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Decision Premise: Personnel

In Luhmann’s organisational theory, personnel is one of the four decision premises. Thus Luhmann gave the person his theoretical place in communication patterns of organisations. By person we do not mean the incarnate body, but firstly the expectation that a person represents in the social context (“Grandad always brings me something”), or, secondly, the person as a receiver of messages (“Mum, I have hurt myself!”), with the hope of understanding.

In organisations, the person is linked with a role via his membership. If a new boss arrives, everyone knows that his decisions will be materially different, in favour of different alternatives, and within different timelines. Therefore, the decision-making patterns of an organisation can change from one moment to another (or the new boss adapts to the existing pattern in the organisation after a few months). As always, people and their frequently predictable behaviour (“That’s how he is, the boss!”) have, without doubt, the greatest level of influence on decision-making patterns in organisations.

The guiding process personnel takes account of all findings that the system-theoretical organisational theory has developed in the last twenty years. Personnel decisions – attitude, termination, transfer, personnel development – can be traced and justified theoretically regarding their great relevance for organisations. At the same time, the concept of career becomes particularly important theoretically, because, in it, the interests of the organisation member and the observation as to suitability for the role, come together.