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Deming's SoPK (System of Profound Knowledge) Discussion

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
Craig H. said:
Again, how does a manager best use their people without making judgements (using the aforementioned "measurements") concerning their attitudes and abilities? Without determining what motivates each individual, how can a manager even make a decent attempt at keeping the workers happy?


Craig
Is it useful to make judgements about attitudes? Let's say I create an "attitude meter". You are a 3, Sam is a 5, I am a 4. What do you do with it? I once was asked by a work group to help them measure work attitude. I soon realized they had not a clue as to what they would do with the measurement if they had it.

In reality, we do not have an attitude meter. I only know my own attitude. I may be able to infer your attitude by watching your behaviors, working with you, or gathering certain data that I can infer your attitude from (a worker survey, sick day records). Dr. Deming stated the most important data are unknown and unknowable. But I can use information on hand. Dr. Deming interviewed workers, and reviewed sick day records. With that information, he could pretty well "peg" the culture of the company. Might not be a number, but he could certainly describe it.

To me, what a number is is not as important as what I do with the number.

Certainly on abilities I should understand who are outliers above and below the pack. Learn lessons from them. What makes them high or low? Inate ability? Tools / equipment they have? They're lucky? Right place at the right time? Breaking "the rules"? Perhaps a worker is a poor worker due to they need eyeglasses. Maybe they need training.

But the theory is that rating and ranking folks within the pack accomplishes little.

And I'm not too sure that a manager's job is to make the workers happy :biglaugh: . But I would say it is to remove barriers that prevent good work, that are in the way of workers accomplishing what they want to accomplish, and what they need to accomplish for their employer.
 

Mike S.

An Early 'Cover'
Trusted
Wes Bucey said:
:caution: slightly demogogic material here:
Would an MBO have been at the bottom of efficient and effective genocide movements throughout history? Would an MBO have been at the bottom of efficient fishing techniques that have exterminated entire populations of fish? I'm pretty sure MBO had a hand in the slaughter of Great Auks, American Bison, and Passenger Pigeons by introducing more efficient killing techniques.

If folks had adopted SoPK techniques, they would have looked beyond the temporary efficacy of their policies and work techniques to the Big Picture in relationship to investors, employees, customers, suppliers, competitors, neighbors, and Nature.

So, were those previous MBO folk necessarily bad people? In my opinion, they were just unenlightened. Can such depradations on our human populations and on Nature happen again? Adopting a short-sighted MBO practically guarantees they will.
Holey moley! Next we'll hear from Wes that Deming is up for sainthood! :rolleyes: Deming followers could very well use his teachings to achieve bad objectives (i.e. depredations on humans or nature) in a more efficient way. That means the objectives are bad, not Deming or his methods. Same with MBO.
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
Mike S. said:
Holey moley! Next we'll hear from Wes that Deming is up for sainthood! :rolleyes: Deming followers could very well use his teachings to achieve bad objectives (i.e. depredations on humans or nature) in a more efficient way. That means the objectives are bad, not Deming or his methods. Same with MBO.
One thing to be said, since this is a string on SOPK, is that the System Of Profound Knowledge is a theory. It is a theory that has worked very well for me personally and professionally (http://in2in.org/bios/prevette_bio.shtml). It well explains a number of phenomenon I have experienced and seen.

I am certainly happy to participate in any discussion with any one who would like to learn more about the theory.
 
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Laura M

SoPK

Steve,

How far into "Mind and the World Order" did you get? Did you already have a philosophy background, or need to explore that as well to get through it?

Laura
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
I have not read any of Lewis directly. I have been exposed to it on the DEN. I am a hard core hard side background (nuclear submarines, engineering degree) and am working to become more conversant on the philosophy side. Nice thing about SOPK is it is a balanced blend of both "sides" and Deming did base a lot of his work on Lewis.

Do you recommend the book?
 
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Laura M

SoPK is: (copied from earlier post)

Knowledge of Variation, that is, a knowledge of common cause and special variation.
Knowledge of Systems, that is, understanding that all the parts of a business are related in such a way that if you focus on optimizing one part, other parts may suffer.
Knowledge of Psychology, that is, what motivates people.
Theory of Knowledge, that is, how we learn things.

I see a big focus on red beads - knowledge of variation, and knowledge of psychology so far. I do not see alot of discussion on Theory of Knowledge. The subtitle of Lewis' book is "outline of a Theory of Knowledge." Not sure how we can discuss SoPK without all the elements.
 
Laura M said:
SoPK is: (copied from earlier post)

Knowledge of Variation, that is, a knowledge of common cause and special variation.
Knowledge of Systems, that is, understanding that all the parts of a business are related in such a way that if you focus on optimizing one part, other parts may suffer.
Knowledge of Psychology, that is, what motivates people.
Theory of Knowledge, that is, how we learn things.

I see a big focus on red beads - knowledge of variation, and knowledge of psychology so far. I do not see alot of discussion on Theory of Knowledge. The subtitle of Lewis' book is "outline of a Theory of Knowledge." Not sure how we can discuss SoPK without all the elements.
OK! I think the following may be good groundwork for the discussion. The concept of examining people for their knowledge on any particular topic is usually based on "Bloom's Taxonomy."
Six Levels of Cognition
based on Bloom's Taxonomy (1956)

In addition to content specifics, the subtext detail also indicates the intended complexity level of the test questions for that topic. These levels are based on "Levels of Cognition" (from Bloom's Taxonomy, 1956) and are presented below in rank order, from least complex to most complex.
Knowledge Level
(Also commonly referred to as recognition, recall, or rote knowledge.) Being able to remember or recognize terminology, definitions, facts, ideas, materials, patterns, sequences, methodologies, principles, etc.


Comprehension Level
Being able to read and understand descriptions, communications, reports, tables, diagrams, directions, regulations, etc.


Application Level
Being able to apply ideas, procedures, methods, formulas, principles, theories, etc. in job-related situations


Analysis
Being able to break down information into its constituent parts and recognize the parts; relationship to one another and how they are organized; identify sublevel factors or salient data from a complex scenario


Synthesis
Being able to put parts or elements together in such a way as to show a pattern or structure not clearly there before; identify which data or information from a complex set is appropriate to examine further or from which supported conclusions can be drawn


Evaluation
Able to make judgments regarding the value of proposed ideas, solutions, methodologies, etc., by using appropriate criteria or standards to estimate accuracy, effectiveness, economic benefits, etc.

Where do we want to go from here?
 
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Laura M

I think before studying "Mind and the World Order" I was somewhere between the Analysis and the Synthesis of understanding SoPK.
 
Laura M said:
I think before studying "Mind and the World Order" I was somewhere between the Analysis and the Synthesis of understanding SoPK.
So!
Did MWO move you forward or backward in the taxonomy?

Despite what Mike S. may think, I got through a few chapters of C. I. Lewis's book only with the help of two big dictionaries (including the miniaturized edition of OED) and never did finish it.

Deming seems like a Dick and Jane book in comparison.
 
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Laura M

Why forward of course! However, I wouldn't recommend anyone just "reading" the book. We asked a local philosophy department to educate us on it, and ended up in a longer session of the beginnings of philosophy (I think therefore I am) and the study of logic which was very interesting. Unfortunately, as these things go, it took a budget hit the next year, and we never finished what we wanted to accomplish. Excellent foundation, but I'm sorry it didn't go further.
 
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