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When something is retained, the decision goes in favour of not learning! This decision pole of the guiding process dealing with the past is a necessary condition for every form of dynamic stability. If everything changes at once, this is called dissolution. No system is allowed to change everything (=learning), because otherwise it would not be able to connect to its own past.

Like all systems, organisations usually leave most things as they are. This is not at all an explicit decision. Siemens does not decide on a daily basis to continue producing manufactured goods. However, whether a certain product or business segment should be retained is decided, either on a regular basis, or for a particular reason (such as unprofitability in an area). The more specific a decision-making focus is (“What price are we asking this month for our product?”), the more explicitly and frequently the guiding distinction retain or learn (=change) is put on the agenda.

As the status quo has proved itself, otherwise it would not exist(!), and it is integrated and tuned to other existing positions, it usually has arguments against change on its side (“If we introduce the new software, the IT hardware will no longer fit and the employees will have to be retrained!”). As decisions are inter-related and mutually stabilise each other, retaining is simpler than change. The asymmetry must be kept in mind.