Fear of Knowledge LO5533

John Paul Fullerton (JPF6745@ACS.TAMU.EDU)
Sun, 11 Feb 1996 20:56:55 -0600 (CST)

Replying to LO5476 -- was Learning Organizations & TQM
[Subject line changed by your host...]

Responding to something Deborah Heller said in LO5476

I appreciate your expertise in the topics of TQM and learning
organizations and the evident thoughtfulness and concern you bring to
the topic.

> Parenthetically, do you think that when companies realize that a
> transition to a true learning organization is in fact a significant
> organizational change, they will begin to demonstrate the same resistance
> and lack of follow through that we have seen in the quality movement?

Dr. Deming wrote in "Out of the Crisis"

"There is widespread resistance of knowledge. Advances of the kind
needed in Western industry require knowledge, yet people are afraid
of knowledge. Pride may play a part in resistance to knowledge. New
knowledge brought into the company might disclose some of our
failings. A better outlook is of course to embrace new knowledge
because it might help us to do a better job."

and also

"There is no substitute for knowledge. But the prospect of use of
knowledge brings fear."

A possible reason for responding in fear to the introduction of new
knowledge is the likely experience of hurtfully applied ideas.
Everyone can have an idea, yet only a few can typically cause others
to endure the governance of their idea in a given environment. I'm
saying this partly to bridge to the next quote.

"The greatest waste in America is failure to use the abilities of
people. One need only listen to a tape of a meeting with
production workers to learn about their frustrations and about the
contribution that they are eager to make. Anyone would be impressed
to observe how articulate most production workers are, in spite of
criticisms of our schools."

To understand the response of fear seems to require a firm stance for
me, and that may mean that I don't understand it correctly. I wonder
if people are working from an idea of their own - even if nothing
seems to be happening - and the introduction of another idea tends to
be a "no" response with the sense of less benefit to them.

The following point may only be tangentially related - possibly more
important or useful than that. I remembered today wrestling with a
neighborhood boy maybe 20 years ago. From memory, he seemed to be slow
in speech and maybe in thought and heavier than most of us at that
age. Somehow in wrestling, I got him in a hold that hurt him and
apparently held him in that hold beyond the point of recognizing that
it hurt him. Maybe it was half a second, maybe two seconds, I'm not
sure that I want to regain the memory. Yet his response was hurt
beyond physical pain, and I wondered today at what else I had joined
with to hurt him. If work-places do not stop the misuse of the
unprotected, then the misuse will continue. I'm not certain of how
common misuse is, yet the simple thought of politics, popularity, and
pay-back suggests it's a problem. I don't know how to pay that guy
back besides saying "I'm sorry" into the aether. I owe him, yet I
can't think too much about it :)

Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>