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.

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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 Effects

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

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

_______________________________________________________________

With our attempt to answer some the questions proposed earlier, it is apparent that principles may have the same issues that plague concepts. They can be written clearly and have certain characteristics that make them rules to live by or they can be written in a connotative manner. We have identified the following effects that may have a positive or negative impact on a principle’s efficiency. Well written principles that meet Steven Coveys criteria of always pointing the way, not shifting or changing, applying at all times in all places and being objective and external would certainly have common characteristics. Characteristics, attributes or effects identified thus far can be used as a template for identifying, and writing principles.

The Concept Density Effect: This is a positive effect. Relevant concepts contained within the principle are the building blocks of a well written principle. One can almost understand the purpose of the principle by identifying the concepts in the principle as stated. The concepts should be related to the principles field of knowledge (Domain).

The Conditional or Limiting Adjective Effect: This is a negative effect. One or more conditional adjectives firmly consign the principle to the category of being connotative and fundamentally transform’s the principle into a practice.  The adjective attaches conditions under which the principle will apply.  This effect has the most impact on making the principle a “Non-Covey” principle.

The Transitive Verb Effect: This is a positive effect. The very nature of a transitive verb makes it a necessity for a principle. A principle must be active and that action must be directed at a subject, preferably a relevant concept.

The Modal Verb Effect:  This can be a either a positive or a negative effect.  The right modal verb can strengthen a principle or once again transform it into a practice. The most common modal verbs are; Can, Could, May, Might, Must, Ought to, Shall, Should, Will and Would. Only one modal verb is appropriate for a principle – Must. Any of the other modal verbs create a negative effect.

In addition to effects, all principles must have a purpose and must to be associated with the field of knowledge or domain of origin. (Is this a principle?)

Next post – Questions answered.

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