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Undecided Decision-Making Premises

The long and tangled struggle about what organisational culture actually is, stimulates the theory to bring a little order into the matter by means of other, new concepts. With ‘undecided decision-making premises’ as a definition of organisational culture, we pick up a terminology here, which comes from Luhmann and was refined by Stefan Kuehl. What is meant by this definition? It is intended to refer to all phenomena that have crept into social systems (through repetition), subtly and without being instructed to do so. The reasons for this are numerous. Thus, decided/formal premises can be supported, so as to stabilise them or undermine them in order to maintain flexibility. However, these phenomena also form in order to promote peripheral aims of the organisation, to consolidate interests, or to structure the motivation and orientation of (new) employees. What is not decided falls into two categories: into that which one can decide but has not decided and that which cannot be decided. To know this distinction, and to use it, is particularly important for management and consultation in organisations. Again and again, there are attempts to change ‘organisational culture’ by means of instructions or appeal, without taking into account that substantial aspects of the ‘culture’ are not changeable by decisions. It is also worth considering the explicit regulation of the undecided but decidable, because, with this, the actual role of culture can be destroyed.