Is mountain a structure or a process? Is it static or in motion?
As exemplified by the mountain, all “things” and systems can be viewed from a structure or process perspective. The difference is time.
Every“thing” in the universe consists of mei (matter, energy, information). A flow of mei is process, while a stable configuration of mei is structure.
All systems contain both process and structure. However, one can also view the system itself from a process or a structure perspective.
What is a process or structure depends on the observer. If mei changes within the period of observation, it is a process. If it remains stable, it is a structure. This can be illustrated by the analogy of a mountain. A geologist who looks at a mountain over millions of years perceives the mountain as a process. A tourist looking at the mountain sees it as a structure.
Thus, the difference between process and structure is determined by the time span of observation.
Ultimately – as expressed by the law of entropy – every material “thing” or system in the universe is process.
relevance for the change manager
Structure is a spatial representation of a system (e.g. an ideal design of an organisation).
Process highlights movement from one spatial state to another (e.g. the transformation from a current towards a more ideal state of the organisation).
Thus, design emphasises structure, while implementation emphasises process.