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Organizations as Communications. Examining the Value of Luhmann’s Social Systems Theory for Organizational Communication Research

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Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to underline similarities between the constitutive perspective on organizational communication (e.g. Taylor, 2003) and Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems (1995; 2000). Following an overview of key insights of both approaches, suggestions are given how they could be integrated in the future. The analysis aims to show that, from a Luhmannian perspective, it is worthwhile to concentrate on decisions as communicational phenomena of organizations. This focus allows to analyze how organizations manage to transcend the paradox of the fundamental contingency of any decisions. The question is raised how these strategies of deparadoxification vary depending on genres and media applied in organizational communication, which is illustrated here by analyzing the increasing usage of Microsoft PowerPoint presentations in organizational communication.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

communic (199), luhmann (112), organ (107), organiz (96), theori (95), decis (95), social (89), system (80), 2003 (60), taylor (46), 2000 (35), perspect (33), conting (32), field (31), constitut (26), r (26), j (24), work (24), structur (24), powerpoint (24), research (23),

Author's Keywords:

organizational communication, social systems theory, decision contingency, PowerPoint presentation genre
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Name: International Communication Association
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MLA Citation:

Schoeneborn, Dennis. "Organizations as Communications. Examining the Value of Luhmann’s Social Systems Theory for Organizational Communication Research" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY, <Not Available>. 2009-05-25 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p13635_index.html>

APA Citation:

Schoeneborn, D. "Organizations as Communications. Examining the Value of Luhmann’s Social Systems Theory for Organizational Communication Research" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2009-05-25 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p13635_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to underline similarities between the constitutive perspective on organizational communication (e.g. Taylor, 2003) and Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems (1995; 2000). Following an overview of key insights of both approaches, suggestions are given how they could be integrated in the future. The analysis aims to show that, from a Luhmannian perspective, it is worthwhile to concentrate on decisions as communicational phenomena of organizations. This focus allows to analyze how organizations manage to transcend the paradox of the fundamental contingency of any decisions. The question is raised how these strategies of deparadoxification vary depending on genres and media applied in organizational communication, which is illustrated here by analyzing the increasing usage of Microsoft PowerPoint presentations in organizational communication.

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Document Type: application/pdf
Page count: 22
Word count: 8120
Text sample:
Organizations as Communications. Examining the Value of Luhmann’s Social Systems Theory for Organizational Communication Research. 1 Introduction Over the past years it has been repetitively asked if the field of organizational communication has reached the state of an established academic discipline (e.g. Clair 1999; Corman 2000; Taylor 2000). In a recent account on this question James R. Taylor (2003) identifies two crucial gaps which hinder organizational communication from becoming a unified discipline. The first gap is an inter-paradigmatic one:
Business Communication Quarterly 67(1) 78-80. Yates J. & Orlikowski W. J. (1992). Genres of organizational communication: A structurational approach to studying communication and media. The Academy of Management Review 17(2) 299- 326. Yates J. & Orlikowski W. J. (in press). The PowerPoint presentation and its corollaries: How genres shape communicative action in organizations. In: M. Zachry & C. Thralls (Eds.) The cultural turn: Communicative practices in workplaces and the professions. Amityville NY: Baywood. Zorn T. E. & Taylor J.


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