Publication 3762

Hernes T. & Bakken T. (2003) Implications of self-reference: Niklas Luhmann’s autopoiesis and organization theory. Organization Studies 24(9): 1511–1535. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/3762
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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