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Function of Communication Patterns

Organisations must consider limitations in their inner life. Limitations must be set about who occupies himself with what (not everyone does everything!), which subjects are discussed and with whom (not everyone with everybody!), and when, and at what point something is focused upon again in communication (not now!).

These references must be limited so that the organisation can sustain itself. Here we call such structural limitations communication patterns. They have the function of regulation. At the same time they limit the possibilities.

Therefore, in organisations, communication patterns increase or reduce the likelihood that certain communication offerings are effective or ineffective (The doorman comes to a board meeting: “I have an idea…”). The experience of managers who move within organisations (and fail) is often one which can be expressed in these words: “At the end I did not know when and with whom I had to speak about my concerns, so that I would be well received!”. In this also lies a clue that communication patterns in organisations are not only explicit, but also a part of the implicit culture.

In every present the possibilities must be limited anew, so that the organisation can function. Communication patterns, therefore, are not stable ‘per se’, but stabilise through their use. At the same time, they are, in every moment, exposed to ‘mutations’, (surprises, coincidences, innovations etc.), which they must either ignore or incorporate. Thus, communication patterns are, for consultants, the key phenomenon for reconstructing the social order and for evaluating their suitability in goal setting.