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Formal and Informal Rule

The guiding process, dealing with the present, takes place on two platforms: on the formal, and on the informal platform of the organisation. In an organisation, that which is written down and defined is a formal rule (in sport the rules of the game). Informal rules are those that have ‘permanent’ relevance, influence and effectiveness in the working day and whose observance is continuously expected (like in sport, where you express your regret to your opposition for a dead net).

Everyone knows that formal rules occasionally contradict each other.

This is not necessarily a disadvantage, if it enables employees to make a choice about which rules they wish to adhere to at the moment. Similarly, every member of an organisation is aware of the fact that formal rules and informal practice contradict each other (“Team leaders may give permission for purchases up to €1,000!” and “If someone contravenes this directive, nobody is interested!”).

The division into formal and informal structures enables organisations to supply the present with sufficiently clear expectations and, at the same time, to ensure the situation-specific flexibility. The paradox of the guiding distinction, rule compliant and situation compliant, is thus regulated to be smart and appropriate for everyday use.