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System dynamics in organisations

What are organisation constellations?

Bert Hellinger created the foundation of this method. In his words: "The model is derived from family constellations. In a family constellation, someone chooses a number of people from a group to represent members of his family. He then places these representatives in relation to each other. As soon as these people have taken their place, they feel like the people they represent, even though they don't know them. This constellation gives an insight into the dynamics at work in the family system.

When this method is applied to an organisation, it provides a clear view of the organisation, and its members, departments, customers, and other important elements.


When are organisation constellations relevant?

  • as a diagnostic tool, to shed a light on what's going on
  • to test "what if" scenarios, ranging from strategic options, over brand selection to product placement
  • to initiate a change, e.g. to implement the right org chart


The elements of a well functioning organisation

"Well functioning" means that the organisation's members feel well, and that they can execute their tasks adequately. It means that the company is fulfilling its role within society, and that there is a meaningful exchange both within the organisation, and with the outside world.


A system functions well if it adheres to the following basic principles:

1. The right order in positions 

This principle is related to the purpose of the organisation. He who builds the framework in which all the others can execute their work comes first. The one building the framework in which the next level can operate comes second, and so on. That way, each has his rightful place and is well positioned to perform his task.


2. Balance between giving and receiving

Everyone gives something to the company, and receives something in return. There is a constant exchange that allows continuation or growth, not just for the people working there, but also for the company as a whole. There is a constant exchange with customers, suppliers, and others. Growth can mean increased change, or complexity, or quality, etc.


3. Every member has equal rights to his place in the organisation

A healthy organisation recognises every member. This is not only valid for the people who are working there now, but also for the ones who were important in its history. They are honoured and have their position in the system, but the system is no longer stuck to them. The company is looking ahead, and the founders are present as background support. By extension: every member of the organisation, from CEO to warehouse clerk, has his rightful place, is being recognized, and has equal worth. Different, but equal.













Source: "Het Verbindende Veld - Organisatieopstellingen in de praktijk". Auteur: Jan Jacob Stam, ISBN 90-77290-02-8, Uitgeverij Het Noorderlicht