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Future Attractors

Organisations can form when one particular future can be selected from different ones: “We heal sick people,” and not “We work on wood” or “We defend the country”. That, which we often and wrongly call the ‘purpose’ of the organisation, is created if, and because, it is possible to choose an (attractive) goal. In the interpretation presented here the organisation is not the means to an end, rather, the assumed purpose is the means for the creation of the organisation. A hospital does not want to heal, rather, the necessity to heal enables hospitals! (Just like a person does not live for the purpose of sleeping, but sleeping enables life, i.e. is a part of life!). The difference is important because organisations, then, are not seen as a means to an end (like in many organisational theories), but as a self-forming social system.

Therefore, an attractive future is the catalyst and the condition for the communication-process called ‘organisation’, but it is not the purpose for its existence! Without such an attractor, the organisation does not know what is needed to coordinate, what members it needs, and what performance it must produce.

At the same time, one must keep in mind that there are many functions in organisations. The idea of one (!) function, which unites (and moulds) all, has nothing to do with the reality of organisations. Quite the opposite, it is only because organisations allow and offer space for so many functions that they are even formed.