Human systems’ constructive parts/modules are primarily the people themselves, with their audio, visual, tactile, and other interfaces.
Note that nobody makes attempts to discuss the functions of people. Also, no one discusses the meaning and content of information or changes in the environment that comes to people and leaves them through the interfaces of the human body. This is a modular/product-based consideration, i.e. consideration of “how to do”, how to make a system of people, already what they are.
People have a particular type of relationship that denotes the ability to dispose of certain means of production, or even other people: we are talking about the power of ownership, the power to give errands to other people, the power to accept other people’s work, the power to exchange some object or service/service (including the case when we are talking about a “universal object”—money). It would help if you had the appropriate authority to get the requested external behavior from him, which this person admits. Organization or organizational units (system of organized people) we call people who have agreed on mutual responsibilities, powers to dispose of each other and their means of production. Organizations provide services for other organizations/organizational units. The term “organization” is most often used concerning the top of a modular breakdown of a system of people and means of production. Enterprise/firm/company or governmental and public/non-profit organizations, other names are used—bodies, agencies, institutions, associations, foundations, etc. The intermediate levels are called “organizational units”. The minimum organizational unit is thus one person. Still, since people have long since stopped changing the physical world with their bare hands and don’t use the unarmed channels of perception, it is one person with his tools which he is authorized to dispose of. Given that people in an organization must cooperate, they are called cooperators/coworkers. The minimum organizational unit is one coworker with equipment at his disposal.
Then these minimum organizational units/staff/people are merged, based on known authority, into the next level of organizational units, and so on, until the highest level organizational unit is an organization as a whole (an enterprise or an institution or an association or a foundation, etc.). Are there systemic levels above the level of organization? There are production cooperatives, business eco-systems, movements, etc. Only at these system levels, there is no organization. The authority is not distributed, so joint actions to coordinate the use of resources are carried out on the basis of direct agreements to create “extended enterprises” (organizations that consist of organizations that have agreed to perform some common work). For example, a nuclear power plant is constructed by an extended enterprise—hundreds and thousands of contractors, not only one construction and installation organization. The construction and installation organization of a nuclear power plant has contracts with its contractors, and these contracts define who is responsible for what in the construction of the nuclear power plant: not at the individuals level but the level of organizations.
The term “organizational unit” is better than “division” because the modular organization structure usually does not show temporary organized groups of people and their means of production: project groups (projects are temporary, after all!), and all sorts of councils, committees, boards, commissions, etc. But when you hear that “to launch a new project, you need a decision of the scientific and technical board”, then you need somehow to take this into account in the system definition. But the scientific and technical board is not a division! Divisions, “collegial bodies” are empowered to make some decisions and carry out actions related to these decisions, gathering in meetings (often conducted through mailing lists or chat discussions), and there are organizational units as part of which the organization is made.
We do not discuss modular/organizational structure and interfaces between organizational units in connection with improving something in the organizational system (organization/organizational unit operations). We discuss it in terms of “how to get organized”—who will do whose tasks, what and when will be purchased means of production, and who will dispose of it. The subject of modular/organizational discussion in the organization/organizational units is organizing (achieving a state of organization when the authority of all employees is apparent).
Organizational unit services (both staff units and collegiate temporary groups—project teams, work groups, departments, councils, committees, commissions, etc.) provided by them on their organizational interfaces, discussion of interfaces and interface modules/channels (mail, issue tracker, checkout window, conveyor belt, etc.) for interaction with them, are a typical subject of discussion in organizations. These services in good organizations try to standardize (regulate: bring them under the enterprise level standard), make them some kind of organizational platform with a published interface.
Organizational unit services (both staff units and collegiate temporary groups—project teams, boards, workgroups, departments, councils, committees, commissions, etc.) provided by them on their organizational interfaces, discussion of interfaces and interface modules/channels (mail, issue tracker, check out window, conveyor belt, etc.) for interaction with them, are a typical subject of discussion in organizations. Beautiful organizations try to standardize these services (regulate: bring them under the enterprise level standard), making them an organizational platform with a published interface.
An organization/enterprise is literally made up, assembled, made of its organizational units—these are the constructive, not the functional parts of an enterprise/organization. Discussing the organization chart/organogram, you cannot tell how the enterprise works, what functions the organizational units perform.
The naming of organizational units reflects this consideration of “how it is made, what it is made of” more than often. The names have the most general notions of the service being provided, out of connection with the purpose/function of that service. Shop #5, Ward #6 are just simple numbers in names. No function follows. They are typically referring to constructive consideration. The most general words without any indication of the domain (like “database” and “server” in information technology) are the same indication here (“engineering”, “legal department”, scientific and technical council, design group).
Product/modular/constructive elements perform a lot of functions, and even the most unexpected. The case of “the unit is moving to another building” means the constructive and accommodation consideration. “The unit will perform new practices/activities” is a discussion of the relationship of the functional and constructive consideration of the unit.
*An excerpt from Systems Thinking course