32 SES 01 A, Towards a Theory of Organizational Education: Selected Reference Points
Modern life is organized. The thesis that organizations are essential for modern societies is part of the standard inventory of societal self-descriptions (Kühl 2015). The fact that liberal democracy in particular relies significantly on a structural formation principle based on the suspension of its claims to freedom and equality (Luhmann 1994) has been noted and is only one of the numerous paradoxes diagnosed in various modernization theories (Beck/Giddens/Lash 1996; Reckwitz 2016; Baumann 2017). However, due to a dissemination-related habituation effect, the awareness is lost that organizations are full of requirements and that their success cannot be taken for granted despite being ubiquitous.
Organizations realize their operations as a dual of structure and individual. Structural specifications are used to address expectations and action imperatives to the individuals involved (Wendt 2020). From a functional point of view, organizations are mechanisms for the production of specific behaviors and the generation of coordinated sequences of action. The fact that the mechanism of organization integrates motive generalization in addition to behavioral specification (Luhmann 1975) implies that pre-organizational individuality is calculated into plans (Lehmann 2011), which has to be formed organizationally. The educational dimension of the organization becomes apparent in the construction of self-determined action in an externally determined context (Oelkers 1990; Manhart 2009). The functioning of the organization is based not least on the reflexive distancing of the individuals involved, although this cannot be structurally established. The modern organizational society is also a educationalized society in view of its organizationally induced artificiality. In light of these assumptions, the object of organizational education does not begin with organizational learning. A genuinely educational understanding of the term organization integrates possibilities of societal theoretical considerations as well as the conception of organizational design strategies as educational categories. The contribution conceptualizes the principle of modern organization as a genuinely educational issue and discusses the resulting options of governance as (organizational) educational forms of managing paradoxes.
Organizations' being challenging contexts is evident in its factually paradoxical inner logic. Not everything is possible in organizations, but results from specific job descriptions, hierarchical constellations, and thus from the logic of order in processes based on the division of labor (Wendt 2019). This also means that organizational opportunities result from constraints on individual opportunities. The factual paradox of the organization to generate opportunities through structurally induced impossibility is evident in the practice of management that works on the order of the organization. Structurally, organizations are places of limitation and enabling in equal measure, and an (organizational) educational understanding of management addresses how to deal with paradoxes of governance.
In addition to the management of the organization, which works on the mutual restriction and generation of opportunities, leadership in organizations has a different function. Leadership aims at shaping the interaction relationships depending on persons and thus at the social coding of a purely factual, formal context from the structural point of view. Again, this reveals a paradoxical constellation. The psychological inner world of the individuals involved is neither transparent, while the dynamics of social interaction do not allow assumptions of linear control (Luhmann 1989). Leadership is equivalent to the facilitation of the unavailable by claiming to gain opportunities from the difference between structure and individual. From the concealment of the fact that dynamic interaction is noncontrollable, leadership operates to generate its aspiration. Leadership practice corresponds to the confrontation with the conditions of its own impossibility, and the fact of depending on unavailability for planning highlights the social paradox of the organization.
The contribution conceptualizes the self-logic of modern organization as a genuinely educational issue. A educationally informed concept of organization results from an analysis of the history of the development of organizational theory and management studies. The history of organization and management is expressed in the conjuncture of different emphases in shaping organizations (Kieser 1996), but these always represent ways of dealing with the organizational dual of structure and individual. Management and leadership are genuinely educational forms of governance, although this has been regularly overlooked to date. As fundamental concepts of organizational education, management and leadership derive directly from the organizational structure-individual duality.
The organizational dual of structure and individual is expressed in the different practices of management and leadership. Management addresses the work on the structure of the organization and thus a practice of limiting and opening opportunities by means of structural specifications. In contrast, leadership refers to the side of the individuals involved and is based on addressing its own deficit of technology. The form of modern organization is therefore not the only genuinely educational issue. The different options used to affect organizational activities are forms of educational governance that aim at de-paradoxing paradoxes by transforming them into practical dilemmas. The study of organizations as a genuinely educational issue is opened up in this way, and the outline of an educational theory of society is sketched out. The paper thus contributes to the further theory development of organizational education by deriving management and leadership as basic organizational educational terms from the organizational structure-individual duality.
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