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Organization and Decision

  • Date Published: November 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108472074


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About the Authors
  • Translated into English for the first time, Luhmann's modern classic, Organization and Decision, explores how organizations work; how they should be designed, steered, and controlled; and how they order and structure society. Luhmann argues that organization is order, yet indeterminate. In this book, he shows how this paradox enables organizations to embed themselves within society without losing autonomy. In developing his autopoietic perspective on organizations, Luhmann applies his general theory of social systems by conceptualizing organizations as self­reproducing systems of decision communications. His innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the material (spanning organization studies, management and sociology) is integral to any study of organizations. This new translation, edited by one of the world's leading experts on Luhmann, enables researchers and graduate students across the English-speaking world to access Luhmann's ideas more readily.

    • A key European text in organizational studies, translated into English for the first time
    • Explains Luhmann's key theories whilst developing his autopoietic perspective on organizations
    • The book will appeal to scholars and students across a broad range of disciplines, including organization studies, management, and sociology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Niklas Luhmann is one of the most innovative thinkers of the twentieth century. His approach to the social world had a major impact on social theorizing. His key work on organizations, Organization and Decision, is finally out in English translation. It is a must-read for all scholars and students of organization.' David Seidl, University of Zurich, Switzerland

    'A long-awaited translation of Niklas Luhmann's landmark contribution to organization studies. We discover an author extremely well versed in the management literature, who is in constant dialogue with key authors such as Karl E. Weick, Herbert A. Simon and Michel Crozier. A must read for anyone interested in the communicative constitutive approaches to organization and organizing.' François Cooren, Université de Montréal, Canada

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108472074
    • length: 418 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Organization theory: the classical constructions
    2. Organization as an autopoietic system
    3. Membership and motives
    4. The paradox of decision-making
    5. Time relations 
    6. Uncertainty absorption
    7. Decision premises
    8. Decision programs
    9. Personnel
    10. The organization of organization
    11. Structural change: the poetry of reform and the reality of evolution
    12. Technology
    13. Organization and society
    14. Self-description
    15. Rationality
    Conclusion: theory and practice.

  • Author

    NIklas Luhmann
    Niklas Luhmann (1927–1998) ranks as one of the most important German social theorists of the twentieth century. His works have been highly influential in sociology and other social sciences, including organization studies. The significance of organizations for Luhmann can be traced in his biography: at the beginning of his career, he spent almost eight years as a legal expert in public administration, through which he gained professional expertise in the function of organizations. This practice inspired much of his later theoretical work at Harvard's Graduate School for Public Administration, the University for Public Administration at Speyer, the Center for Social Research in Dortmund, where he was head of department, and at the Department for Sociology at Bielefeld University, where he largely refrained from administrative work. This book, which was one of Luhmann's last, can be regarded as his conclusion to over thiry years of research on organized social systems.


    Dirk Baecker, Witten/Herdecke University
    Dirk Baecker is a Full Professor of Sociology at Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. He is one of the leading experts on Niklas Luhmann's work and has previously edited several translations of Luhmann's books, including Social Systems (1996), Theory of Society (2012), and Introduction to Systems Theory (2012).


    Rhodes Barrett
    Rhodes Barrett is a professional translator. He has previously translated two other books by Niklas Luhmann: Risk (1993) and Theory of Society (2012).

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