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

ATTRIBUTE

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)

PROTOTYPE

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)

THE FOLLOWING  CONCEPTS WILL BE EXPANDED TO CONCEPTUAL PATTERNS IN THE BOOK.

[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

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)

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)

THE FOLLOWING CONCEPTS WILL BE EXPANDED TO CONEPTUAL PATTERNS IN THE BOOK.

[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 Thirteen: Indicators – Harbingers of Needed Change—or Not

ConPriDigm AvatarQuality IS…an indicator of needed change.

Why learn that indicators are simple algorithms that combine and then process metrics that may not be related but when used together provide a switch for needed change.

 

Conceptual Pattern for Indicator

An indicator is a measurable variable and signal for attracting attention to something observed or calculated and shows the presence or state of a condition,  trend, or representation of an associated (but non-measured or non-measurable) factor or quantity. It is a message based on an assumption or provision that is an incitement to action. An indicator encodes an agreed upon message that is understood as the occasion for concerted action. A indicator rests upon the validity or effect for something else to happen and is a statement or declaration setting forth particulars or facts regarding something real or alleged, especially one meant to induce a response and expressed by a term, character, or symbol. (Pattern Engine – Indicator N=12 © 2014)

If indicators are understood then the meaning of quality will follow.

First Principle: The purpose of an indicator is to provide the basis for change.

Second Principle: The mean, median and mode are indicators of central tendency and must approximate the target for measured process characteristics.

Third Principle: Variance and standard deviation values are indicators of spread or dispersion in data about the central tendency.

Fourth Principle: Standard error is an indicator of the average deviation between a measurement and the average of many repeated measurements of the same thing. 1

Fifth Principle: Test-Retest Error is an indicator of variation that exists in duplicate measurements of any specific indicator. 1

Sixth Principle: The Discrimination Ratio is an indicator that quantifies the relative usefulness of a measurement process for a specific characteristic and may be used to establish priorities with regard to improvement efforts. 1

Key Conceptual Patterns

CHANGE

A change is a process and event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another and by which things become different by varying from a routine or pattern. Change is the occurrence of a difference in a sustained phenomenon. Change is a series of actions directed toward a specific aim intended to achieve a result. that happens due to a special set of circumstances and is particularly significant between two or more things that depart from expectations and vary from a norm or standard. (Pattern Engine – Change N=12 © 2014)     

CHARACTERISTIC

A characteristic is any measurable property or feature that helps to distinguish an item, person, phenomenon, etc., usually divided into three categories: (1) physical, (2) functional, and (3) operational. A characteristic is an abstract measurable construct belonging to an entity a, group or set of things. A characteristic is peculiar to a whole class whereby objects or individuals can be distinguished, set apart from similar items or offered as a special attraction that share common attributes marking divisions or coordination’s in a conceptual scheme. (Pattern Engine – Characteristic N=12 © 2014)

Next Post – Variation – A Blessing or a Curse

1 Donald J. Wheeler and Richard W. Lyday, EMP, Evaluating the Measurement Process, 1989

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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 – 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.

 ______________________________________________________________________________________

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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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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Along the Path Narration

November 19, 2013  

As this point in my blog you are probably thinking that the chapter on theory was a little too intense.  Perhaps, too much information in just a few short posts. But, if you stick with me I can assure you that everything will come together and you will be well on your way to understanding the DNA and Meaning of Quality.  The chapter on theory lays the ground rules for all following chapters. I am reminded of a quote by James Conant, former president and organic chemistry professor of Harvard University, “Seek simplicity – and, having found it, suspect it.”  My entire career was driven by the concept of – Keep it Simple Stupid or the KISS principle. We might suspect that Conant would have a problem with the KISS principle. When I started this adventure I sought simplicity and was disappointed. When we make things simple we avoid meaning, or at least we convey meaning in a very narrow sense. Perhaps we might say “narrow minded”. We can force our minds to become “broad minded” by accepting the fact that everything is connected and when we accept and realize the truth of this revelation.  But, we need a model for realizing what, how and why things are connected – THEORY IS THAT MODEL – and provides a path to meaning.  From time to time please go back and review Chapter One and Two. Assimilate them, and you will understand why my book is structured to broaden your understanding of quality. Your understanding will be so intense that quality will be considered in all of your decisions…because you will know how to do it. But, you can’t do it if you don’t grasp its meaning and follow a path that will get you to the destination. The next three chapters will cover Concepts, Principles, and Paradigms…doesn’t this just make sense?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

December 10, 2013

If Quality is a complex concept and an organization becomes more complex as it adds products, suppliers, ingredients, customers and staff then quality must be integrated into the thoughts and minds of everyone.  Quality can no longer be a separate function or a project seeking the reduction of loosely defined defects, or the streamlining of processes to eliminate waste.  Quality must be paramount in every decision that is made. Not the Quality of old or the quality of the present but the quality of where it must be. Quality must be meaningful.

Up to this point we have labored over the meaning of meaning and the critical importance of addressing the “How?”, “What?” and the “Why?” or theory. We just covered how important it is to explain and describe concepts. We are moving along the path to exposing the DNA and meaning of Quality. Along the way we will expose the chromosomes, the DNA, the genes and the resulting proteins that make up the complexity of Quality.

I have answered the following questions:

  • Why should we seek meaning in conceptual fields of knowledge and those allied concepts, principles and paradigms that describe and control them and then connect them with a theory?
  • Why should we seek criteria that will lead to a coherent quality theory with explanatory power?
  • Why should we identify the mental glue that secures our past experiences?

We have a long journey ahead of us. In the next three chapters, on our path to meaning, I will answer the following questions:

  • Why should we establish concept to concept relationships?
  • Why should we aggregate concepts and principles by providing rules for their application?
  • Why should we explore the notions of applied imagination, suggested by Alex Osborn, and Destruction and Creation by John Boyd?

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January 8, 2014 – from Paradigms

How can we understand and comprehend anything without first understanding what meaning  – means? Meaning cannot exist without patterns of thought that are built on a foundation of associated knowledge, principles, concepts and paradigms. Meaning is best comprehended in rich descriptions that I call conceptual patterns. There are several examples of conceptual patterns in the Pattern Dictionary. Conceptual patterns must be linked; they cannot stand on their own.  Conceptual patterns link fields of knowledge with associated principles; principles with associated concepts; and the paradigms that provide purposeful rules for their application A theory bundles everything up in a neat package.

The book will provide the methodology for developing and linking conceptual patterns. If you have the experience associated with an abstract concept, the book will provide you with a model for writing your own book. Simply follow the model and expose the DNA.

The journey to the meaning of quality involves exposing its DNA and requires the following steps.

Step One: Recognize the knowledge domains that encapsulate it. Up to this point we have recognized the following foundational domains; Meaning, Theory, Concepts, Principles, and Paradigms.  The table of contents outlines the remaining domains that we must dissect.

Step Two: Distinguish each domain of knowledge with a purpose. The purpose of any field of knowledge is always first principle. Let us get started but expand later on.

Meaning: The purpose of meaning is the explication of worth, importance, or usefulness to meet needs and wants for achieving an anticipated outcome.

Theory: The purpose of theory is to guide explanation, behavior and comprehension of phenomena and answer the questions, What, Why, and How.

Concepts: The purpose of a concept is to form classifications and implicitly express the theories through which we comprehend and interpret what we see, taste, hear, smell and touch.

Principles: The purpose of a principle is to connect concepts in a logical way that will lead to action.

Paradigms: The purpose of a paradigm is to aggregate; fields of knowledge, the associated principles and concepts that provide purposeful rules for execution.

 Step Three: Express each domain of knowledge in principles. In Part Three we will cover the specific knowledge domains that relate to the meaning of quality. I will identify six principles in each domain that will expose meaning resulting in the development of conceptual patterns of explanation. First principle is always purpose.

Step Four: Categorize and link the concepts captured by principle in a way that is consistent. In Part Two, I will introduce: the legacy of Alex Osborn and John Boyd; my inspiration for this book; the Pattern Engine for developing conceptual patterns; and the ConPriDigm. Part two will be presented only in summary form in this blog.

Step Five: Forecast the implications as conceptual patterns and clarify everything in a theory that addresses, How, What, and Why. The final chapter of the book will document a general theory of quality that will be constructed from all that precedes. The final chapter will not be included in this Blog. The purpose of this blog is to develop interest in the book while giving back at the same time.

My next post will be presented in a summary format for Part Two – Synthesis.

October 9, 2014

  • Who is Todd Siler?
  • Todd was the first visual artist to receive a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Psychology and Art from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of his books, Breaking the Mind Barrier, was nominated for an award in education for “a work of outstanding educational achievement with potential for worldwide impact”.
  • Dr. Siler introduced the concept of Metaphorming in his book, Thinking Like a Genius.  People that will be using the published version of this blogged book will be Metaphorming. See if you can connect what Dr. Siler describes as Metaphormng to many of the concepts presented in this blog…and I quote.

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  • The term “metaphorming” is derived from the Greek words meta (transcending) and phora (transference).  It refers to the act of changing something from one state of matter and meaning to another.  It begins with transferring new meanings and associations from one object or idea to another.
  • You use metaphorming to foster creativity, to discover and invent something new, to connect things that seem unrelated, to solve a problem and depict solutions, to entertain an original idea or question it, to enrich the experience of learning and enhance communication.
  • Metaphorming is something you have to do to understand.
  • Anything that you connect or compare with something else is a metaphorm. The things you bring together are expanded in meaning by this connection, because you learn something new about them.
  • It is a process of inquiry – one with infinite possibilities for discovery and invention.

Contrast some of Silers thoughts with those of Abraham Kaplan…..Quality IS

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Why this Book?

ConPriDigm AvatarThe concept of Quality is integrated into the very fabric of our lives — it is rarely recognized until it’s absence is felt.

For example: We recently leased a car from an organization with an exceptional quality reputation. On the day we picked up the car, the general manager decided to move his financial staff into sales positions and vice versa. No training was involved; it was strictly “on the job training.”  The end result was a financial package that was rejected by the bank and had to be re-written and signed by us three times. For this branch of the organization, quality was not integrated as a conscious thought pattern.  Quality IS knowledge; they failed to comprehend the conceptual pattern and connection. Quality IS also many other things, check out the CONTENTS tab on the menu.

Quality has been defined by some, practiced by most, however; its meaning has eluded all but a few.  According to Ann Lamott “We write to expose the unexposed.  If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must.”  That door, for me, is meaning, and quality is the castle — I propose providing a key for opening the door and conducting an inquiry for management in all functions. The meaning of quality has escaped notice due to the noise and confusion of multiple definitions and practices that are purported to be the harbingers of organization sustainability. This book is written for the 15,250,000 men and women that were reported to be employed in management occupations in 2011 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and for anyone seeking the meaning of quality.

This will be an important book for my community because it will provide the seeds for developing principles that drive unbiased practices. I am not talking about the community of quality assurance or quality control leaders; I am talking about all management in all functions. For example…

  • The purchasing manager that changes a supplier for a part that meets specifications but is so highly variable that it shuts the line down.
  • The human resource manager that decides to base an important change in policy on an unrepresentative sample of employees.
  • The operation manager that ships a product to a new customer, who samples all incoming product using statistical methods, and questions why the shipment is rejected.
  • The engineering manager that uses data from random samples drawn by the quality assurance department to design a new line and then discovers that the line won’t produce product in specification.

These are all problems associated with just one field of knowledge that can be prevented with a few simple conceptual patterns that will drive principles not needing practices. Unbiased practices are principles.

Abraham Kaplan in his book, The Conduct of Inquiry, captured the essence of why we need to create conceptual patterns and express them in theory.

“When we are told the color of a substance we have learned little, but when we are told its chemical composition we have learned a very great deal—all the known reactions that depend on that composition. There is chemistry, as it were, for all things,  and our scientific conceptualizations aim at identifying the elements and compounds of this chemistry. We are caught up in a paradox, one which might be called the paradox of conceptualization.  The proper concepts are needed to formulate a good theory, but we need a good theory to arrive at the proper concepts.”

The color of a substance is a concept and a pattern is a composition. We can identify the proper concepts by creating patterns. Patterns contain the elements and compounds of quality theory. The chemistry, DNA, and the subsequent theory of quality presented on these pages can be used to avoid keeping quality open to interpretation by anyone, at anytime, for any purpose. To reveal meaning, managers, in all functions, need to understand that…

Patrick Lou Kelly, MSQA

 

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Chapter One – Exposing Meaning

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a pattern of allied concepts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meaning from the Professor, the Journalist and the Producer

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a pattern of allied concepts.

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

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Writing my master’s thesis helped me discover that quality has many definitions. Unfortunately, with little consensus among leading authorities regarding its definition, meaning has eluded many professionals in all functions. Confusion about the meaning of quality is the legacy of management.

In the fall of 1984, David A. Garvin, professor of Business Administration at Harvard University, published an article in the Sloan Management Review (a product of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The title of the article is “What Does ’Product Quality’ Really Mean?” His conclusions offer a glimpse of quality that is still relevant today. “Quality is a complex and multifaceted concept. It is also a source of great confusion: managers—particularly those in different functions—frequently fail to communicate precisely what they mean by the term. The result is often endless debate, and inability to show real progress on the quality front.”

Others have also tackled the meaning of quality.

Lloyd Dobyns, an award winning journalist, and Clare Crawford-Mason, a senior producer at NBC, collaborated with Dr. W. Edwards Deming on the best-selling twenty-volume Deming Video Library. Following up in 1991, they wrote Quality or Else, and in 1994, Thinking About Quality.

Dobyns and Crawford-Mason have outlined the contributions of the most successful and prescient authorities on the subject of quality. Two of their observations got my attention. In Quality or Else they state: “What is interesting years later is that no two of those men—indeed, no two people we have talked to anywhere—agree precisely on how to define quality.”  In Thinking about Quality, they added: “people remain suspicious of the concept of quality”. . .“part of the problem, we think is that the word ’quality‘ doesn’t mean anything concrete.” Perhaps my book will move quality in the direction of concrete from the abstract; but we may miss what is intended, a component of meaning. Keeping quality in the abstract realm avoids defining it as a concrete noun.

 

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The DNA Connection – Part One

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a pattern of allied concepts.

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

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 But, where do we find effective networks of objective relations?  Where can we find a master pattern that is a unified system?  The pattern can be found in biological DNA. The same concepts used by scientist to work with biological DNA can be used in many ways to provide greater meaning and understanding regarding quality.

We can use the concept of DNA to organize our data in a way that promotes a logical approach to finding meaning grounded in knowledge domains, principles, concepts and paradigms. Think of an organization as one of many organisms that populate and represent life on planet earth. Each organism and organization is unique. Organizations and organisms have unique problems, unique relationships with others, and dynamic customer bases. The concept of DNA can be linked to all organizations.

The common bond that makes all organisms part of one big pattern is the genome, and the common bond that links all organizations is quality. The genome is universal to all organisms and quality is universal to all organizations and its functions. A genome contains all of the biological information needed to build and maintain a living example of an organism.

The quality genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain sustainable quality in the 21st century. The biological information contained in the genome is specified in its deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA.

Biological DNA is packaged and stored in an organism’s chromosomes.  Quality DNA is stored in the fields of knowledge that need to be summoned for explanation. Different organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. For example humans have 46, a mosquito 6, onions 16 and a carp 104. Quality DNA is packaged and stored in 21 fields of knowledge.

In my next post I will connect conceptual patterns of explanation and protein.

 

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Conceptual Pattern Characteristics

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a pattern of allied concepts.

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

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 Close examination of a pattern reveals certain characteristics: 1) they can be used to create a specification, and 2) they are action oriented. For example, a specification for the concept “purpose” might contain the following statements: the reason something is manifested, an anticipated outcome, guides planned action, and rationally stated motive. Actions related to “purpose” would be: explains or justifies, represents a likely final state, uses logical thinking, solves a problem, and explains how to solve a problem. The  patterns that I will be creating are denotative. A noun’s denotation is its literal meaning, the way it would be defined in a dictionary.

According to Edward de Bono — physician, author, inventor and consultant who originated the term lateral thinking, “a pattern is a very efficient way of utilizing information.” Again from de Bono consider this from his book, I am Right You Are Wrong;

“We need a lot of new words to allow us to say and to perceive things which we cannot perceive at the moment. Perception needs a framework just as a scientific examination of evidence needs separate perceptual framework of a hypothesis.  But we also need new words to say fresh things which are now said with concepts that are inadequate or carrying heavy negative baggage. In order to make progress there are a lot of basic concepts that we may need to re-conceptualize.  It is sometimes possible to establish new patterns as the finer discrimination within an existing pattern just as the concept of lateral thinking was established within ‘creativity’.  Patterns can sometimes be changed by adding something to them and eventually shifting their meaning.

As we proceed through the following chapters, I will be continuously relating the elements of Quality DNA to the subject matter. This will help put everything in context. Suffice it to say, at this point, the structure and strategy for identifying the meaning of quality will closely mimic biological DNA and its purpose of building proteins. Following the DNA analogy, we will be building conceptual patterns that are linked to fields of knowledge, expressed in knowledge principles, explicated by concepts and governed by purposeful paradigms.

 

In Summation – Understanding Meaning

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a pattern of allied concepts.

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

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 The meaning of the word “Quality” cannot be found in a string of words. It is manifested in a collection of knowledge domains, dominated by a diverse set of authorities, expressed in domain principles, explained by conceptual patterns, and governed by individual and organizational paradigms. Armed with the right ingredients, we can then decide how to best communicate the required components in an acceptable manner. We need a recipe—a theory—grounded in the data, that will provide a foundation for meaning to emerge.

There are several keys for developing an explanation leading to the meaning of quality. First is the existence of fields of knowledge or domains that will form the umbrella. Second, each field of knowledge is governed by a paradigm will be reduced to a simple purpose and five principles. Third, each principle contains a number of concepts that are expanded to form patterns of explanation that can be used to create assumptions, and propositions needed for grounded quality theory. Everything is connected—a unified system of objective relations.

We have discovered conceptual patterns built upon linked and allied concepts. Now it’s time for us to put them in context to promote understanding.  In Chapter Two we will explore the concept of “Theory”, in depth.

Patrick Kelly, MSQA

 

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Chapter 2 – Understanding Theory

“Theory development is really about discovering patterns, recognizing similarities in things that appear dissimilar to others, i.e., making unexpected connections.” – Henry Mintzberg

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a recipe for connecting patterns.

Why seek criteria that will lead to a coherent quality theory with explanatory power?

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

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As a student I always dreaded any lecture that focused on theory. I thought that learning about theory was a waste of time and energy. The lectures always seemed to leave something out, some critical connection, order if you will.  However, reasoning eventually prevailed; an effectively explicated theory had just eluded me.  After completing research for this chapter I came to the conclusion that, perhaps, certain aspects of a theory are only spotlighted in some lectures and thus fail the student in providing the opportunity to achieve a level of understanding that only a comprehensively explained theory can provide. It would be like explaining how to drive a car to an alien and leave out the purpose of the steering wheel.

But, I can assure you that we don’t, in reality, understand the meaning of various aspects of the world unless we comprehend them from the purview of theory. Theory is inherently about connection, order and understanding of phenomenon.  If profound, meaningful understanding is the objective, then theory is the tool of preference by learned men and woman.

My objective in this chapter is to help the reader understand why I have structured the book as presented in the content section of this blog. All the chapters are necessary for developing the Theory of Quality presented in the final chapter. In my book, this chapter presents the subject of theory from six perspectives in thirty-two pages.

Perspective One: I will identify principles of theory development from the perspectives of five authorities on the subject.

Perspective Two: I will summarize an article written by Dr. David Whetten, editor, Academy of Management Review (AMR). The article is entitled, What Constitutes a Theoretical Contribution?

Perspective Three: We will examine an article published by the editors of AMR entitled, Editor’s Comments: Developing Novel Theoretical Insight from Reviews of Existing Theory and Research

Perspective Four: Comments will be considered, once again, made by the editors of AMR regarding; The Challenges of Building Theory by Combining Lenses.

Perspective Five: We will examine an article accepted by AMR as constituting a theoretical contribution.. The article was a collaboration written by Dr John C, Anderson, Dr. Manus Rungtusanatham, and Dr. Roger G. Schroeder. The article was titled, A Theory of Quality Management Underlying the Deming Management Method.

Perspective Six: We will look at theory development from the point of view of Dr. Henry Mintzberg.  Dr. Mintzberg was asked to contribute to Great Minds in Management, the Process of Theory Development, edited by Ken G. Smith and Michael A. Hitt, 2005. Mintzberg’s contribution was chapter seventeen, Developing Theory about Development of Theory.

In this blog, it will simply not be practical to present the entirety of all six perspectives. Instead I will answer the question, “What is Theory?” and provide a recipe for success based on the material in my book.

 

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What is Theory? – from Chafetz

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a recipe for connecting patterns.

Why seek criteria that will lead to a coherent quality theory with explanatory power?

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But, what is theory?  I can assure the reader that a definitive prescription does not exist and there is a vast warehouse of scholarly opinions. Let us foretaste scholarly thoughts about theory in the following description by citation.

“Like maps, theories, are conceptual systems (Jaccard & Jacoby, 2010:15) that bring order to the experienced world (Dubin, 1978:6:) through the use of assumptions, definitions of concepts and a series of propositions (Chafetz, 1978:81) that attempt to describe an idea ( Reynolds, 1971:43).”

Let us expand the thoughts of each author in the citation.

What is Theory? –  Janet Saltzman Chaftez, author of A Primer on the Construction and Testing of Theories in Sociology.

  • Theories are systems of explanation; they help to answer the question “why?”
  • A typical theory is comprised of assumptions, definitions of concepts, several propositions which collectively purport to explain some aspect of reality.
  • Assumptions are statements accepted as known and not subject to direct verification.
  • Theories consist of concepts whose definitions are often built upon one another and thus comprise a system of interrelated concepts.
  • Probably the best means available to avoid a major problem often encountered in definitions is to employ the age old form develop by Aristotle.  An Aristotelian definition consists of two parts. The first part, called the genius proximum tells what the phenomenon in question shares with a larger class of phenomena.  The second part, genus specifica, tells what is peculiar to phenomena in question.
  • Concepts provide the content and building blocks of theory that consist of words that are relatively high in level of abstractness.
  • Concepts play a critical role in theories and careful attention must be paid to their development and precise definition; solid edifice cannot arise from weak, faulty or carelessly put together building blocks.
  • Explanation, the reason for all theories, is conveyed through a series of statements called propositions.
  • Propositions are the substance of theories.
  • A proposition is a statement that links two or more concepts by stating relationships.

My next post will explore – What is Theory? –  from the perspective of Robert Dubin, author of Theory Building, revised edition.

What is Theory? – from Dubin

LOGO FINALQuality IS…a recipe for connecting patterns.

Why seek criteria that will lead to a coherent quality theory with explanatory power?

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What is Theory? – Robert Dubin is author of Theory Building, revised edition.

  •  A typical theory addresses two distinct goals of science one prediction and one understanding.
  • A proposition is not necessarily a true statement about the real world the model represents but they are true logical statements about the theoretical system..
  • Propositions are truth statements that can be used for a theory that has its concepts, laws of interaction among the concepts, boundaries, and system states specified.
  • The criterion of the system of logic by which the theorist thinks makes all the propositions about the theory he or she builds true.
  • Understanding is knowledge about the interaction of concepts in a system.
  • To achieve understanding of a system we need to know the interaction processes in it and the outcome that was generated by those processes.
  • Theories help us find order in our world by explaining the booming bustling confusion that is in the realm of experience.
  • A theoretical model is the scientific model if and only if its creator is willing to subject it to an empirical test otherwise it falls in the realm of philosophy or theology.
  • Truth insofar as a theoretical model is “true” rests exactly on that slender base of expert consensus.

My next post will explore the thoughts of  James Jaccard and Jacob Jacoby, authors of Theory Construction and Model-Building Skills.