Introduction in the Metatheory of Change

Intro in the Metatheory of Change*



"Our future can never be exactly the same as our past.

Therefore, as far as acting is concerned, we must decide,

and as far as identifying is concerned, we must depict." (N. Luhmann)



This Metatheory of Change takes a stab at thinking about relations between very different phenomena (psyche, groups, organisations and conflicts), very different consulting approaches (coaching, management consultation, team developments, management trainings, conflict mediation, and psychotherapy) and very different disciplines (psychology, sociology, organisational theory, systems theory,philosophy of science, and cognitive science). Tackling these in thinking requires an approach that reduces the overwhelming complexity of the theoretical and at the same time practical terrain. This reduction consists of:


1. By studying other theories and authors we concentrate on how they conceptualise change (and each of the corresponding antonym). By doing so we gain a theoretical point of comparison, which is independent of the respective conceptual construct and the implied assumptions.


2. We consider everything that can change as self-preserving systems. Consequently established phenomena are understood as a consequence of dynamic processes, which by repetition generate their stabilities (structures). We call such self-structuring and self-sustaining processes - in following Niklas Luhmann - systems.


3. All systems select from opportunities in order to secure their continuance in the future. Thus the term decision (=choice of an opportunity) seems to us as favourable theoretical focus for comparing different systems with regard to change (=future).


4. We have devised the specific peculiarities of each of the systems by guiding differentiations resp. guiding processes, which depict the continuous necessity for decision making and thereby providing a fertile ground for a theory of consulting with regard to the practical application.


The interested reader gets a picture of what are the background, derivations and consequences with regard to the idea to conceptualize any form of change by the phenomenon "decisions". As a matter of course such an attempt requires a selection of theories and authors. It should be noted at this point that by doing so more is ignored and neglected than being appropriate in this subject matter.


The task is, which can because of its complexity simply not be left to itself, to understand consulting of individuals, groups, and organisations in an inclusive context and - from the point of intervention -  to make it feasible of combination as to the context of psychological, sociological, philosophical, and theological schools of thoughts.

Given the very challenging work and economic conditions consulting clients are entitled of taking advantage of a theory which thinks across systems and delivers options for action.



*Excerpt from "Metatheorie der Veränderung" by Klaus Eidenschink, translated by Jürgen Große-Puppendahl