Chapter Fourteen: Variation – A Blessing or a Curse

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…variation that affects predictability.

Why does quality become unpredictable and frustrating for both provider and user when variation becomes excessive?

Conceptual Pattern for Variation

VARIATION

Variation is the rate or magnitude of inevitable change in the output or result of a process that deviates from a norm or standard. It is a process and event that is a numerical property or datum. Variation occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another and by which things become different by varying from a routine or pattern of relative size and extent. Variation may be assigned to the ratio of two quantities such that it can be compared to others numerically. Variation can be represented numerically as an average or average range as measured across a large group and may be a standard, model or pattern that is considered typical. (Pattern Engine – Variation N=12 © 2014)

If the meaning of variation is understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

Chapter Fourteen: Variation – A Blessing or a Curse

First Principle: The purpose of variation is to reflect the essence of nature and the creations of man.

Second Principle: Every data set contains the noise of routine variation, some data sets may contain signals, therefore; before you can detect a signal within any given data set, you must first filter out the noise .1

Third Principle: No data have meaning apart from their context .1

Fourth Principle: Appropriate, statistically derived, time series charts, are the simplest way to filter out noise, detect signals and put data in context.1

Fifth Principle: The purpose of analysis of variation is to provide needed insight.1

Sixth Principle: The best analysis is the simplest analysis which provides insight.1

Key Conceptual Patterns

CONTEXT

Context is the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation or event expressed as words, phrases, or passages that come before and after a particular word or passage in a piece of writing and help to explain and interpret its full meaning. It is a message explaining a distinct occurrence. Context establishes and makes clear significance of something that is intended, expressed in words that captures value, effectiveness and significance and may not be immediately obvious. Context follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon at a given time. (Pattern Engine – Context N=12 © 2014)

INSIGHT

Insight is the power of the mind to achieve a clear or deep perception of knowledge in the form of understanding, or deduction to grasp essential meaning or truth. It is a process of reasoning to identify facts. Insight uses the senses to acquire information about the surrounding environment or situation to understand and make good judgments about something resulting in the basic component in the formation of a concept. Insight has been verified and conforms to an original or standard for drawing conclusions by reasoning, esp. from given information, stated premises, or general principles and transcends from the general to the specific or cause to effect. (Pattern Engine – Insight N=12 © 2014)

Nest Post: Sampling, a paradox without adequate representation.

1 Donald J. Wheeler, Understanding Variation – The Key to Managing Chaos, 2000.

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Chapter Fifteen: Sampling – Paradox without Adequate Representation

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…a sampling paradox without adequate representation.

Why is the collection of samples without purpose if they don’t capture the variation that is present in the process?

 

Conceptual Pattern for Sampling

Sampling is a process for obtaining a small part, number, or quantity of something that has been taken or selected as a sample at random from a population. It is used to test hypotheses about the population. Sampling obtains representative data or observations from a group (lot, batch, population, or universe). Sampling involves an entire aggregation or relative magnitude of something with reference to a criterion. A sample is a typical example or specimen of a group, quality, or kind. Sampling involves the extent, size, or sum of countable or measurable discrete events, objects, or phenomenon, expressed as a numerical value that has a comparable aspect or property. A sample must meet the selection criteria for detailed examination and statistical measurement. (Pattern Engine – Sampling N=12 © 2014)

If sampling is understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

First Principle: The purpose of sampling is to obtain representative data from a process for assessing conformance, process behavior and predicting process behavior.

Second Principle: The prerequisite for a representative sample is a process that is predictable.

Fourth Principle: A standardized deviation establishes a statistically modified   numerical value that represents how much each individual value in a set of data varies from the central tendency value of the set.

Fourth Principle: A margin of error proclaims the absolute value of error that is acceptable to the analyst or the user of the data in a sampling scheme.

Fifth Principle: A degree of confidence or confidence interval declares a range in measurement values on either side of the central tendency that is to be expected in a sampling scheme.

Sixth Principle: If the variation of a process characteristic measurement is expressed in standard deviation units, the margin for error and the needed degree of confidence are known then a representative sample size can be known.

Key Conceptual Patterns

CONFORMITY

Conformity is compliance with a fixed standard, regulation, requirement or practice according to a particular set of rules. Conformity is a customary way of meeting requirements that requires a prescribed guide. Conformity involves a confirmed set of accepted standard operations that have been developed through experience and knowledge and authoritative principles. Conformity results in translating an idea into action that can be used as a basis for reasoning, conduct or action and may be accepted as true. (Pattern Engine – Conformity N=12 © 2014)

PROCESS

A process is a sustained phenomenon manifested by a series of actions directed toward a specific aim intended to achieve a result. It is a sequentially ordered set involving statements, facts or occurrences. A process is an observed occurrence known through the senses rather than by intuition or reasoning, that is impressive or extraordinary, involving similar or related things or events or ideas in which each successive member is related to the preceding. A process is created by examining, studying, or calculating something as a consequence of another action, condition, or event that solves a problem or explains how to solve a problem. (Pattern Engine – Process N=12 © 2014)

Nest Post: Control –  Essential for making informed decisions

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Chapter Sixteen: Control – Essential for Making Informed Decisions

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…control of variation over time.

Why are data from any measurable characteristic that fail to demonstrate control, not operating predictably and, therefore, contribute to decisions that are economically and strategically suspect?

 

Conceptual Pattern for Control

CONTROL

Control is the ability to purposefully direct, or suppress, change through regulation or maintain a function or action to keep something at the correct level. The act of control brings something to uniformity by bringing to a position of stability on a scale of intensity as a variance from a routine or pattern. Control establishes a state of being governed by official rules in a range of relative scales or values when they can be counted or measured that makes something different when something passes from one state or phase to another. (Pattern Engine – Control N=12 © 2014)

If control is understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

First Principle: The purpose of control is to assure the predictability and usefulness of data streams.

Second Principle: A phenomenon will be said to be controlled when, through past experience, we can predict, at least within limits, how the phenomenon may be expected to vary in the future.1

Third Principle: A process will be said to be predictable when, through the use of past experience, we can describe, at least within limits how the process will behave in the future.1

Fourth Principle: Control is characterized by a stable and consistent pattern of variation overtime.2

Fifth Principle:  Samples drawn from an out of control process are economically   and strategically suspect.

Sixth Principle: Statistical Process Control is a way of thinking with some tools attached. 2

Key Conceptual Patterns

STABILITY

Stability is resistance to a changed position or variation resulting in a condition of being in equilibrium. Stability occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another and by which things become different by varying from a routine or pattern and are not be affected by a particular treatment.  Stability tends to retard or oppose change leading to all acting forces balancing each other out. (Pattern Engine – Stability N=12 © 2014)

PATTERN

A pattern is a general concept formed by extracting common features from specific examples. Patterns are distinct and unifying ideas that are simplified versions of something complex. They are used in analyzing and solving problems, making predictions or making a comparison that is perceived as an entity. A pattern is a recurrent idea expanded in a discourse due to a special set of circumstances. They are considered as a whole, belong together, referred to by name and serve as a master from which other similar things can be made, copied, or used as the basis for a related idea, process, or system. (Pattern Engine – Pattern N=12 © 2013)

1 Walter Shewhart, Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product, 1931.

2  Donald J. Wheeler, Understanding Variation – The Key to Managing Chaos, 2000.

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Chapter Seventeen: Targets – Centered Variation that Meets Customer Expectations

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…a target of centralized variation.

Why are process targets typically unrealistic when the process is not naturally centered and variation is not predictable within limits?

 

 

Conceptual Pattern for Target

A target is an attainable reference point toward which effort and action is directed. It is an orienting indicator that achieves a state by a series of actions. A target is a desirable achievement providing information for comparing measurements and advancing a principle involving earnest and conscientious activity intended to achieve a purpose. (Pattern Engine – Target N=12 © 2014)

If targets are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

First Principle: The purpose of a target is to institute a measure of central tendency.

Second Principle: A target communicates the Voice of the Process, Voice of the Customer and the Voice of the Raw Materials.

Third Principle: Without an estimate of conformance, a process target cannot be effective.

Fourth Principle: A target cannot be determined without knowing the variation that is present at the process level, the customer level and the raw material level.

Fifth Principle: Performance assessment of targets must include error present in measurement.

Sixth Principle: A target can’t be arbitrary and must be built on sound research and knowledge.

Key Conceptual Patterns

PERFORMANCE

Performance is accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards while using knowledge, as opposed to just possessing it, in a manner that is efficient and fulfills an intended purpose. It is a psychological result and level of quality resulting in the skillful avoidance of waste. Performance is a result of perception, learning and reasoning that germinates from the combination of data, information, experience, and individual interpretation. It results in awareness or understanding of a circumstance or fact, gained through association. Performance is that which is accepted as the norm or by which actual attainments are judged. Performance is a universally or widely accepted, agreed upon, or established means of determining what something should be as a basis for comparison, a reference point against other things can be evaluated. Performance involves utilizing the minimum use of resources, time, and effort while achieving a desired result. (Pattern Engine – Performance N=12 © 2014)

ERROR

Error is inadvertent incorrectness that varies between the true value of a mathematical quantity and a calculated or measured value or deviates from a model, norm, specification, or standard that is not due to a lack of knowledge. It is a nonconforming and inevitable change in rate or magnitude. Error is the output or result of a process that deviates from a norm or standard. Error is a change in the observed value from what is usual, accepted, expected or planned. Error affects the values of a data set when compared with a measure of central tendency such as the mean, median, or mode and may impact fact, truth standards or rules. (Pattern Engine – Error N=12 © 2014)

Next Post: Waste- Knowledge Without Know -How

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Synthesis Introduction

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS… a legacy of applied imagination involving destruction and creation.

Quality IS…a formal language for constructing patterns.

Quality IS…a construct for linking patterns.

                        

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While a person may make small improvements by developing new skills, quantum leaps in performance and revolutionary advances in technology require new maps, new paradigms, and new ways of thinking about old problems. – Stephen Covey             

I dedicate this part of my book to cognitive thought, solutions and Abraham Kaplan. Kaplan’s book The Conduct of Inquiry (1964) has had a significant impact regarding the development of my thought process for developing Quality IS – Exposing the DNA and Meaning of Quality.

Since the three chapters in Part Two contain the essence of what makes my book unique; I am providing only background information.  Hopefully, I will spark some interest when and if my book gets published.

First: Why explore the notions of applied imagination, suggested by Alex Osborn, and Destruction and Creation by John Boyd?

As I was endeavoring to persevere, doing research for this book, I became aware of the pertinent insight and knowledge of Alex Osborn and John Boyd. Their ideas and legacy regarding analysis and synthesis would have added significantly to the theoretical basis and organization of my Master’s Thesis. Unfortunately, their work was outside the circle of typical research being done in my field.  Osborn and Boyd clearly explained that knowledge can be concentrated and isolated or it can be taken apart and then reassembled into something new and novel. Their insight represented critical, in some ways impressionistic thinking, which was way ahead of its time. Their thought patterns in the 50’s and 60’s were beacons for systems development and provided a theoretical basis for the creation of a sustainable paradigm. In some circles a sustainable paradigm would be considered oxymoronic, but read on.  Osborn and Boyd would have disagreed.

Next Post – The Legacy of Alex Osborn and John Boyd

                          

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The Legacy

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS… a legacy of applied imagination involving destruction and creation.

Why explore the notions of applied imagination, suggested by Alex Osborn, and Destruction and Creation by John Boyd?

 

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Alex Osborn (1888 – 1966)

Alex Osborn is known as the father of “brain storming,” but his contribution in the area of imagination and creativity is germane to the subject matter of this book. His book, Applied Imagination, Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem-solving, published in 1953 and currently out of print, was re-printed thirty-one times with 250,000 copies in print by 1963. A quote on the front cover of the 31st printing and 3rd revised edition was indicative of the contents. He quoted Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” Einstein further stated, “for knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Osborn’s ideas clearly help to substantiate Einstein’s statement. His text sought mainly to cover the creative side of imagination, especially in its application to problem solving.

For Osborn creative imagination had two functions. One is to hunt; the other is to change what is found. In its hunting function, our talent can serve us as a searchlight with which we can find that which is not really new, but is new to us. This is discovery rather than invention. He stressed that the hunting function should not be too sharply divorced from the changing function.

John Boyd (1927 – 1997)

Colonel John (Richard) Boyd was a United States Air Force fighter pilot extraordinaire and Pentagon consultant of the late 20th century, whose theories have been highly influential in the military, sports, and business worlds.

His contribution to the security of the United States cannot be overstated.  For example, in a letter to the editor of Inside the Pentagon, former Commandant of the Marine Corps General C. Krulak said “The Iraqi army collapsed morally and intellectually under the onslaught of American and Coalition forces. John Boyd was an architect of that victory as surely as if he’d commanded a fighter wing or maneuver a division in the desert.”

 John Boyd was a truly amazing individual: in the 1960’s he created the Energy-Maneuverability Theory with civilian mathematician Thomas Christie which was largely responsible for the successful development of the F-15 and F-16 Fighter, as well as several others. He also developed the concept and process by which an entity reacts to an event called the OODA Loop, a key in the aerial combat thought process. Boyd was a deep thinker.

Boyd quoted Thomas Kuhn five times in an excellent white paper.  In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), Kuhn discusses the concept of a paradigm and on page ten he provides two characteristics of achievement that, for Kuhn, helps to define a paradigm:

Characteristic One: Achievement that is sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity.

Characteristic Two: Simultaneously, the achievement was sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve.

Boyd’s contribution to the concepts presented in this book was a single white paper labored over for several years with the help of his highly influential and educated friends. A complete chapter is dedicated to Osborn and Boyd in the book.

Osborn and Boyd were high achievers. Their legacy points the way to a sustainable paradigm. Read more about how their thoughts influenced the development of the Pattern Engine, the ConPriDigm, and my book — in my book.

Next post…the Pattern Engine

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The Pattern Engine

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…a formal language for constructing patterns.

Why establish a methodology for redesigning concepts to create patterns from multi-source lexical definitions?

 

 

We destroy and create patterns to permit us to both shape and be shaped by change – the activity is dialectic in nature creating both disorder and order. – John Boyd

The Pattern Engine is fueled with words, specifically, abstract nouns and their lexical definitions.

Lexical definitions can be found in the typical dictionary. The Pattern Engine provides the muscle for decomposing and then reconstructing words that result in the synthesis of a pattern.  The Pattern Dictionary contains several examples.

Let us look at a pattern for the abstract noun – Pattern.

A pattern is a general concept formed by extracting common features from specific examples. Patterns are distinct and unifying ideas that are simplified versions of something complex. They are used in analyzing and solving problems, making predictions or making a comparison that is perceived as an entity. A pattern is a recurrent idea expanded in a discourse due to a special set of circumstances. They are considered as a whole, belong together, referred to by name and serve as a master from which other similar things can be made, copied, or used as the basis for a related idea, process, or system. (Pattern Engine, N=12 © 2013)

The common features from specific examples originate from a multitude of dictionaries. The features are important for creating patterns. The superscript N=12  indicates that 12 lexical definition were used to create the pattern. 

A pattern is a construct; a way of redesigning a concept. According to Jaccard and Jocoby, authors of Theory Construction and Model-Building Skills, “constructs are high order concepts that refer to instances that are constructed from concepts at lower levels of abstraction. We form constructs because they are a powerful means by which we are able to handle a greater portion of reality.”

Suffice it to say…the pattern engine will provide a methodology for achieving a higher level of meaning in our search for the DNA and Meaning of Quality and the resulting theory.

Next post…The ConPriDigm

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The ConPriDigm – Synthesis and Complexity

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…a construct for linking patterns.

Why learn that a linked description “does its work not by invoking something beyond which might be described but by putting one fact or law into relation with others.” – Abraham Kaplan

 

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We are approaching a new age of synthesis. Knowledge cannot be merely a degree or a skill… it demands a broader vision, capabilities in critical thinking and logical deduction without which we cannot have constructive progress. – Li Ka-Shing                                                                           

Li Ka-Shing is a Hong Kong business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as of October 7, 2013 he is the richest person in Asia, with a net worth of $28.8 billion.

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The thoughts of Stephen Hawking are prophetic.  He has been quoted as saying that “the next century will be the century of complexity.” And yet, we are philosophically moving toward simplicity in the way we communicate our concepts and principles and in doing so we miss critical content, the content that has contributed to paradigm paralysis and meaningless practices.

We are living in an age of concepts without principle, principles without theory, and paradigms without recognized purpose.  The paradigms of individuals and those of our organizations are paralyzing our institutions.  We must use our cognitive abilities to turn complexity into coherency. I dedicate this chapter to cognitive thought and solutions.    

We have finally come to the chapter that addresses the primary functional component of the subject matter of this book…the ConPriDigm. I have preceded this chapter with the groundwork to understand what I am about to uncover.  The ConPriDigm is an idea, a conceptualization, a construct that I have explicitly described as a logical pattern of thought (ideas).   The pattern is a collection of abstract concepts relating to a field of knowledge and the dominating principles. The concepts are theoretical in nature because they address What, How and Why. The key prerequisite is the existence of a Domain – a field of knowledge..  Without a Domain, principles, concepts and governing paradigms simply are not in agreement.  Many Domains contribute to the effective application of knowledge trapped in the magic potion initiatives of the 20th and current centuries.

Next post – The path we have taken and why.

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Chapter 5 – Paradigms – A Third Component

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.

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 The paradigm is a shared set of assumptions, the way we perceive the world; water to fish. The paradigm explains the world to us and helps us to predict its behavior.

-Adam Smith

Today, “paradigm” is a buzzword and people use it loosely. But it is not a loose idea.

– Joel Barker 

Concepts describe our world to us. Principles associate concepts and make them into something useful. Next, we will cover the final component of the ConPriDigm™, the paradigm. The ConPriDigm™, (Concepts, Principles and Paradigms) is a construct that just happens to be the domain name for this blog. A chapter will be dedicated to the ConPriDigm™ — in the book.

We have all heard someone say, “Our school system needs a paradigm shift”, or perhaps “our political party needs a paradigm shift”. But, what exactly is a paradigm.  You can’t shift one unless you have identified the current one…and understand it.

A paradigm is a collection of principles with an overarching purpose. Paradigms aggregate principles by providing rules for their application. However, the principles must meet the Principle Effects criteria established in the previous chapter.

The architect of the paradigm was Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-1996).  He received his M.S. and PhD in physics from Harvard University. Kuhn developed a passion outside his box: he wrote extensively on the history, sociology and philosophy of science. Perhaps, his seminal contribution was his book entitled The Structure of Scientific Revolution (1962) in which he introduced the paradigm.

Kuhn’s key argument was targeted at the scientific community and relied on his premise that all scientific research, resulting in theory, is impacted by rules that are universally accepted. The rules may be written or unwritten and may be subjective. It is important to think of Kuhn’s concept of a paradigm in the context of the title of his book.

The books subject matter is focused on the aspects of scientific revolutions; major departures from the way people think and apply knowledge for solving problems plaguing mankind. Kuhn felt that scientists can never divorce their subjective perspective from their work; thus, our comprehension of science can never rely on full objectivity, we must account for subjective perspectives as well. It is the belief of this writer that the subjective aspect of the paradigm lead Kuhn to defining the paradigm in many different ways and rightfully so, an objective purview would have been rather straight forward.

A conceptual pattern for the abstract concept of subjectiveness would yield the following specification.

Subjectiveness can lead to a partiality, tendency or inclination that bears on our conscious and unconscious mental processes and activities. Mental processes and activities result in our perception, learning and reasoning, which are responsible for our thoughts and feelings. When we are subjective, thoughts and strong feelings begin to change in form and character for a particular purpose. Meaning becomes restricted and opinion is influenced in advance. The partiality may be directed at an object, person or concept that prevents objective consideration. Purposeful consideration may be prevented, in advance, without knowledge, thought or reason and may eliminate the opportunity for objective unprejudiced consideration.

Think about this…

When we don’t recognize the subjective nature of a concept we become prejudiced toward our own perspectives rather than accept any new idea. We can become quite critical.

In my next post – the nature of a paradigm in the context of subjectivity.

The ConPriDigm and the Hunter

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…a construct for linking patterns.

Why learn that a linked description “does its work not by invoking something beyond which might be described but by putting one fact or law into relation with others.” – Abraham Kaplan

I am a hunter.

The ConPriDigm and resultant theory rely on the existence of Domains. The Domain is the Belgian Congo, the Serengeti and the African Veldt to the hunter which, in turn, depend on the rains of knowledge.

The Domains of preference are redundantly described fields of knowledge related to quality as abstract concepts which cannot be defined.  Just a few examples would be: curriculum theory, waste, variation, control, value, knowledge, and thinking.

The species of interest during our hunt are well hidden due to effective camouflage. The target species is principle. The target is not easy to find because domain environments are burdened with the heat of philosophical approaches that prevent the birth of our species of interest.

I hunt for principles that are concept dense, void of conditional adjectives, set apart with transitive verbs, and enhanced with a correct modal verb, thrown in for clarity.

My vehicle for transport is the lexical definition. Its features are, denotative, and descriptive.

After I have located our principle, the plan of choice for separating it from the herd of ambiguity is Destructive Deduction and Constructive Induction.

My choice of weapon is the decomposed allied concept that is reconstructed to form conceptual patterns.

I aim for trophy principles that have inherited purpose because their genes stem from a sustainable paradigm with a function oriented body of rules.

The ConPriDigm is…

The content of knowledge systematically put together from separate parts in an ordered way.

A standardized example for handling, directing, governing or controlling actions based on a rule or body of rules of conduct.

A body of systematic techniques that result in the action of putting something relevant and of value into operation reached through valid deductive reasoning to achieve a purpose.

Carried out in an orderly, logical arrangement, usually in steps and according to a plan or operation when applied to a specific Knowledge Domain as a function done or the effect that it produces.

An expression of conduct and organizing principles of inquiry as a set of ideas, principles, agreements, or rules that provide the basis and simplified representation for a description of a complex process.

A systematic investigation or search that supports or provides more information on an opinion, theory, or principle.

A guide for a customary way of operation or behavior used in analyzing and solving problems or making predictions that provide the foundation from which something is begun, developed, or explained that makes something comprehensible.

Not founded on proof or certainty but discovers facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based the facts discovered that result in knowledge underlying a particular science or other area of study.

Context for a particular action resulting in a method of universal practice and a set of rules and regulations.

Next Category and set of Posts – Knowledge Domains that must be linked.

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Paradigms – Criticism and Subjectivity

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

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

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

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In the context of criticism and subjectiveness, of significance, is a white paper written by Margaret Masterman called The Nature of a Paradigm. Masterman (1910-1986), was a British linguist and philosopher, most known for her pioneering work in the field of computational linguistics and especially machine translation, referred to as artificial intelligence in some circles.

 I believe she confirmed my suspicions that a paradigm is subjective in nature by rather emphatically stating that he (Kuhn) makes paradigm-elucidation genuinely difficult for the superficial reader.  On her counting, Kuhn used “paradigm’ in not less than twenty-two different senses in his book in 1962. The twenty-two “different senses” were strong indications of paradigm subjectiveness. Kuhn knew and understood the subjective aspect of a paradigm.

Willis Harman (August 16, 1918 – January 30, 1997) an American engineer, social scientist, academic, futurist, writer, visionary and author of An Incomplete Guide to the Future (1970) had this perspective. He wrote; a paradigm is “the basic way of perceiving, thinking, valuing, and doing associated with a particular vision of reality. A dominant paradigm is seldom if ever stated explicitly; its exists as unquestioned, tacit understanding that is transmitted through culture and to succeeding generations through direct experience rather than being taught.” Is Harmon just saying in another way that we are dealing with a high level of subjectiveness? If we can’t state it explicitly then how do we even know it exists? How do we shift it?

Masterman called Kuhn’s book “scientifically perspicuous and philosophically obscure”. Masterman is highly critical of Kuhn but in spite of that criticism, she takes his concepts and expands them in a very didactic fashion. She sees a Kuhn paradigm as a set of scientific habits that form the basis for successful problem-solving which may be characteristically; intellectual, verbal, behavioral, mechanical, or technological.  In Masterman’s reality, any or all of the characteristics may apply depending on the type of problem which is being solved. I believe that Masterman identified what she would agree was indeed a paradigm. For her, a paradigm preceded theory.   For Kuhn, the current accepted theory, that has undergone unprecedented change, is the paradigm. Following are her thoughts taken directly from her white paper. She felt that Kuhn’s paradigm was sociological in nature as opposed to philosophical.

The only explicit definition of paradigm, in fact, which Kuhn ever gives, is   in terms of these habits, though he lumps them all under the name of concrete scientific achievement. “Normal science’, he says (p.10), means ‘research based upon one or more past scientific achievements that some particular community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice’.  These achievements are (i) ‘sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity’, and (ii) ‘sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to solve. Achievements that share these two characteristics I shall henceforward refer to as a paradigm’. Thus, by assigning the central place, in real science, to a concrete achievement rather than to an abstract theory, Kuhn, alone among philosophers of science puts himself in a position to dispel the worry which besets the working scientists confronted for the first time with professional philosophy of science, ‘How can I be using a theory which isn’t there?’

Masterman sees Kuhn’s sociological paradigm as prescient to theory because it is something concrete and observable: i.e. a set of habits. Kuhn as well as other theorists closely associated a paradigm with a theory.  For the purposes of this book and as the third component of a ConPriDigm™ the paradigm will indeed precede theory and…become theory.

Next post – another perspective from Joel Barker, a consultant, teacher and advertizing executive, his clients included IBM, Monsanto, General Mills and more.

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Acknowledgements: Willis Harman Margaret Masterman

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.

Paradigms – The Connection with Theory

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.

________________________________________________________________

Paradigms are often seen as different concepts to different people. Paul Davidson Reynolds wrote an exemplary book that was first published in 1971, A Primer in Theory Construction. His book was intended to be as an introduction to the way theories are constructed, stated, tested, and connected together to form a scientific body of knowledge.  Reynolds asserted that there is a natural order of things when considering ideas, paradigms, Kuhn Paradigms and theories. First in the series is the idea that the originator puts together utilizing abstract statements that are considered part of scientific knowledge. Once the “idea” is documented, according to the rules and regulations suggested by Barker, the “idea” moves on to the category of theory.

For Reynolds, the communication of the new theory and the paradigm happen at the same time. Theory first, well communicated among colleagues, may become one of two types of paradigms according to Reynolds. First is the Kuhn Paradigm. It includes a unique and unprecedented orientation toward the phenomena, a dramatic break with the past existing orientations, and also involves a major shift in research strategy. Kuhn referred to his paradigms as “scientific revolutions.” The second type of paradigm that Reynolds referred to was simply a paradigm. The paradigm represents a definite shift in orientation but is less than a scientific revolution. Please note that for either of these types of paradigms to exist there had to be one in existence in the first place. All theories are paradigms but not all theories are Kuhn Paradigms. A key to our understanding of the paradigm from Reynolds’s perspective is the purpose of a scientific knowledge. I should mention that I am in agreement with Barker in his belief that paradigms are wide spread and are not only applicable to the scientific arena, as perhaps Kuhn had. Reynolds provided us with his perspective on the purpose of a body of scientific knowledge.

The Purpose of Scientific Knowledge is to provide:

  • A method of organizing and categorizing “things,” a topology;
  • Predictions of future events;
  • Explanations of past events;
  • A sense of understanding about what causes events;
  • The potential for control of events.

If scientific knowledge is captured in individual theories or bundles of theories and if all theories are paradigms to some degree then perhaps, and only perhaps, the purpose of a paradigm is the purpose of scientific knowledge.

Next Post: An example…

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Acknowledgements: Paul Davidson Reynolds

Paradigms – An Example

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.

______________________________________________________________

We are constantly being influenced by paradigms. Our employers, our place of worship, our county supervisors are all guided by prevailing paradigms.  Our universities provide us with a number of excellent examples. I will use an example that is based on the concept of CURRICULUM. There will be an entire chapter dedicated to the concept/domain but using this example will help make the rather significant and rather vague amount of knowledge that’s available on the concept of a paradigm more palatable. Yes, a concept can also be a knowledge domain. Many universities offer PhD programs in curriculum development and instruction.

Curriculum is a very important concept in our universities. Just as there have been entire books written on concepts and paradigms, there are numerous volumes on the subject of the curriculum.  One book particularly noteworthy is Curriculum Theory, Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns (2008) by Michael Schiro. Schiro taught mathematics education and curriculum theory at Boston College for the last 30 plus years. He received his masters and PhD from Harvard University in curriculum instruction. Dr. Schiro does an excellent job of presenting curriculum theory utilizing concepts, principles and paradigms, although he is careful in his choice of words. On page one, paragraph one, he sets the stage.

For almost a hundred years, educators have been at war with each other over what the nature of the American school curriculum should be. Underlying this war are four visions of what the school curriculum should look like. These visions are based on four ideologies, or curriculum philosophies, that advocate very different methods of achieving those respective purposes. The four visions of schooling have both stimulated improvement in American schools and caused conflicts that have inhibited progress in the development of school curriculum.

The overarching domain is obviously tertiary education however, for this example we have identified the domain as Curriculum Theory. When Dr Schiro uses the concepts of vision, ideology, and philosophy he is, in reality, identifying paradigms within the educational system. We will identify one of the four for our example: The Scholar Academic Ideology, probably the most common in use today.  In the appendix of his book, Dr Schiro provides a Curriculum Ideologies Inventory in which he identifies the purpose for each ideology. The inventory also addresses the following concepts with associated precursory principles: Teaching, Learning, Knowledge, Childhood and Evaluation. He doesn’t identify them as principles; they are just a vehicle to complete the inventory, but they are precursory in nature.

Scholar Academic Ideology

Purpose ( First Principle): To provide a community where the accumulated knowledge of the culture is transmitted to the youth.

Concepts and Principles

TEACHING: Teachers should be knowledgeable people, transmitting that which is known to those who do not know it.

LEARNING: Learning best proceeds when the teacher clearly and accurately presents to the student that knowledge which the student is to acquire.

KNOWLEDGE: The knowledge of most worth is the structural knowledge and ways of thinking that have come to be valued by culture over time.

CHILDHOOD: Childhood is essentially a period of intellectual development highlighted by growing reasoning ability and capacity for memory that results in ever greater absorption of cultural knowledge.

EVALUATION: Evaluation should objectively determine the amount of knowledge students have acquired. It allows students to be ranked from those with the greatest intellectual gain to those with the least.

We have now clearly identified the Scholar Academic Ideology as a precursory paradigm. We have concepts, purpose and rules in the form of precursory principles.

Next Post: Please go to the narration tab.

PARADIGMS

Chapter 4 – Understanding Principles

In a matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle stand like a rock.  -Thomas Jefferson                                                                                                                                                                   

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

_______________________________________________________________

 

Principles tell us how to thoughtfully put concepts to work. By the end of this chapter we will learn what a principle is and what it is not. We will learn how to recognize one, how to write one, how to analyze one, and why they are so critically imperative for processing information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition is the process by which we recognize and understand things. Cognition is not viable without principles and allied concepts.   Let’s discover how a principle is typically labeled to garner a few conventional examples.

The most common labeling protocol for the word “principle” is connected with the preposition “of” and the allied key concept. For example: Principles of Composition, Principles of Physics, and Principles of Law. When the word ‘principle’ is associated in this way, by very wide-ranging concepts, it can make it very difficult to extract the principles from the text unless the author makes an attempt to specifically identify them for the reader.

A second widespread labeling format precedes the word ‘principle’ with a flashy adjective, for example, The 80/20 Principle or The Oz Principle; both examples are titles for books. A flashy combination of adjectives and a concept attracts the attention of potential readers.

A third way we label ‘principles’ is with a seemingly obtuse description that is not wide-ranging but very specific to a particular field of knowledge.  For example, in the field of Dendrochronology (the study of annual growth rings in trees) we have The Uniformitarian Principle and The Principle of Ecological Amplitude. Both of these principles target a specific outcome.

The final example for representing principles is through the use of a single word such as Responsibility or Consistency.  This is where we may get into trouble differentiating a concept from a principle because most writers proceed to define the concept and never approach a well thought-out principle.  This leaves the reader with the question, just what is the principle and how do I take action to put it to use?  Unfortunately, the lack of or the poorly stated principle leaves the reader possessing keen insight and understanding in the lurch. The problem stems from a philosophical approach that contributes to the intellectual bank but fails to provide utility. Utility is the quality or state of being useful.

How can we make principles useful?

Steven Covey will provide some insight in my next post.

 

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Principles – The Covey Perspective

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

_______________________________________________________________

Stephen Covey enlightens in his book, Principle Centered Leadership: “principles are not practices.” He went on to say: “practices are specific activities or actions that work in one circumstance but not necessarily in another. Principles empower everyone who understand those principles to act without constant monitoring, evaluating, correcting and controlling. Principles have universal application and when they are internalized into habits they guide people in the creation of practices that payoff with more creativity, expertise, and shared responsibility at all levels of an organization.” Covey gives us an account of what principles are like, how they are used, and how they apply.

  • Correct principles are like compasses: they are always pointing the way and if we know how to read them, we won’t get lost, confused, or fooled by conflicting voices and values.
  • Principles are self evident, self validating natural laws, they don’t change or shift, and they provide “true north” direction to our lives when navigating the streams of our environments.
  • Principles apply at all times in all places and they surface in the form of values, ideas, norms, and teachings that uplift, ennoble, fulfill, empower, and inspire people.
  • Principles, unlike values, are objective and external.  They operate in obedience to natural laws, regardless of conditions.

When we identify what we think is a principle and then ask: Is it like a compass? , Is it self-evident? , Does it apply at all times in all places? , Is it objective and external? , we may be locked into the realm of subjectivity, but they still apply. There may be a few more important questions.

  • How would we identify and extract principles from a book or white paper?
  • What are the essential elements or characteristics of a principle?
  • What’s the difference in a principle and a practice or just a statement?
  • Are principles action-oriented?
  • Do all principles always contain at least one concept?
  • Can a principle be used as a tool; can it be put to work?
  • How would we write one?

To help answer some of the above questions let’s take look at the 80/20 or Pareto Principle. According to Richard Koch, author of the 80/20 Principle: The secret to achieving more with less: The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort (20%) usually lead to a majority (80%) of the results, outputs or rewards. In this particular case, we don’t need to extract the principle because the entire book is about the key principle. Koch clearly identifies the principle for us.

In my next post  – the characteristics of a principle.

 

Principle Characteristics – Concepts and Conditional Adjectives

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

_______________________________________________________________

The 80/20 Principle (Koch): A minority of causes, inputs, or effort (20%) usually lead to a majority (80%) of the results, outputs or rewards.

The essential elements of the Pareto Principle are eight nouns (concepts) a transitive verb (lead) and a limiting or conditional adjective (usually). It also contains a few “connecting” elements to help it make sense in the English language. If this principle is an exemplar, then initially we can say that it is concept dense.  Lets’ call this the first characteristic:

The Concept Density Effect

The word “usually” in this principle is troubling. It creates a condition for the transitive verb. “Usually” means there is a confident belief or strong hope that a particular event will occur but there is no assurance the event will occur.  The original principle developed by the Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906 did not contain the adjective. In 1941 famous quality guru Joseph Juran discovered the work of Pareto and began to apply the Pareto principle to quality issues. In later years Juran preferred to refer to it as “the vital few and the trivial many” not “the vital few and the usually many”. Perhaps we have identified the second characteristic for separating a principle from a practice or a simple statement or idea:

The Conditional or Limiting Adjective Effect

 We covered meaning in Chapter One and concepts in Chapter Three.  The conclusions and processes presented, in those chapters, directly apply to our example principle if we are to understand the true meaning.  Employ one connotative definition for any of the concepts and the principle becomes something other than what the originator intended. Or maybe the originator failed to “define” the concepts contained within the principle. If this is the case then it will be wide open to interpretation.

Next post: The Transitive Verb Effect

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Principle Characteristics – The Third Effect

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

_______________________________________________________________

The third effect involves a transitive verb.

A transitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing a doable activity. Second, it must have a direct object, something or someone who receives the action of the verb. In our example principle the action verb (lead) expresses the doable activities of results, outputs or rewards. In this specific example the principle is expressed via a structured complex of concepts and a transitive verb. We can change the 80/20 Principle by removing the transitive verb (lead) and replace it with the transitive verb ‘impacts’. A minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually impacts the majority of results, outputs or rewards. A minority of causes leading to a majority of results is not the same as a minority of causes impacting the majority of results. The former shows the way, the latter is a collision of circumstances, an important differentiation in a principle and a simple statement. Let’s call this the Transitive Verb Effect. A transitive verb is necessary in a principle and the verb that we choose for our principles may be critical.

In my next post, let’s apply what we have learned about concept content, conditional adjectives and transitive verbs. Perhaps we will discover another effect.

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Principle Examples – Part One

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

_______________________________________________________________

Let’s apply what we have learned about concept content, conditional adjectives and transitive verbs.  In 2001 J. Scott Armstrong wrote an excellent forty-nine page whitepaper entitled Standards and Practices for Forecasting. The Abstract for his paper says it best. The subject is weather forecasting.

One hundred and thirty-nine principles are used to summarize knowledge about forecasting.  They cover formulating a problem, obtaining information about it, selecting and applying methods, evaluating methods, and using forecasts. Each principle is described along with its purpose, the conditions under which it is relevant, and the strength and sources of evidence.  A checklist of principles is provided to assist in auditing the forecasting process.  An audit can help one find ways to improve the forecasting process and to avoid legal liability for poor forecasting.

Armstrong asks the question, why do you need 139 principles?  His reply, “You will not need all of them in any one situation. Nearly all of the principles are conditional on the characteristics of the situation. It would be misleading to write a book on “The Five Principles Used by Successful Forecasters. They could never be appropriate for all the different situations that can arise.” The title of Armstrong’s paper includes the two concepts; standards and practices. He then digresses by labeling the standards and practices, “principles”.  For example, lets’ take a look at one of his “principles”.

“When prior RESEARCH shows that an AREA is unlikely to BENEFIT, avoid formal FORECASTS.”

Although this “principle” utilizes four concepts (Research, Area, Benefit and Forecasts) and two transitive verbs (Shows and Avoid) it also contains two conditional adjectives (Unlikely, and Formal). The adjective ‘prior’ is directly linked to the concept ‘research’.  If we apply what we have learned so far we can conclude that this “principle” is a PRACTICE.  If we remove the conditional adjectives we get: When prior research shows that an area will not benefit, avoid forecasts.  We now have a non-connotative principle.

 As you may recall from chapter three regarding concepts. A principles connotation is analogous to a noun’s connotation. A noun’s connotation is its implied meaning, such as the emotions or images the word evokes.  Connotations may be (1) private and personal, the result of individual experiences (2) group (national, linguistic, racial) or (3) general or universal, held by all or most men. The scientist and philosopher attempt to hold words to their denotative meaning; the literary artist or management guru rely on connotations to carry their deepest meanings.

Connotative principles include one or more conditional adjectives that introduce bias that may come from within-industry or within-domain sources. The bias is often the result of professional association philosophical practices.  Connotative principles are practices.  Armstrong believed that all of his principles were conditional on the characteristics of the situation.  Would this not make them practices?

More good examples in my next post…

Principle Examples – Part Two

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.

_______________________________________________________________

Moving on to another example, the next principle was gleaned from the stunning website of the Department of Geography at the University of Tennessee.  The site is presented by Dr. Henri D. Grissino-Mayer and is entitled The Ultimate Tree Ring Web Pages. If you select principles from the side bar on the left hand side of the home page you are taken to Principles of Dendrochronology. Following is the introductory paragraph.    (http://web.utk.edu/~grissino/principles.htm#4)

As with any science, dendrochronology is governed by a set of principles or “scientific rules.” These principles have their roots as far back as 1785 (the Principle of Uniformitarianism) and as recent as 1987 (the Principle of Aggregate Tree Growth). Some are specific to dendrochronology while others, like the Principle of Replication, are basic to many disciplines. All tree-ring research must adhere to these principles, or else the research could be flawed. However, before one can understand the principles, one needs to know basic definitions of terms used in tree-ring research.

Let’s proceed to the analysis of a couple of the principles presented on this web site.  The site stresses that all researchers must adhere to these principles, or else research could be flawed. The need for guiding principles is evident with universal application.

The Uniformitarian Principle

Physical and biological processes that link current environmental processes with current patterns of tree growth must have been in operation in the past.

Analysis:  The principle is concept dense with seven concepts. There is one transitive verb (have) with the modal verb (must). A modal verb indicates that something is compelled to do something because of a rule or law. There are no conditional adjectives associated with the transitive verb. The adjective “current” is directly linked to the concepts, ‘patterns and processes’. Our analysis supports the conclusion that this is indeed a principle. It clearly demonstrates the three effects; Concept Density, Conditional Adjective and Transitive Verb. Modal verbs help strengthen a principle.  We will call this:

The Modal Verb Effect

The Principle of Limiting Factors

Rates of plant processes are constrained by the primary environmental variable that is most limiting.

Analysis: The principle is concept dense with three concepts.  There is one transitive verb (rates) and no conditional or limiting adjectives. The word “rate” is also a concept so the principle actually contains four concepts.  All adjectives are directly linked to the associated concepts. No modal verbs. Conclusion: confirmed principle.

Next post: A summary of the Principle Effects

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Acknowledgements: Henri D. Grissino-Mayer