Niklas Luhmann’s Autopoietic Theory of Organisations: Contributions, Limitations, and Future Prospects
University of Zurich, Institute of Organization and Administrative Science (IOU), IOU Working Paper No. 105
29 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 1, 2010
In this paper we discuss the strengths and limitations of Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory as a theoretical lens for studying organisations. We outline the main contributions of his work to contemporary organisation studies: the differentiation between social and psychological logics, the differentiation between different social systems, the radical process character of organisations, and the embeddedness of his organisation theory into a larger theory of society. Based on a discussion of the main limitations of Luhmann’s theory we propose an agenda for the future development of his theory.
Keywords: Niklas Luhmann, Theory of Social Systems, Autopoiesis, Organization Theory
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