The concept of ‘goal-seeking’ has had a powerful influence on thinking about organizations. Whilst the concept is undeniably useful it is argued that it is also a very narrow concept of organization which can limit the way in which we think about human decision making and action. Vickers’ idea of relationship-maintenance is reviewed as a richer concept to help us think about human activity systems such as organizations. The differences between goal-seeking and relationship-maintenance are explored and explained by reference to the different way in which the concept of ‘control,’ or ‘regulation,’ is incorporated within each.
- appreciative system