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Rationality and Innovation

The rational approach opposes innovation in a not insignificant way. Innovation, according to N. Luhmann, always alters the expectations of a system as to what is to happen. For example, Wikipedia changed expectations about how the gathering of information functioned globally, the internet how this is accessed! A new production technology changes the expectations about the competence of employees, the type and the frequency of errors etc. As expectations are very stable, because they coordinate social systems and tune decisions to each other, it is impossible to deal with innovation rationally, it must be planned and controlled, with unambiguous goals, results and profitability analyses.

For innovative change, social and chronological factors must act together (“We want that now!”). Such ‘wants’ cannot be brought about through a central decision, but only through creation of conditions and patterns which the organisation must adapt to. Innovation, described metaphorically, is the result of gardening, not constructio