Chapter One – Exposing Meaning

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a pattern of allied concepts.

Why seek meaning in conceptual fields of knowledge and those allied concepts, principles and paradigms that describe and control them and then connect them with a theory?


(Note: Since this is blogged book, the most recent post is the last post.)

“People like to think that businesses are built of numbers (as in the “bottom line”), or forces (as in “market forces”), or things (“the product”), or even flesh and blood (“our people”). But this is wrong…Businesses are made of ideas — ideas expressed as words.”    – James Champy

The word “Quality” is a noun.  Concrete nouns are people, places or things. Quality is an abstract noun — an idea or concept. Meaningful faith, a meaningful democracy, meaningful quality, and the meaning of being a republican are all useful concepts for relating meaning to the reality of our lives. If you were asked—“What does republican or democrat mean?”—would you turn to a dictionary for the answer?  Perhaps, with some difficulty and critical thinking, you would choose to communicate what republican means in a rich description. You would format your explanation as a pattern of your thoughts. Your thought processes would call upon your knowledge and the principles, concepts and paradigms that you connect with that knowledge.  It would be very difficult for you to communicate what republican means with just a string of words typically found in a dictionary.  The difficulty lies in the nature of the words. Abstract concept nouns like faith, republican, democracy or quality do not belong in the typical dictionary. They cannot be defined. They must be explained to be understood, and understanding is a prerequisite for meaning.

Meaning is best comprehended in rich descriptions that I shall call conceptual patterns. Meaning cannot exist without patterns of thought that are built on a foundation of associated knowledge, principles, concepts and paradigms. If you want to know how to make the experience of being a republican or democrat meaningful perhaps you would do the following and expose the DNA:

  • Recognize the knowledge domains that encapsulate it.
  • Distinguish the domains with a purpose.
  • Express those domains in principles.
  • Categorize and link the concepts captured by principle in a way that is consistent.
  • Forecast the implications as conceptual patterns.
  • Clarifying everything in your own theory that addresses How, What and Why.

When abstract nouns have meaning then, principles that are universal, sound and sustainable is the result. Without universal, sound and sustainable principles — practices are ineffective with short life cycles. That which could be meaningful is left open to interpretation by anyone, at anytime for any purpose. This blog will walk you through a process for capturing and describing the meaning of Quality— OR ANY ABSTRACT NOUN OF YOUR CHOICE and express the results in a theory.

Until his death in December 1993, W. Edwards Deming was working on revisions of his last book, The New Economics, published in 1994. Deming wrote: “Without theory there is nothing to revise. Without theory experience has no meaning. Without theory there is no learning.”

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