What is Structure? LO25516

From: Winfried Dressler (winfried.dressler@voith.de)
Date: 10/23/00

Replying to LO25499 --

>My question is - What is structure in a system? Is it visible, invisible
>or both? Is it formal or informal or both? What is it?

Let me add a few quotations from Robert Fritz, Corporate Tides - The Inescapable Laws of Organizational Structure:

"Structure has its own beauty, its own integrity, its own purpose, its own
principles, its own inherent rhythm and texture and continuity. That's not
all, however. Structure may also be accurately understood as power. As a
power, it dominates our lives and organizations through its ability to
profoundly determine outcomes...

"But structure is often hard to see. We have not been trained to think
structurally so, for the most part, the structures in our lives and
organizations are invisible in the circumstances in which we find
ourselves - underfunded projects, that lack full support of the
organization, unclear strategies, tactics that compete against each other,
compensation systems that reward values opposite the ones espoused, major
direction of the organization changing every few years, proclamations that
mean little in the daily running of the company, and so on. All of these
are consequences of structure...

"The study of structure has a long tradition in the arts, sciences, and
engineering. Those who are particularly interested in the subject are
called structuralists... Many structuralists were trained in music or
mathematics - probably the most purely structural languages there are. In
the world of management, the work of the great thinkers Peter Drucker and
W. Edwards Deming are filled with structural insights. Both had
backgrounds in music. Drucker considered becoming a professional musician
before he became interested in management issues. Deming, a statistician,
was also a composer...

"Of course, the term 'structure' has been used in a variety of contexts.
Within structural dynamics, the term has a technically exact meaning:

"Structure is an entity formed by the influence the parts have on each
other and on the whole."

Besides the insights we may get by putting together our knowledge on
structure in this list, I want to take the opportunity to direct your
attention to the rich structure of this very list. And as an example, rhe
famous 'common container of meaning' to which the participants of a
dialogue get access is also a structural description of what 'dialogue'

Liebe Gruesse,



"Winfried Dressler" <winfried.dressler@Voith.de>

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