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Power as Selection Enhancement

Systems don’t have to question chosen alternatives each day anew (“Where are we working today and what do we wish to produce?”). That would be too laborious. How does the required stabilisation come about?

How are alternatives excluded? How does the decision find acceptance? To achieve temporal stability an asymmetry must be at work: The past must rule over the future! This temporal asymmetry requires a social equivalent! The asymmetry phenomenon, which ensures that people can orientate themselves by something and can hold onto something is called power in everyday language. Power occurs there, where people adopt the (preliminary) decisions of others for themselves. A dental practice has power, because we, as patients, trust the approbation of our dentist and don’t test for ourselves if he can drill. A boss has power when his employees follow his orders (and not the other way around). All systems require such asymmetries (even the elementary parts), including organisations. This is why hierarchy has spread so widely as a particularly plausible form of asymmetry in organisations. (Those who wish to abolish it, will have to be able to articulate which other forms of stable asymmetry they would prefer in its place).

Organisations are therefore dependent on forms of socially acceptable asymmetry.