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René John & Jana Rückert-John, Observing Possibilities. A Function-Analytical Approach to Organizational Change Processes [Abstract]

The following study is based on Niklas Luhmann’s organizational theory. Luhmann’s theory provides an analytical framework for the comparison of different organizations as structurally equal entities. The assumption that only successful decisions are registered by an organization as a basis for following decisions stirs curiosity about the results of unsuccessful decisions. The study asks for management strategies to cope with non-success. The authors analyze examples for unsuccessful change management in several organizations of eating out using the functional analysis as an analytical strategy. The analysis is based on several guided interviews undertaken with the individuals responsible for the kitchens of their organizations. Thereby the failure to establish the use of organic food products appears in a different light: namely as a powerful opportunity for reflection and improvement. Targeting such examples provides more potential for learning than best practice cases. In the following, the widespread hesitancy to use unsuccessful examples is discussed in regard to organizational expectations