Re: Pay for Learning LO1427

Barry Mallis (
30 May 1995 12:37:47 -0400

Replying to LO1415 --

About learning on the job, as commented upon by Tobin Quereau in "Pay for
Learning lo1415


I have been struck by the idea of the dual nature of work, explained in
some detail in The New American TQM by Shiba et alia.

At different levels in a manufacturing organization like mine, work has
two components: improvement work and daily work. One graphic in this book
shows the surrent situation in most companies where daily work occupies
most all the available time. Only at the topmost levels of the
organization is time given over explicitly to improvement. Line employees
have virtually no itme given over to improvement work; one reason is that
they and their superiors do not see how improvement work meshes with the
real and now.

In an organization which incorporates quality thinking and practices, the
necessary tools to support the dual nature of work are deployed among an
understanding group, often educated in response to a JIT need. I can tell
you from experience that the lights don't simply go on for employees who
learn methods to improve their work, they flash! I would say that the
essence of the dual nature of work is iterative learning--the so-called
turn of the whell of the PDCA cycle. When an employee experiences that
directly in her or his work, it is revelatory and self-perpetuating. It
can't get any more real than that. Measurable success from such activity
(e.g. reduced lead times, graeter customer retention, reduced scrap rates,
healthier employees) leaves the heady world of pure think far behind. Of
course, there is much thinking going into the very programs themselves
which contribute to the outcomes I mention as examples. But that thinking
is also informed by the PDCA cycle with its reflection and consideration.

Barry Mallis                                 "The world is the closed door.
Total Quality Resource Manager     It is the barrier.  And
MARKEM Corporation                  at the same time it is
Keene, NH 03431                          the way through."