Emergence (related to TQM & LOs) LO11288

Michael McMaster (Michael@kbddean.demon.co.uk)
Thu, 5 Dec 1996 02:12:22 +0000

Was: TQM & LOs LO11257

I've changed the title of this in responding to Ben because it ties in
with earlier conversations on "Emergence" more than relating to TQM & LO.
Ben submits:

> Theory -> Language -> Values -> Culture -> Systems -> Structures ->
> Processes
> There is something to be said for the fact that Systems, Structures, and
> Processs are emergent from the culture; but I'm not entirely convinced of
> that right now. I still think there is some type of causal relationship
> between each of these links in the chain.

I would say there is an emergent relationship between all of the elements
that Ben mentions. But to stay with the ones that he selected out, there
is co-emergence or (or as Murray Gell-Mann might say) "compound complex
adaptive systems" at work here.

That is, culture is emergent from systems, structures and processes AND
systems, structures and processes are emergent from culture. Another way
of expressing this relationship is that they are interative and each
influences the other in ways that have no beginning, nor end and cannot be
traced in any linear cause and effect relationship.

> I would like to think we should measure our theories -- and to some extent
> the numbers we use to measure our work (including financial measurements)
> are reflective of how accurate our theories are -- but I find no practical
> way of doing this.

Einstein became a somebody in science when he outperformed the other
scientists predicting a particular event around some eclipse. His
theories worked better at what was intended. (Easier solution to a real
world challenge.) He later formulated science as distinct from any
objective reality but formulated in terms of measures of experience.

My conclusion from this is that you measure your theories by the
experience they produce. The main areas of these in business are
production and the cost of producing. For those theories with only longer
term results, the measures are against what the theory says should be
happening at the particular stage of the theory in application.

This might be difficult for accounting as we know it because it is
focussed on vary narrow areas. It is not particularly difficult for
common sense however. Any theory is intended to produce something and
that something must have some experiential component.

We have to be a bit careful about the term "measure" itself as we tend to
think, whether we are aware of it or not, that measure applies to specific
numerically quantifiable stuff. This is not the case.

Michael McMaster :   Michael@kbdworld.com
"I don't give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity 
but I'd die for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." 
            attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes 

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