Membership and Motives in Social Systems

  • Niklas Luhmann


“Classical theory describes (and prescribes) organizations as systems that have the capacity of making rational decisions. They pursue objectives and are in control of their instruments. […] Control of instruments means control of motives to contribute to the organization. But how is it possible to control motives if humans are conceived as subjects, that is, as self-organizing entities? The answer is: by membership. Subjects decide to enter the system, to use their freedom to accept constraints, that is, to establish a ‘zone of indifference’ within which the organization or the ‘executive’ on its behalf can select what he wants to be done.”


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niklas Luhmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität BielefeldBielefeldDeutschland

Personalised recommendations