First Principles of LO LO11917

Julie Beedon (
Tue, 14 Jan 1997 21:54:29

Replying to LO11872 --

I have been following this 'first principles' discussion for some time as
I have a personal sense that principle based change is the sort of
approach that will deal with the complex world we inhabit.

I sometimes call myself a mathematician (did anybody spot my hidden
skeleton!!) mainly becuase most of my Degree modules were in maths - pure,
applied, stats and the maths of computing (I also did social sciences!!) I
remember from my early days of being 'good at maths' at school when doing
O and A levels that people expected the questions in the exam to be the
same as the ones we had done in the classroom or homework. The value to
me in frist principles was not that they could predict anything but that I
could rely on my understanding of them, and how they could be combined to
tackle almost any question the examiners cared to put together.

So if I was looking for 'first principles' for LO I have a sense that it
might be a set of principles which could be combined in a variety of ways
to enable me to tackle learning issues in any environment. Perhaps it
would be a bit like fractals or strange attractors ... (not sure I
understand these well enough) but I might start with the basic principles
in a certain combination and through repeated iterations, with random
changes to deal with emergent realities, ... transform the organisation
(mathematical definition of this would be change of form without change of

With this in mind I noted with particular interest what Debra said about
predictability and open systems...

>Organizations are open systems (a first principle) and are therefore
>"unpredictable." There is no formula, mathematical or otherwise, that can
>predict behaviour in an open system.
>I agree that Peter Senge's work is hardly first principles but it feels
>like a neat framework. If we consider it a framework for synthesizing
>what we notice about what is going on in organizations, that is one thing.
>But we have a long way to go

.. then the framework she describes capture more accurately how I used
first principles in mathematics... so what do I go back to in this work??

* Demings System of Profound Knowledge
* Senge's 5 Disciplines
* Jacobs - principles for RTSC
* Weisbord's - conditions

>> With the above in mind, I have always struggled to understand how the Five
>> Disciplines comprise a set that emanates from some principle. They feel
>> somewhat random to me. I am unable to make a case for these five
>> disciplines versus another five.

I wonder .... I think I can link these and some hold together as a 'set'
more.... I bet some integration could be done...

Julie Beedon
VISTA Consulting - for a better future


Julie Beedon <>

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