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Guiding Process Handling the Present

The process of organising (=Organisation) also determines its form by having to, on the one hand, set clear, binding and general rules, and on the other hand, having due regard, situationally and specifically, to the current circumstances. The guiding process which seeks an answer is this: “Is a general rule applied or is an exception made to fit the current situation?”

If an organisation only complied with the rules, it would immediately collapse, as there are always situations imaginable in which it would be wrong, or even fatal, to adhere to the rules. Nor can it always decide according to the situation, as this would completely overburden an organisation or plunge it into chaos (everyone generates their own forms, recruitment processes or ordering procedures). Thus, breaking the rules is required for rules to be helpful! And rules must define exceptions to maintain their validity. For this reason, a co-existence develops between formal organisation (=defined by rules) and informal organisation (=locally experienced), which run alongside each other and within each other. The latter is characterised by the fact that breaking the rules, avoidance techniques, ‘relationships’ which make the forbidden possible, ‘intelligent interpretation of rules, ‘under the radar’ projects, indirect power etc. enable a flexible way of dealing with the present.

Ultimately there can be no rules (!) for the disregard of rules or the necessity for exceptions. The guiding process ‘Dealing with the Present’ therefore consists exactly of this: The organisation decides in an instance, with rules in the background and awareness of the moment.

One Comment

  1. Jürgen Große-Puppendahl

    Are “rule-compliant” decisions more trivial than “situational-compliant” decisions in organizations?

    Against the theory approach “Metatheory of Change” presented here, organizations consist of communication, the communication of decisions in the so-called 23 guiding processes. Those decisions take place in polar fields of tension.

    An example: Guiding Process “Handling the Present”

    The question that arises in this guiding process regarding decision is “Do we decide ‘rule-compliant’ or ‘situation-compliant'” ( = an exception is made for the disregard of rules). At first glance, the decision “rule-compliant ” seems trivial and easy for the employees in organizations, because the decision “rule-compliant ” is and must be decided 😉 more often in organizations as their opposite pole “situation-compliant”. But trivial is the subject matter not at all. Because in communication and thus also in the corporate communication of decisions, according to Luhmann we speak of double contingency, meaning a decision could always be- contrary to the rule expectations – made differently. Thus, contingency and emergence are essential features of the (guiding) processes of organizing.

    Through rule-compliant and situation-compliant decisions the complexity of contingency and emergence is “captured” in the organizational processes.
    But only if the upcoming decision is deliberately reflected on and decided … trivial is that often not, right?

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