Re: Organisational thinking LO3870

John Woods (
Sun, 26 Nov 1995 17:44:47 -0600 (CST)

Replying to LO3845 --

Phillip Capper wrote:

>John Dewey, in exploring the concept of expertise in 1905, wrote of two
>types of expertise, 'empirical' and 'experiential'. The first, which he
>saw as being the commonly encountered and conventional form - is the same
>as Michael's 'mechanistic approach'. It consists of eliminating error and
>improving performance through repetition of a known process. This is the
>notion behind the 'learning curve'. Dewey also pointed out that it is
>deeply conservative and not well suited to dealing with the unexpected or
>unfamiliar, except to try and eliminate them.
>Dewey's 'experiential' expertise is rare and precious. It consists of
>constantly reviewing and reflecting on experience, including at the deep
>causative levels, and actively seeking to make useful changes in one's
>circumstances, thus generating innovation as a way of coping with the
>unfamiliar and of making progress.

People keep coming up with these ideas. Consider this short passage from
Gary Zukav's The Dancing Wu Li Masters, which talks about the
philosophical implications of modern physics:

"When most people say 'scientist', they mean 'technician'. A technician
is a highly trained person whose job is to apply known techniques and
principles. He deals with the known. A scientist is a person who seeks to
know the true nature of physical reality. He deals with the unknown." He
goes on to say we need both, but the path of the scientist is where we get
into the mysteries that stretch our minds...and hearts.

John Woods