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The Discipline of Organizing: Core Concepts Edition, 3rd Edition by Robert J. Glushko

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Chapter 5. Describing Relationships and Structures

Robert J. Glushko
Matthew Mayernik
Alberto Pepe
Murray Maloney

5.1. Introduction

We can consider a family to be a collection of people affiliated by some connections with each other such as common ancestors or a common residence. The Simpson family includes a man named Homer and a woman named Marge, the married parents of three sibling children, a boy named Bart and two girls, Lisa and Maggie. This is a magical family that speaks many languages, but always uses the language of the local television station. In the English-speaking Simpson family, the boy describes his parents as his father and mother and his two siblings as his sisters. In the Spanish speaking Simpson family the boy refers to his parents as su padre y su madre and his sisters are las hermanas. In the Chinese Simpson family Lisa and Maggie refer to each other according to their relative ages; Lisa, the elder sister as jiě jie and, Maggie, the younger sister as mèi mei.

Kinship relationships are ubiquitous and widely studied, and the names and significance of kinship relations like “is parent of” or “is sibling of” are familiar ones, making kinship a good starting point for understanding relationships in organizing systems. ...

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