18. June 2024

Organisations are Communication Structures

Finding  the first sentence for the first entry in a blog it is terrible. Done! Additionally humor is the most difficult part for a non-native speaker. But it is not necessary trying to write in humorous style as I intentionally want to do. I am sure I produce many jokes by mistake. Have fun!

Now back to our topic: Business process management. There have been a lot of discussions about what are business processes. In my opinion it simple deals with structuring work in organizations, sets of organizations, organizations of organizations etc..  What is an organization? Luhmann has said that the smallest unit of an organization is communication. Communication is executed by two information processing units which exchange information. By the way this definition is created by a sociologist in spite it sounds like a definition from a business informatics guy. Based on that definition business processes are nothing else than the  communication between the “information processing entities” involved in the execution of a business process. In order to avoid the communication chaos the communication behavior which is appropriate for handling a business event is structured: Messages are exchanged in certain sequences. Why do we use control flows for handling business events? Control flows are an appropriate mean for describing processes if the involved parties belong to the same organization or company. But in a global economy communication takes place between everybody on the globe even to entities outside the world e.g. the astronauts on the ISS.

I think today it is better to consider processes in Luhmann’s way: Communication between the entities involved in the process.

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