Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to use de Sitter's design theory to show how organizational structures can be designed so as to attenuate organizational disturbances and amplify regulatory potential. It is argued that organizational structures with low values on so‐called design‐parameters are themselves no source of disturbances and have the required built‐in regulatory potential. Design/methodology/approach – Key concepts from de Sitter's design theory are introduced and used to show how structures can attenuate disturbances and amplify regulatory potential. Findings – The analysis in this paper deepens our understanding of the role of organizational structures for dealing with organizational complexity, and of the design parameters that should be manipulated to achieve structural attenuation and amplification. Practical implications – Having a structure permitting organizations to attenuate and amplify is a crucial condition for organizational viability. This paper provides guidelines for the design of such structures. Originality/value – This is one of a limited number of studies that makes apparent how general insights from (management) cybernetic (e.g. viability, attenuation and amplification) may be realized in organizations by their structural design.
Kybernetes – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 3, 2011
Keywords: Organizational structures; Organizational design; Cybernetics
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