A Farewell to the Beginning

LOGO FINALManagers are very busy people. Their days are filled with action. They must execute to survive. Managers make decisions that must be communicated in a clear and concise manner.

Good management decisions stem from an effective knowledge base.

For the typical manager, knowledge is developed by doing the job.  If they have the time, they attend seminars, conferences and read. This book targets the manager who likes to read and improve his or her ability to connect concepts, heard frequently as “buss words”, with the associated principles and paradigms that guide their daily struggle. Busy managers do not have the time to read, assimilate and comprehend all the classics, much less, execute what they have learned.  As a writer, and a member of management for more than four decades, I am going to do the reading for the busy manager that simply does not have the time. I will communicate the knowledge in a quasi academic and theoretical style. If the word “quasi” bothers you, let me define it.

Quasi is defined in the Encarta Dictionary as resembling something, in some ways, but not the same. Academics love paraphrasing the works of other academics. I do too. But, I do not trust paraphrasing because something always gets lost in the translation and may be taken so far out of context that the process becomes unreal. If you don’t believe me, look up some of the citations in one of you favorite books and read it in the context of the originating author. You just may be as surprised as I was, most of the time.

My style is quasi because I rarely paraphrase and when I do, the sentence structure of the original author remains intact. A theoretical style simply means that I will be focusing on “What does it mean”, “Why is it important” and “How to understand it” while utilizing concepts, principles and paradigms as a structure for explanation.

I study everything from the perspective of someone that has been in the trenches doing the work, implementing change and executing the vision of the employer. I will be connecting quality with the relevant knowledge of the great minds of the 20th and 21st centuries that typify quality like Deming and Shewhart and some that don’t, i.e. Kuhn, Bono, Kaplan and Boyd.

My intention is not to impose “how” to do anything. In my experience, at the director level, it is best to leave the “how” up to the manager’s discretion. However, the manager must be given the tools to develop their own universal principles and must accept the expected outcome.

My book is about Quality. Not its practice but its conceptual basis and content. It is about what Quality IS and how it’s DNA and meaning can be exposed. I use the term “DNA” because quality is complex and the term “exposed” because I do not believe quality has been linked to every manager in organizations that make decisions directly affecting quality. The term “meaning” does not translate directly to a definition. To make quality meaningful it must be explained in the context of a complex entity that cannot be defined.

I sincerely hope my traditionally published book will be of interest.  Some would say that I have given much of my book away in this blog, which is true, but there is a lot more where that came from. I intentionally left out most of Part Two that provides the details of the Pattern Engine and the ConPriDigm. Chapter Thirty is also absent. I will continue to monitor and occasionally edit and/or add information to this blog because it is a work of fidelity…fidelity to the complex concept of Quality. The objective: make Quality so meaningful that the quality function is no longer needed at the organizational level, every decision, by every manager, is based on what Deming called profound knowledge but I call profound understanding.

I leave you with two of my favorite quotes that are part of this blogged book. Google the authors, they are two very interesting people.

Seek simplicity — and having found it, suspect it.    James Conant

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


Please support my traditionally published work…Thank You!


March 27, 2014

Patrick Lou Kelly, MSQA

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Chapter Twenty: Algorithms – Effective and Efficient Use of Metrics and Indicators

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…an effective procedure for creating information from data.

Why is an algorithm a logical sequence of steps for solving a problem or carrying out a procedure and may contain embedded experience, expertise and knowledge?


Conceptual Pattern for Algorithm

An algorithm is a procedure that details a sequence of rules or sets of rules performed to solve a problem. It is a serial arranged method to resolve a state of difficulty or puzzle. An algorithm addresses things, actions, or events arranged or happening in a specific order or linear arrangement having a specific connection as a recurrent pattern of actions intended to achieve a result. An algorithm is a fixed step-by-step sequence of activities that must be followed in the same order to correctly perform a task raised as a question for consideration or solution.(Pattern Engine – Algorithm N=12 © 2014)

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

First Principle:  The purpose of an algorithm is the effective and efficient transformation of data.

Second Principle: An algorithm is a finite effective procedure, written in a fixed symbolic vocabulary, governed by precise instructions, moving in discrete steps and sooner or later comes to an end. 1

Third Principle: The actions carried out by an algorithm must be rigorously specified for each case. 2

Fourth Principle: An algorithm must arrive at a problem solution after a finite number of steps. 2

Fifth Principle: Inputs may be defined as quantities which are given to the algorithm initially, before it its executed, and the outputs as quantities which     have a specified relation to the inputs and which are delivered at the completion of its execution. 2

Sixth Principle: An algorithm has five basic properties: boundedness, it stops; correctness, it finds the right answer to a problem; predictability, it always does the same thing if given the same input; finiteness, it can be described in a finite number of steps; definiteness, each step has a well defined meaning. 3

Key Conceptual Patterns


A problem is a state of difficulty or puzzle raised as a question for consideration or solution. It is a condition of something difficult to resolve requiring a correct answer. A problem is something requiring a solution but is difficult or impossible to resolve without successful action in respect to its main attributes.(Pattern Engine – Problem N=12 © 2014)


A solution is a method that results in successfully dealing with difficulty and solves a problem or explains how to solve a problem or provides the answer to a puzzle or question. It is a way of doing something with requested information regarding a state of difficulty. A solution is a body of systematic techniques used by a particular scientific discipline according to a plan that is made to reply to a question or request or criticism or accusation and perceived as a gap between the existing state and a desired state raised for consideration.(Pattern Engine – Solution N=12 © 2014)

Next Post: Homeostasis – Achieving equilibrium with cybernetics.

Davis Berlinski: The Advent of the Algorithm, 2000.

2. Lydia Kronsjo: Algorithms: Their Complexity and Efficiency, 1987

3.  Gregory Rawlins: Compared to What; An Introduction to the Analysis of Algorithms, 1992.

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Chapter Nineteen: Capability – The Indicator of Quality Performance or Not

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…conformance to requirements, but is not free.

Why is poor process capability equivalent to Russian roulette when it comes to customer satisfaction?



Conceptual Pattern for Capability

Capability is the total range of inherent variations in a stable process that is susceptible to a particular treatment expressed as potential ability. It is a sustained phenomenon resulting in an action to do something well. Capability is a series of actions directed toward a specific aim intended to achieve a result manifested in an effective way when measured against a standard that favors steady progress and typical behavior while accomplishing a task well with a particular amount of success and results in a particular way something is handled or managed. (Pattern Engine – Capability N=12 © 2014)

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

First Principle: The purpose of process capability is to demonstrate compliance with customer needs.

Second Principle: If a process is predictable and stable then its capability will be predictable. 1

Third Principle: Once the location of a process output has been described and the dispersion of the process output has been measured it is possible to make useful         comparisons between the Voice of the Process and the Voice of the Customer. 1

Fourth Principle: Capability can be expressed in ratios that compare the Voice of the Process with the Voice of the Customer or they can be simply expressed as the percent of the product that is exceeding specification limits.1

Fifth Principle: A measurable process characteristic is considered capable if one-  hundred percent of the data values fall within the specification limits.1

Sixth Principle: A simple estimate of the fraction of nonconforming product for a stable process can be obtained from a histogram of the measurements by dividing the number of nonconforming measurements by the total number of measurements in the histogram. 1  

Key Conceptual Patterns


A customer is current or potential buyer or user or of goods or services in a particular way from an individual or organization. A customer is a business organization that has authority to consume or employs a good or service that is founded to produce articles of commerce. A customer is a number of persons united or incorporated for joint action and a specific purpose to obtain a benefit or to solve a problem that may not be the actual purchaser of items that are used for later consumption. (Pattern Engine – Customer N=12 © 2014)


A detailed description of design criteria providing an exact measurement or detailed plan needed to make, build, or produce something. It is a detailed written statement regarding a standard point of reference. A specification represents something in words regarding certain or salient aspects, characteristics, or features of a subject matter or something seen, heard, or otherwise experienced or known. It is used in making a decision or judgment against which others can be evaluated against and intended future course of action aimed at a method for achieving specific objectives within a timeframe.(Pattern Engine – Specification N=12 © 2014)

Next Post: Algorithms: Effective and efficient use of metrics and indicators.

1 Donald Wheeler, Advanced Topics in Statistical Process Control, 1995

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Chapter Nine – Knowledge – The Prerequisite for Achieving Quality

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…knowledge for modifying behaviors and events.

Why learn that knowledge is the ability to analyze, generate a solution, select and plan the solution, and then subject the solution to implementation and evaluation?     


Conceptual Pattern for Knowledge

Knowledge is the psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning that germinates from the combination of data, information and experience.  Knowledge is dependent upon individual interpretation resulting in awareness or understanding of a circumstance or fact. It is gained through iterative association. Knowledge results from the process of mentally interpreting relational information coming from the senses. It is the ability to explain the meaning of something and thus increases the capacity for rational thought and comprehension while combining or connecting thoughts, ideas, or feelings. (Pattern Engine – Knowledge N=12 © 2013)

If Knowledge is understood then the meaning of quality will follow.

First Principle: The purpose of knowledge is to provide the raw material for effective and efficient execution.

Second Principle: Knowledge is recognizing attributes within good prototypes, discriminating what attributes have importance, having the ability to measure the      attributes, the ability to control the attributes, recognizing and discriminating between processes,   controlling processes, and understanding associated procedures.[1]

Third Principle:  Knowledge is the ability to identify and select a problem, subject the problem to analysis, generate a potential solution, select and plan the solution,      subject the solution to implementation and evaluation.[2]

Fourth Principle: Converting data into information requires knowledge.[3]

Fifth Principle: Knowledge base redundancy within organizations improves cognition by providing a common ground and facilitates the transfer of knowledge that         is understood.[4]

Sixth Principle: Knowledge is not an abstract concept divorced from the world of business; it is a tangible corporate asset; you can manufacture it, own it, buy and sell it, build it into machines that make profits: It is the real stuff that has value.[5]

Key Concept  Patterns


An attribute is a characteristic, construct or abstraction belonging to a thing distinguishing it from other things. It is an abstract or general idea leading to a distinguishing feature or a formation of concepts. An attribute is a characteristic of an entity measured under closely specified conditions and usually divided into three categories: (1) physical, (2) functional, and (3) operational. It is systematically put together and derived from thought. An attribute is related to concrete examples, realities, specific objects or actual instances. (Pattern Engine – Attribute N=12  © 2014)


A prototype is a standard or typical example which has essential features and is the model for subsequent forms representing or constituting an original type after which other similar things are patterned. It is a normative example that hypothetically describes something that is representative. A prototype is a complex entity or process that is used as a standard or example. It is one of a number of things, or a part of something, taken to show the character of the whole of a complex entity or process and used for imitation or comparison that is a regular or repetitive form, order, or arrangement considered worthy of imitation. (Pattern Engine – Prototype N=12  © 2014)


[table id=6 /]

[1]  David A. Garvin, Building a Learning Organization, Harvard Business Review, 1988.

[2]  David A. Garvin, Building a Learning Organization, Harvard Business Review, 1988.

[3]  Peter Drucker, The Coming of the New Organization, Harvard Business Review, 1988.

[4]  Ikujiro Nonaka, The Knowledge Creating Company, Harvard Business Review, 1991.

[5] Alan N. Fish, Knowledge Automation, How to Implement Decision Management in Business Processes, 2012.

Remember— we are building a theory about the meaning of QUALITY.

Next Post – Chapter Ten: Thinking – Creating Meaning and Finding Patterns


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Chapter Ten: Thinking – Creating Meaning and Finding Patterns

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS… thinking that creates meaningful patterns.

Why think with the objective of forming a pattern and utilize data, facts and experiences to make inferences and judgments based on concepts and theories to answer a question or solve a problem?


Conceptual Pattern for Thinking

Thinking is the process of using the mind to reason rationally. Thinking is a sequenced process using logic to draw conclusions based on a premise or known facts that generate thoughts, feelings, ideas, and perceptions. Thinking stores knowledge and memories to promote understanding and offer directions. Thinking generates a result and draws conclusions from interdependent and linked activities that are directed toward a specific action. (Pattern Engine – Thinking N=12 © 2013)

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

First Principle:  The purpose of thinking is to collect information and to make the best use of it.[1]

Second Principle: Because of the way the mind works to create fixed concept patterns we cannot make the best use of new information unless we have some means of restructuring the old patterns and bring them up-to-date.[2]

Third Principle:  We think for a purpose, within a point-of-view, based on assumptions, leading to implications and consequences.[3]

Fourth Principle: Whenever we think; we use data, facts and experiences to make inferences and judgments based on concepts and theories to answer a question or solve a problem.[4]

Fifth Principle: Intellectual standards that must be considered for thinking are: clarity, relevance, logicalness, accuracy, depth, significance, precision, breadth, and fairness.[5]

Sixth Principle: The key to thinking creatively and intelligently is to connect two or more ideas, relate seemingly different ideas to things, explore the commonalities, subject the ideas, things and connections to analysis, discover or invent something new based the analysis, connections  and explorations, apply the discovery or invention to new contexts.[6]

Key Concept Patterns


Information is a collection facts and data acquired through study, experience and instruction that culminates with knowledge. It is accumulated knowledge that results in awareness and possession of verified data. Information results from active involvement in an activity from learning and instruction or exposure to events or people over a period of time. Information leads to an increase in knowledge or skill that germinates from a combination of data, facts, ideas, truths, principles, experience and individual interpretation that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened. (Pattern Engine, – Information N=12 © 2013)


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)


[table id=7 /]

[1] Edward de Bono, Lateral Thinking, 1970

[2] Edward de Bono, Lateral Thinking, 1970

[3] Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder,  Critical Thinking, 2002

[4] Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder,  Critical Thinking, 2002

[5] Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder,  Critical Thinking, 2002

[6] Todd Siler, Thinking Like a Genius, 1996

Remember – We are building a theory about the meaning of quality

Next Post – Chapter Eleven: Curriculum – Shared Paradigms

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Chapter Twelve: Metrics – The Handle on the Door to World Class Quality

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…a metric for an ideal state

Why learn that the metrics of an ideal state are closely related to variation, targets, performance and control?



Conceptual Pattern for Metric

A metric is a standard system of related measurement statistics by which efficiency, performance, progress, or quality of a plan, process, or product can be assessed and quantified. A metric is an assigned piece of information based on a system of measurement. Metrics are numerical representations of any measurable characteristic of some subjective aspect (attribute, property) according to a rule or arbitrary scale, e.g. a mean or standard deviation, used to describe a sample or population made meaningful by quantifying into specific units. (Pattern Engine – Metric  N=12 © 2014)

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

First Principle: The purpose of a metric is to provide measurements for the management, monitoring and improvement of activities and processes.

Second Principle: A measured value from an activity or process can be considered to be in an ideal state only by satisfying four conditions: inherent stability over time, the process is operated with the goal of consistency and stability, the process average (target) is set at the proper level, the natural process spread must be less than the specified tolerance for the measurement characteristic value.1

Third Principle: A measurement value that is in the ideal state is predictable and is producing one-hundred percent conforming product. 1

Fourth Principle: Conformity will be a consequence of natural process limits which fall within specification limits.1

Fifth Principle: Metrics need to have targets based on research.2

Sixth Principle Multiple metrics can be combined into several overall indices of    performance.2

 Key Conceptual Patterns


An ideal is an example and model of standardized excellence. It is a representative member or example offered as a basis for comparison. An ideal is a typical version of a concept, phenomenon, relationship, structure, system, or an aspect of the real world that deserves to be imitated as a pattern. It is typical by virtue of having features of the thing it represents and is universally or widely accepted, agreed upon, or established means of determining what something should be and is accepted as the norm or by which actual attainments are judged. (Pattern Engine – Ideal N=12 © 2014)


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

Nest Post: – Indicators – Harbingers of needed change.

  1. Donald Wheeler, Advanced Topics in Statistical Process Control, 1995
  2. Mark Graham Brown, Keeping Score, 1996
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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 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 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 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 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)


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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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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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.


 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.

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.


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

Principle Questions — Answered

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

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


Returning to the questions proposed earlier in this chapter…

How would we identify and extract principles from a book or white paper? 

Identifying concepts is rather straight forward; we just look for the nouns. Identifying principles is another matter.  We need to be trained to hunt for principles.  Hunting is not always successful; a minimum requirement is the existence of that which is hunted.  Using the criteria presented in this chapter can help but the job of presenting knowledge in the form of a principle is the responsibility of the individual espousing to communicate that knowledge. I am striving to do just that in this book. Well written principles are the essence of knowledge linked to a particular domain and its concepts.

When we fail to clearly identify principles we create a void of poor comprehension that will not lead to action.

What are the essential elements or characteristics of a principle?

The key elements are: Concepts relevant to the field of knowledge being addressed; Transitive verbs that focus the concepts on a doable activity associated with a direct object; The absence of limiting or conditional adjectives as modifiers to the transitive verb; The absence of modal verbs (exception: must).  And finally, a principle and associated domain without purpose is very difficult to execute with meaning.

What’s the difference in a principle and a practice or just a statement?

The condition of having the essential elements or characteristics is what separates the principle from a practice or statement. Intrinsically the principle applies universally and a practice only applies under certain conditions.

Are principles action-oriented?

By virtue of a transitive verb a principle is inherently action oriented.

Do all principles always contain at least one concept? 

A principle without concepts is a simple statement of practice. Concept density is a requirement; high density translates to powerful principles.

Can a principle be used as a tool; can it be put to work?

The correct application of principles is the foundation of execution.

How would we write one? 

There are essentially six steps.

  1. Associate a domain of interest.
  2. Identify the purpose of the domain.
  3. Identify all key concept nouns that are associated with the domain.
  4. Connect the concepts with transitive verbs in a coherent way.
  5. Utilize the modal word – must – if appropriate.
  6. Avoid conditional or limiting adjectives.

A simple example…

Domain: Survival

Sub Domain: Surviving on the Road in Cold Environmental Conditions

Sub Domain Purpose: Avoiding frostbite on the road.


Our PrincipleGLOVES must be worn while changing a flat TIRE during a SNOW STORM to avoid FROST-BITE.

Acquiring knowledge is not possible without principles and associated allied concepts. A poorly stated principle leaves the reader possessing keen insight and perception unbalanced.  The Principle Effects outlined in the chapter arm the reader with the tools to hunt for, identify and write principles. Finally, a principle and associated domain without purpose is very difficult to execute with meaning.

The next chapter on paradigms is the third component of a construct that I have labeled the ConPriDigm TM which is also the domain name for this blogged book. The reader will learn that principles and paradigms are closely associated. In fact, the example presented in this chapter regarding tree-ring research is an example of a paradigm. Dr. Grissino-Mayer gives us a hint: “As with any science, tree-ring research is governed by a set of principles or “scientific rules” that must be adhered to or else all research could be flawed.” Paradigms can paralyze an organization or they can shift with new scientific discoveries and/or knowledge.  They are a critical component of the ConPriDigm TM (Concepts, Principles, and Paradigms).

Please enjoy the concept map for principles.


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