Organizations as distinction generating and processing systems : Niklas Luhmann's contribution to organization studies

Seidl, David & Becker, Kai Helge (2010) Organizations as distinction generating and processing systems : Niklas Luhmann's contribution to organization studies. In Clegg, Stewart R. (Ed.) SAGE Directions in Organization Studies. SAGE Publications Ltd, London.

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Niklas Luhmann's theory of social systems has been widely influential in the German-speaking countries in the past few decades. However, despite its significance, particularly for organization studies, it is only very recently that Luhmann's work has attracted attention on the international stage as well. This Special Issue is in response to that. In this introductory paper, we provide a systematic overview of Luhmann's theory. Reading his work as a theory about distinction generating and processing systems, we especially highlight the following aspects: (i) Organizations are processes that come into being by permanently constructing and reconstructing themselves by means of using distinctions, which mark what is part of their realm and what not. (ii) Such an organizational process belongs to a social sphere sui generis possessing its own logic, which cannot be traced back to human actors or subjects. (iii) Organizations are a specific kind of social process characterized by a specific kind of distinction: decision, which makes up what is specifically organizational about organizations as social phenomena. We conclude by introducing the papers in this Special Issue. Copyright © 2006 SAGE.

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ID Code: 76393
Item Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 9781848608689
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 29 Sep 2014 06:31
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2015 14:15

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