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Validity of Rules

For an understanding of the guiding process ‘Interaction Patterns’ (team dynamics), the guiding process ‘Handling the Present’ (Organisational Dynamics), as well as the term, organisational culture, it is very important to differentiate between the pattern form ‘rules and the pattern forms ‘values’ as well as ‘norms’. All three generate their validity very differently and serve different functions.

Rules, as opposed to norms and values, have stability that is dependent on the daily events in the team. Rules, and the expectations associated with them, must constantly be stabilised according to situation and event, otherwise they disintegrate and are replaced by others. Thus, when a contravention takes place without any protest, then the rule immediately loses its binding character. For example, if, in a meeting, a rule is declared that one must commence punctually, and then unpunctuality is tolerated without any consequences, the control function of the rule is harmed. The question of whether a message or an action is noticed in the team, therefore, plays a central role in the establishment and disintegration of rules.

For leadership and consultation it is, therefore, a loss of authority, if, in the context of team dynamics, rules are first formulated and then these are not immediately and sustainably adhered to and sanctioned. Then it is better not to declare any rules! There is hardly anything which is observed so attentively in teams as the non-sanctioning of rules. This is also useful because the decisions (=guiding processes) about what really has validity in the team are altered and renewed through the non-adherence to rules and the observation of the non-adherence. Then one knows what can be ignored without danger.

In the context of organisational dynamics, however, deviations from, and breaking of rules are indispensable ‘functions’ of an organisation. Without exceptions, formal or informal, the guiding process ‘Handling the Present’ cannot be appropriately processed.

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