TQM & LOs LO11284

Mnr AM de Lange (AMDELANGE@gold.up.ac.za)
Thu, 5 Dec 1996 15:53:07 GMT+2

Ben Compton wrote in LO11228

> At provides a wonderful example of how the obvious solution to a problem
> was really not a solution at all. This is a problem across many different
> disciplines, and one that is particularly common in the design and
> evolution of an organization.
> The question is, how do we get managers and executives to learn from such
> an example? (This is a serious question despite it's simplicity;
> heretofore the answer has evaded me.)


This is probably my last contribution before I go into the commensual
(lurking?) mode. I have to finish other work and the holidays are near.

I am not the only one who believe that he or she has found the rosetta
stone to some presently incomprehensible subject but obviously future part
of knowledge.

The incomprehensible subject is: how do we get any person (and not merely
managers and executives) to learn anything (and not merely a way out
example). We see many hundreds of rock faces covered with hieroglyphs
which ought to tell us things about which we are very curious.

The rosetta stone is: creativity which is the result of entropy
production. Many of you have by now read about entropy and its
relationship to chaos and order through the work of Margaret Wheatly,
based on the book 'Order out of Chaos' of Prigogine and Stengers. The idea
of one cause for both chaos and order is enticing. Entropy has to be
created. It is first automatically manifestated as chaos and only
afterwards contingently manifested as order. But there is another idea
stemming from entropy which is equally important. The manifestation of
entropy as order gives not only rise to a new order, but also to free
(potential) energy available from this new order.

This free energy helps us to understand what spontaneity is. If, for any
particular process-outcome, the free energy has to increase, that
process-outcome is nonspontaneous. It will never happen on its own accord.
It may only happen if it is forced by external work and control on it.
Some processes, like emergences, can almost never be forced. A
refrigerator is a fine example of a nonspontaneous nonemergent
process-outcome. However, if the free energy has to decrease, then that
process may happen on it its own accord. (It may still be inhibited for
reason which I will not explain now.) When that sponmtaneous
process-outcome happens, it may be harnessed as a producer/source of work
and control to the external world. Water running down wards and driving a
hydro electric generator is a nice example.

If a person is nonspontaneous for a particular learning creation (i.e. the
free energy has to increase), then that person will not learn on his/her
own accord. The person may be forced by external work and control to
things like rote learning, but emergent learning will not happen. Paradigm
shifts are immense emergent learnings. When a person is nonspontaneous to
a paradigm shift, then it is almost impossible to externally force and
control it to happen.

If a person is spontaneous for a particular learning creation (i.e. the
free energy will decrease), then that person will learn on his/her own
accord. The person may become very valuable as a producer rather than a
consumer of work.

Now, how 'do we make' people more spontaneous (getting higher free energy)
towards emergent learning?

The one part of the answer is simple: we cannot do anything, except to act
as a warden (facilitator, guide, midwife, ...). It is that very person
himself/herself who has to do the major share.

The other part of the answer is complex. How do we act as warden (...)? We
must have theoretical and practical knowledge of our wardship.

It is the highest order (qualities) of a creation which determine its
potential energy. We have to distinguish two phases in the manifestation
of entropy production as order. The first phase is revolutionary,
happening far form equibrium in the face of immense chaos. It is the
emergence of the bare new order. In learning it is the emergence of a bare
new concept - the birth of a noble thought as Socrates called it. The
second phase is evolutionary, happening seemingly close to equilibrium in
a serene setting. It is the digestive growth of the new order to full
maturity. In learning I call it digestive learning (of which rote learning
is but a faint shadow of it).

It is the free energy of the 'mature' new order which is employed to
produce new entropy galore, its first manifestation as chaos, etc., etc.
The 'bare' new order is simply not capable of doing it. What then do we
have to do as a warden? Promote emergent learning as far as possible. Be
happy and rejoice in whatever new noble thought has been borne. If it is
not the one intended, then simple be patient to assist the birth of
another noble thought. The real heir is not necessarily the first borne.
Care for the digestive growth of all noble thoughts having been borne. Be
carefull not to favour one paticular baby.

So Ben, what do I have to say for managers and executives in particular?
Allow them and encourage them to partipate in all sorts of emergent
creativities (dialogue, play, exemplar, problem-solving) which is related
to the mission of their organisation. Never, never, say that they are busy
with nonsense, but rather try to understand them. Give them as a warden of
deep life the time and environment to mature. When they have become mature
enough to even transform the mission of the organisation into a higher
order, the full spiral has been made. Then the warden may rest in peace.

In short: promote emergent learning and the digestive maturing of the
emergents. A person rich in mature emergences will learn on his/her own
accord because of the free energy (will?) so acquired. Beware of
substituting your own spontaneous learning for the nonspontaneous learning
of others. It seldom, if ever, works correctly.

Best wishes


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email: amdelange@gold.up.ac.za

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