Implications of Self-Reference: Niklas Luhmann’s Autopoiesis and Organization Theory

This article reviews the potential of Niklas Luhmann’s autopoiesis as a contribution to organization theory. We consider organization theory to consist of three epistemological foundations, which we label equilibrium-based theory, process-based theory and recursivity-based theory. We review critically Luhmann’s autopoietic theory in relation to each of these three foundations. We suggest that whereas it deviates radically from equilibrium-based theory and deviates significantly from process-based theory, it holds potential in its complementarity with Giddens’s structuration theory in providing a promising basis for recursivity-based organization theory.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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