Summary: Chapter 10
Faults, errors and failures in communications: a systems
theory perspective on organisational structure
Peter Andras and Bruce Charlton
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Organisations are plentiful in the modern social environment. They involve a number
of humans purposefully coordinated (although an organisation's joint goal may be
perceived only partially, and by a minority of human participants ). Given their
importance in contemporary societies, there have been many attempts to understand
organisations over many decades .
One way to understand organisations is to analyse their internal structures and the
role of these structures. Organisational structures may be defined by their distinctive
rules, which limit the range of activity of some members of the organisation .
Sometimes the structures involve physical separation of members of organisation
involved in separate spatial units (e.g. offices). But the most important aspect of
organisational structures is that they describe the information flow within the organi-
sation, and the rules that define structures channel the behaviours of the organisation
. Therefore the organisational structures may become most obvious when the
organisation is `in trouble' and the causes of problems are being sought.