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Formal Rules

How do organisations stabilise themselves? Like all systems they must ensure repeatability. Formal rules are an important method for this. As one can officially rely on formal rules, predictable (=stable) decisions are established. How extensive this (documented) regulation of an organisation is, how it is documented, through which media it works, how these rules are transmitted to the employees, how contravention of the rules is sanctioned, which authorities ensure compliance, which rules can be discussed, what they refer to, how detailed they are, what gaps they have, how and by whom they can be changed – all these are in part a fingerprint of an organisation.

All guiding processes work with rules and can, therefore, be examined from this viewpoint. The classical perception of a functional organisation (by M. Weber) concentrates on this aspect. The corporate goal is that all rules and the resulting processes can be optimised. The ideal of this is a smooth collaboration and the prevention of ‘opposition’ and irregular practices in the organisation. The intelligent formulation of the rules counts as one of the main management tasks.

Meta-theoretically, it is especially important to understand that an assumption is made that rules are free from ‘side effects’. However, every rule also creates disadvantages along with its solution; it simultaneously creates informal possibilities to undermine them or to adapt them, and it can never predict what effect it will have on other rules.