Deming's SoPK (System of Profound Knowledge) Discussion

B

Bill Pflanz

Mike S. said:
I would have stated the concept this way: "Experience without theory can be misleading."

Mike,

Now that you have provided some additional comments, I can understand your question better. Experience and theory is the classic chicken and the egg problem. If you have a theory, you can use experience to prove or not. Or, if you have experience, then you could develop a theory around it.

I believe Deming was trying to show that data gathering and statistical techniques can be used to prove a theory that could be applied to future efforts. Management has a tendency to look at recent history and then make decisions rather than taking a more scientific approach, thus his comment that experience without theory teaches nothing. It is only misleading if you assume that all theory must be right. Deming looked at the data to determine if the theory was correct.

:applause: :applause: Good discussion that makes you think. Exactly want I expect and want from the Cove. If you need to think more, what about his quote "There is no substitute for knowledge".

Bill Pflanz
 
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Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
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Bill Pflanz said:
If you need to think more, what about his quote "There is no substitute for knowledge".

Bill Pflanz
I guess I might sound crotchety if I say I could disagree with that one, too. Better leave that one alone lest I be labeled a Deming-basher. :D
 
F

Faramir

Deming and BF SKINNER

Did Deming really say, "Experience teaches nothing without theory"? If so, can a Demingite please explain that one to me?

Another way to look at this is to consider operant conditioning.

Experience commonly leads to reinforcements of thoughts or behavior through association (not necessarily cause and effect). Skinner in the 1950's was busy showing how behavior could be UNCONSCIOUSLY shaped by repeated events. The classic would be, a worker gets good parts (a reinforcement) a number of times when he bends over to tie his shoe, so he starts always to do so to get good parts. (or the 'lucky pen" or "lucky bat" or etc.)

Superstitious behavior is the name for it.

So, Deming was also active in the 1950's and while he does not credit Skinner that I know of (help here Demingites) his "experience without theory" pronouncement is the analog of the process of developing superstitious behavior as documented by Skinner.

If you have a THEORY then you have thought about your conclusions and behaviors and are much less likely to be thinking or behaving superstitiously having been shaped by experiences that are not causes.

Also, THEORY can be tested to determine is it is superstitious or confirmed by controlled conditions.

"No substitute for knowledge" is similar in concept, since if it ain't knowledge (and Deming points out you should not think you understand anything if you don't understand its variation, at the instant, and over time, and causes (5 whys or more)) it is superstition.


Comments anyone?
 
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Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
Faramir said:
Did Deming really say, "Experience teaches nothing without theory"? If so, can a Demingite please explain that one to me?
Comments anyone?
As I take out my copy of Out of The Crisis, I look in the index at the back and find the following entry:

"Experience without theory teaches nothing, 19, 317, 403, 404".

So he even found it important enough to index it.

Page 19: "Experience alone, without theory, teaches management nothing about what to do to improve quality and competitive position, nor how to do it. If experience alone would be a teacher, then one may well ask why are we in this predicament? Experience will answer a question, and a question comes from theory. The theory in hand need not be elaborate. It may only be a hunch, or a statement of principles"

Page 317: " 'We rely on our experience' This is the answer that came from the manager of quality in a large company recently, when I enquired how he distinguishes between the two kinds of trouble [common and special causes - SSP] and on what principles. The answer is self-incriminating: it is a guarantee that this company will continue to pile up about the same amount of trouble as in the past. Why should it change?
Experience without theory teaches nothing. In fact, experience can not even be recorded unless there is some theory, however crude, that leads to a hypothesis and a system by which to catalog observations [footnote to CI Lewis, Mind and the World-Order].

- my fingers are cramping up, so enough typing for now.
 

WALLACE

Quite Involved in Discussions
This thread has been very revealing

Yeah,
This thread has indeed been very revealing. This year the SoPK discussions has been both encouraging and very contentious.
I for one am glad, I decided to originate and open this thread.
The thread has shifted way off the original intention yet, I have learned much from the genuine system thinker at the Cove.
If there's one thing this thread has revealed that's worth commenting on, I would say IMO FWIW, a SoPK discussion belongs in a forum other than the Cove.
Too much contention and, I believe some at the Cove were offended by the approach of myself and others regarding profound knowledge, I apologize for that.
I have to say, I miss Energy and, his never ending prodding that, both P**sed me off and yet encouraged me to analyze my current knowledge. I said in one post that, Energy's knowledge of construction would indeed give many examples of systems thinking. I originally come from the Architectural construction arena and, we would have had much to discuss regarding systems thinking.
Anyhow, all the best Energy if your browsing now and then, just like me.
Wallace.
 
Last edited:

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
This is an old thread. Many of the original participants have ceased to visit the Cove. Thus, questions directed to those individuals will not reach their target. Check the box under a poster's name to learn the most recent visit.

Somewhere in the SoPK thread, you will find a reference to Dr. Myron Tribus, but the link to his essay is no longer there. Many of his essays can be found in pdf here (http://www.qla.com.au/pages/Tribus.html) They make interesting and informative reading.

I would suggest it might be better to start a new thread about SoPK if anyone has questions or comments, rather than add new questions to this thread.
 
Hi, I'm interested in viewing the original attachment but my Windows 7 computer doesn't recognize the file type (.php). What is the best reader to view this type of file?

Thanks,
Stanley
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
Hi, I'm interested in viewing the original attachment but my Windows 7 computer doesn't recognize the file type (.php). What is the best reader to view this type of file?

Thanks,
Stanley
Which attachment is that? The very first message has a zip file that opens to a jpeg . . .
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
Hi, I'm interested in viewing the original attachment but my Windows 7 computer doesn't recognize the file type (.php). What is the best reader to view this type of file?

Thanks,
Stanley
Back in the day, folks worked with dial up and relatively large files took forever to load, hence using zip files. Wallace was and is a dear friend who lives in Canada. Here's the original from my files from other correspondence I had with Wallace back then.
 

Attachments

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