Paradigms – The Business of Discovering the Future

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a shared set of assumptions with a purpose.

Why aggregate concepts and principles by providing rules for their application?

If the meaning of paradigms is understood, the meaning of quality will follow.



According to Joel Barker, paradigms give us the added advantage of being able to create a valid set of expectations about what will probably occur in the world based on our shared set of assumptions. Barker asserted that the paradigm was just as applicable to organization dynamics as scientific revolutions. Barker’s definition of a paradigm;

A paradigm is a set of rules and regulations (written or unwritten) that does two things;

(1) it established or defines boundaries; and (2) it tells you how to behave inside the boundaries in order to be successful.

He adds that a paradigm is used to solve problems and predict future events. Barker is author of Paradigms – The Business of Discovering the Future

Barker uses the game of tennis as a good example. Essentially the rules of the game help each player solve the problem of overcoming the opposing player and scoring more points. In fact, the first principle or purpose of any game is to win. Imagine a game without the first principle. Based on Barkers definition what would be the purpose of a paradigm? Barker pointed out that for most situations our success is easily measured by our ability to solve problems. If we just use his definition we might come to the conclusion that the purpose of a paradigm is two­ fold; establish boundaries, and behavioral characteristics that will lead to success. His definition has wide implications but only if we add the third component to his definition; it tells us how to behave inside the boundaries to be successful solving problems. If we are playing tennis for the first time and we are never given a purpose for accumulating points the activity would quickly become circular and very boring. My point is that any discussion of paradigms must include the concept of purpose.

Let’s go back to the first paragraph in this section of the chapter and extract the real purpose of a paradigm in Barker’s own words -“to create a valid set of expectations about what will probably occur in the world based on a shared set of assumptions.” The expectation is a purpose and the shared set of assumptions is a set of principles. We will make use of, associated concepts, principles and purposeful paradigms from multiple knowledge domains to build the ConPriDigm™ Theory.

Next post – The connection, Paradigms and Theory.