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Organisation Paradoxes

Complex situations can always be characterised by the fact that they contain paradoxes. This means, they always have more than one correct solution. As organisations usually work on complex situations continuously, this has consequences on three levels:

  • Objective level: Organisations must make decisions between equivalent objective alternatives. One can recognise every real decision by the fact that it brings with it disadvantages and that it has a cost.
  • Social level: Organisations must make decisions between equivalent interests. Conflict is therefore normal, necessary and unavoidable. (Research and development requires much time and many resources, ensures quality and new features, while production requires standardisation, practicability and the simplest instructions possible). Organisations, therefore, constantly create losers.
  • Time level: Organisations must constantly check their decisions about direction, improve them, smooth out their consequences, and reconsider them. That which is correct today, may be wrong tomorrow. Therefore repeated dialogue is required as to whether it needs stabilisation or change. Organisations can only choose what risks they should take, they cannot act in such a way that there is no more danger.

This is why organisations, with their different areas, are focused on a successful management of paradoxes, so that the contradictory basic demands can, at the same time, be brought into an appropriate and measured level of tension with each other. Or put another way – organisations are the answer for insoluble paradoxes. They are therefore rather limited in their suitability to form a classical, rational and non-contentious theory. And for this reason they are absolutely unsuitable for consensus, but rather, primarily suitable for cultivated conflicts.