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the relations that define a system as a unity, and determine the dynamics of interaction and transformations which it may undergo as such a unity, constitute the organization of a system. (Maturana and Varela, 1979)
Has at least three meanings (1) The act of arranging components to form a pattern different from what could occur by chance, by some criterion or better than it was before (see coordination) e.g., conducting a political campaign; (2) A complex complementary conditionality in behavior or in the coexistence of physical or living components (Ashby) as in an ecological system or in such social organizations as a family, a university or a government agency being constituted by its members through conventional rules of conduct, legally recognized and interacted with by observers or by other social organizations; (3) The relations, and processes of communication, including coordination and coorientation among the components or variables of a system that (a) determine the dynamics of interaction and transformations it may undergo in a physical space and (b) constitute (see constitution) its unity whether only for an observer (see allopoiesis) or also for itself (see autopoiesis). In this third and largely cybernetic meaning, the properties of the components that realize a system as a concrete physical entity do not enter the description of that system's organization. It follows that machines, organisms and social forms of vastly different materiality and components may have the same organization. Accordingly, a whole system may be explained in terms of the properties of its components and its organization (see analysis). The use to which a particular system may be put or who created it in the first place is not a feature of its organization. A theory of design (including engineering), management and of (concrete) organizational behavior is concerned with (1). A theory of organizations concerns (2) and attempts to provide generalizations about how cells, or organisms interact or how and why people work together and form larger unities (see general systems theory). cybernetics is concerned and has in fact been considered coextensive with an organization theory which concerns (3) and attempts to provide theories of or a logic for how unities and whole systems can arise or be maintained through the forms of communication (and more complex kinds or interactions and interdependencies) among components without reference to their materiality. The theory of modelling is a direct outgrowth of this organization concept. Like cybernetics generally, an organization theory is not disturbed by the possibility that some organizations may not be realized by man or by nature but it will be informed by the finding that they cannot exist (Ashby). (Krippendorff)
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