controllable, not directly addressable. It is effective, because there are ‘unwritten’ and ‘unspoken’ expectations in organisations which, though not officially binding, influence employees’ behaviour, thinking, feeling and desires.

Culture consists of expectations which were not decided. S. Kuehl points out that if something was not decided, it has thereby not yet been made clear whether it is suitable for a decision, or, whether it was not decided, but would definitely be suitable for a decision. Both exist in organisations, and both must be kept in focus during organisational consultancy, because enormous impacts on variability and on the possibility of effectively achieving targets can result. Some of the consequences of ‘Culture change’ programmes, and of the inaccurate and sprawling meaning of this concept, are naivety, diversity and self-contradictions.

Here we concur with Luhmann’s suggestion, which is to view the function of culture as a collection of undecided and ‘existing’ expectations, because this is the best way to explain the control potential of this phenomenon in organisations (as in society).