metatheory of form
I have been reading Christopher Alexander’s (1964) Notes on the Synthesis of Form — a beautiful, simple book on design and form. The book is considered a classic by some scholars of architecture.
The book is strikingly applicable to a wide variety of contexts, including organizations. For example, the book analytically wrestles with the relationship between form and context (think, organization and its environment), the role of adaptation etc. Design and form, in this book, are treated rather broadly, not just objects such as kettles, or even matters such as music, but also social forms, including villages and societies. Very interesting. I love the analytical precision and simplicity with which the books treats its subject matter — e.g., the appendix of the book works through some basic set theoretic intuition and diagrams the design of an Indian village.
I haven’t seen this book cited in the orgs literature, but it occurs to me that one might readily use it in a class period on organizational design and form.