About Edwards Deming

 

Dr. Deming ’s Admonitions

An Excerpt from Heart and Mind

by Robert E. Podolsky

Introduction

in 1950 Dr. W. Edwards Deming transformed the world of industry. He did this by teaching the Japanese how to succeed in making products that would outsell those of all other nations. At that time “made in Japan” meant “cheap shoddy imitation” to most people around the world. Five years later Dr. Deming’s advice had made Japanese industry a force to be reckoned with in the world marketplace. Today, fifty years later, the Japanese credit Deming’s advice with their clearly dominant position in the world of manufacturing. How ironic it is that American auto manufacturers had laughed at Dr. Deming when he offered to teach them the wisdom of what he called “statistical quality control”.

Although revered in Japan Dr. Deming remained little known in the U.S. until recently. Now some American industrialists are scurrying to learn and apply what he taught the Japanese in 1950. If it were not for the work of a few dedicated authors, Dr. Deming’s work might still be unknown in the U.S. today. In the five to ten years before his death in 1993 Dr. Deming formulated an American version of his advice to the Japanese. It contains all the valuable information to which the Japanese were privy as well as some advice specific to the needs of American industry. In this formulation, as reported in Mary Walton ‘s excellent book, the advice consists of fourteen “points”, seven “deadly diseases”, and four “obstacles” for American industry to be concerned about. For convenience sake we refer to this body of knowledge collectively as Dr. Deming’s twenty-five “Admonitions”.

It is my contention that these Admonitions are not just a convenient set of guidelines for the improvement of industry; but rather they constitute, together with the Japanese experience in applying them, the living proof of the validity of a broader set of principles from which the Admonitions can be logically derived. This broader set of principles, which I call the Bill of Ethics, may have the power to do for all humankind what the Admonitions have done for Japanese industry. If this premise proves correct it could spell the difference between human extinction and the long-range success of the human species.

In the pages that follow I intend first to describe briefly the Admonitions and their significance. Then I will turn our attention to the Bill of Ethics and briefly talk about its origins and structure; and identify the parts of it that are directly applicable to the derivation of the Admonitions. Next I will derive a simplified form of the admonitions that is logically equivalent to the original form, but simpler to deal with as a logical entity. Then I will set forth a reasonable credibility argument to the effect that each and every useful part of the Admonitions is demonstrably derivable from no more than six parts of the Bill of Ethics  and possibly from as few as two. I find this credibility argument so compelling that I shall leave it to others to set forth a more rigorous proof thereof. Naturally, I also invite opinions to the contrary.  Finally I intend to address the “So what?” concerning this derivation and discuss the reasons I think that its general acceptance could be an important turning point for humanity.

The Significance of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions

Each year the Japanese government awards The Deming Prize to businesses and individuals who have made outstanding achievements in applying Dr. Deming’s Admonitions. In years when no significant advances have been made no prize is awarded. The Deming Prize is arguably the most sought after award in Japan . Everyone who works in Japan knows about it and strives to receive its award. Its recipients are given the highest respect the Japanese can confer. While American students are saluting the flag Japanese children learn to recite the Admonitions.

In part this preoccupation of the Japanese is a celebration of their success on the battlefield of commerce; a vindication, if you will, of the ignominy of their defeat in W.W.II. But more than that, it is a celebration of the day-to-day experience of working in an environment that protects, nurtures, and appreciates them. It is emotionally rewarding to work for a company that takes the admonitions seriously. Point number seven is “Institute Leadership – Help people to do a better job”. Point number eight is “Drive out fear”. Point number eleven is “Eliminate numerical quotas”. Number twelve is “Remove barriers to pride of workmanship”. The third Deadly Disease is merit ratings and annual performance reviews. The Japanese have eliminated them. In the resulting environment workers experience a bond with the company and work as if they owned it. This includes making numerous suggestions for improvement of every feature of the work experience. Experimentation is commonplace in this environment because workers and managers are not afraid to make mistakes in their joint search for a better way. They become partners rather than adversaries.

If American unions really cared about the well being of their members they would demand that the workplace be Demingized. If they got their way the unions would have to disband because their adversarial stance would be a barrier to the effective application of the Admonitions. Japanese factories in the United States are run in this same way. They are never unionized. Who needs a union to speak for them when they can speak for themselves and be heard by sympathetic ears? The Demingized work environment, also known as the Total Quality work environment, is a joy to be a part of compared with traditional authoritarian workplaces. Workers in this setting generally feel valued, appreciated for their ideas and opinions, rewarded for their efforts, and inherently belonging to their society. Accordingly they feel safe and happy most of the time.

The key to understanding the extraordinary power of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions is the recognition that they constitute more than a recipe for profitability. Success is more than making money. It involves optimizing as much as possible the quality of life of all involved. For a business it means attending conscientiously to the needs of the company’s suppliers, customers, employees, sales force, and advertisers: In short, everyone who comes in contact with the company; and not just the company’s owners. If you think this through, as I have, you recognize that the adoption of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions requires a company to become more aware of and more responsive to the personal wishes of all of these people. To accomplish this a company has to make a moral commitment to a higher standard of ethics than does the company that runs according to hierarchically authoritarian principles.  In organizational development terms, the culture of the organization must become ethical. An organization’s culture is the model employed to standardize the relationship between a supervisor and a supervisee. We will have more to say about this later.

About the Bill of Ethics

Dr. Deming ‘s Admonitions can be derived from the Bill of Ethics, and prove that the Ethics is at least a logically equivalent statement. In fact I will show that the Ethics is a far more general and far-reaching statement; that Dr. Deming’s Admonitions constitute only a small subset of the logical consequences of the Ethics. Moreover, since it is generally agreed that a form of the Admonitions has beneficially transformed Japanese industry, it is a small step inductively to suspect that a similarly committed application of the Ethics might have a vastly greater set of benefits to offer the nation that took the Ethics as seriously as the Japanese took the Admonitions. For this reason it is important to understand the Ethics somewhat before going through the formal steps of the derivation.

For a complete description of the thinking that culminated in the Ethics one can read MAKE IT SO!  and the text of the Bill of Ethics itself. More briefly, Gregory R. Sulliger and I wrote the Ethics as a result of a detailed study that we performed from 1985 to 1992. In this study we analyzed the problems that our species seems to face and looked for plausible solutions to them. Worldwide adoption of the Ethics or its logical equivalent is the only solution we have found so far that appears to be both necessary and sufficient to a thriving humanity. We don’t doubt that there are many other possible solutions, but we suspect that most of them will prove to be the logical equivalents of the Ethics. Such logical equivalents are to be highly valued, because individuals who will not take seriously the Ethics in its present form will take some of them seriously.

In 1992, when we set down the Bill of Ethics in its present form, we actually wrote three versions of it: The first is a proposed amendment to the Oregon state constitution; the second is a proposed amendment to the US constitution; and the third is a generic form that can be adopted as an amendment to the constitution or bylaws of any organization. It is this latter form that is included in this document.  At that time we had heard of Dr. Deming’s work but were unfamiliar with its content. When we started reading the Admonitions we realized that Dr. Deming had caused significant portions of the Ethics to be put into practice on a massive scale in Japan. The success of the Japanese experiment was “proof” of the validity of our work. We put quotes around the word, “proof” in recognition of the fact that the Japanese experiment has not tested all of the logical consequences of the Ethics, only some of them. In fact it has not tested all the consequences of the Admonitions. One cannot know all the logical consequences of any statement with certainty.

What If…

Dr. Deming ‘s Admonitions have been demonstrated to be “true” by the great experiment of the Japanese. I have written this chapter to assert that the Admonitions are part of a greater “truth” that we have described in the Bill of Ethics. There are two parts to this statement. The first is that the Admonitions are logically contained in the Ethics. The second is to demonstrate the “truth” of the Ethics. The first is just an exercise in logic. The second can only be accomplished by experiment. The point to be made concerning this is that the Japanese experiment demonstrates the “truth” of the portion of the Ethics contained in the Admonitions. If this seems unclear consider the definition of “true” information. Information is said to be true if belief that it is true increases one’s ability to detect, predict, and initiate causal relationships between events in the observable universe. Information is said to be false if belief that it is true limits or reduces one’s ability to detect, predict, and initiate causal relationships between such events. If information is neither true nor false it is said to be trivial.  Most valuable information is not true under all circumstances. If the description of those circumstances under which a statement is true are made part of the statement, the truth of that statement becomes very well defined. The statement, “Success will be attained by the company that properly applies the Admonitions”, has been proven true for many industrial companies in Japan . Early results from American companies attempting the same experiment indicate that the statement is probably true for American companies as well.

Now consider the statement, “Success will be attained by the company that properly applies the Ethics. If our logic (yet to be stated) is correct, we know this statement to be true within the same limits for which the previous statement is true; because the Admonitions are contained in the Ethics. This fact makes the Ethics very credible.  Based on this line of reasoning we pose the question: What if the statement, “Success will be attained by the organization, government, or species that properly applies the Ethics” is at least equally true? We suspect it is generally true. My goal is to see the relevant experiments performed. I will return to this line of reasoning in the “So What?” section concluding this chapter. Meanwhile, just consider: What if….. ?

Restating Dr. Demings Admonitions

Before attempting to derive Dr. Deming’s Admonitions I shall first examine them and restate them somewhat without changing their meaning. As described on page 34 of Mary Walton’s book they consist of fourteen “points” to be embodied by the successful business, seven “deadly diseases” to be cured and/or avoided, and four “obstacles” to be overcome. As presented they are:

FOURTEEN POINTS:

1.  Create constancy of purpose for improvement of product and service.

2.  Adopt the new philosophy [the Admonitions]: Mistakes and negativism are unacceptable.

3.  Cease dependence on mass inspection.

4.  End the practice of awarding business on price tag alone.

5.  Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.

6.  Institute training. Teach workers to do their jobs.

7.  Institute leadership. Help people to do a better job.

8.  Drive out fear.

9.  Break down barriers between staff areas.

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the workforce.

11. Eliminate numerical quotas.

12. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship.

13. Institute a vigorous program of education and retraining. Stress teamwork and statistical technique.

14. Take action to accomplish the transformation.

SEVEN DEADLY DISEASES

1. Lack of constancy of purpose.

2. Emphasis on short-term profits.

3. Evaluation by performance, merit rating, or annual review of performance.

4. Mobility of management.

5. Running a company on visible figures alone.

6. Excessive medical costs.

7. Excessive costs of warranty fueled by lawyers that work for contingency fees.

FOUR OBSTACLES [THAT THWART PRODUCTIVITY]

1. Neglect of long range planning.

2. Relying on technology to solve problems.

3. Seeking examples to follow, rather than developing solutions [to problems].

4. Excuses. The belief that, “Our problems are different…”

Now we shall examine and restate these twenty-five Admonitions to make them susceptible to derivation. For starters let’s look at Deadly Diseases (6) and (7). We note that these are not features of the company being admonished; nor are they societal features in which any one company can effect change. They are, if anything admonitions to our society at large, not to a company per se. A society that properly applied the Ethics might cure these “diseases”; but these two admonitions have no relevance to the individual company; so we delete them from further discussion. Now we have only twenty-three Admonitions with which to deal.

Note that Points (6) and (13) both deal with education. We can combine them into the Admonition: “Institute a vigorous program of education, training, and retraining. Teach workers to do their jobs. Stress teamwork and statistical technique”. Now there are twenty-one Admonitions with no loss of information.

Finally, we note that there are really only six independent Admonitions, two of which imply the remaining fifteen; as follows.

1.   Adopt the new philosophy. Accept the Admonitions.

2.   Take action. Accomplish the transformation [implied by the admonitions].

3.   Commit to constantly and forever improve the product, the service, and the system that provides them.

4.   Institute vigorous education, training, and retraining of workers to do their jobs. Stress teamwork and statistical technique.

5.   Institute leadership.

a. Help people do a better job.

b. Encourage pride of workmanship.

c. Provide both opportunity and security, thereby reducing mobility of management.

d. Engage in long range planning.

e. Improve communication and cooperation between staff areas and between people.

6. Do what works; stop doing what doesn’t work.

a. Stop mass inspection.

b. Stop basing long-range decisions on short-term profits.

c. Stop trying to motivate workers with slogans, targets, and exhortations.

d. Stop relying on technology to solve problems.

e. Stop following examples; develop solutions.

f. Stop purchasing based on price tag alone.

g. Drive out fear; stop intimidating your personnel.

(1) Stop using numerical quotas as “motivation”.

(2) Stop using performance evaluations or reviews.

It is interesting to note that “Institute leadership” (number 5.) is a rather vague admonition. Admonitions (5.a.) through (5.e.) may be seen as a definition of sorts for the word “leadership”. Of course we see that if the company receiving the admonition already knows this definition, then (5.a.) through (5.e.) are redundant. They could be eliminated without loss.

Admonition number (6.) is really a common sense notion. Do what works. Don’t do what doesn’t work. As strange as it may seem, this is one of the most important of the Admonitions. In hierarchies generally, and in bureaucracies particularly, the decision to knowingly do what does not work is very common, even more so in government and non-profit bureaucracies than in industrial bureaucracies. Still it is common enough in industry to merit special attention.

I define the process of bureaucratization as the systematic elimination, destruction, or avoidance of corrective feedback. The noun, “bureaucracy” therefore means an organization of two or more people in which corrective feedback is systematically destroyed. As workers we withhold corrective feedback from our authoritarian “superiors” when we fear the consequences of being heard more than the consequences of remaining silent. Dr. Deming observed that the behaviors listed in (6.a.) through (6.g.) do not work. Given enough time they will destroy the motivation and morale, and hence the effectiveness, of any organization. Any thoughtful person who has spent more than a day in a bureaucratic work environment knows that the proof of this statement is visible in millions of instances (experiments) each day. The industry of Japan is proof that companies that de-bureaucratize in this sense are vastly more successful than those that don’t. Surely these statements conform to our stated definition of “truth and Falsehood”.

Do you accept the six revised “points”, including the corollaries of point (5.) and point (6.), as a full and adequate statement of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions; and agree that they are the logical equivalent of the original twenty-five points; and that they contain no more and no less information than the original twenty-five? If not please let us hear from you. If so let’s move on to a discussion of how the Ethics yields the same information…and more.

The Bill of Ethics Revisited

The Bill of Ethics defines an ethical act as one that increases creativity or any of its logical equivalents for someone without limiting or diminishing these resources for any person. Conversely, an act that limits or diminishes these resources for any person is unethical no matter who benefits from it. The various principles that follow this definition are logical consequences of the definition. In this sense it would be correct to say that all the principles and admonitions that can be derived from the Ethics are derivable from the definition alone. For the sake of clarity of exposition we will specify the derived principles that lead us to Deming’s Admonitions though we understand that while they are collectively sufficient to the derivation they may not all be necessary to it. The resulting redundancy is the result of the commonality of the source from which they derive. In other words the principles derived from the definition of the Ethics are not entirely independent of one another. I include them all here because they may be necessary to the readers understanding of the derivation, if not to the derivation itself. Accordingly I include six derived principles of the Ethics each of which, with one exception, has a relevant corollary.

They are as follows:

X. Section (1.1.) admonishes us to commit to the pursuit of ethical purposes by ethical means. Its corollary Section (3.01) requires us if so committed to maximize creativity and all of its discernible logical equivalents.

A. Section (3.03) advises us that any act that diminishes or limits another person’s creativity is unethical. The corollary (3.06) states that unethical means can never achieve ethical ends.

B. Section (3.07) notes that failure to take ethical action when we are able to do so is unethical. Its corollary (3.08) states that it is unethical to tolerate unethical behavior. Note that this principle derives most easily from Ethic (X.) above. Failure to take ethical action when we are able to do so would violate the commitment to maximize creativity.

C. Section (3.09) tells us that it is ethical to learn for only by doing so can we maximize our own awareness and access to objective truth; both of which are logical equivalents of creativity. The corollary (3.10) is that it is ethical to doubt; for doubt is the seed of which curiosity is the life force and new objective truth is the fruit. Again we see (X.) above leads to the necessity of (C.).

E. Section (4.1) states that the proper (ethical) role of laws, rules, regulations, and (by logical extension) standardized procedures is the empowerment of those persons who have made a moral commitment to live their lives as ethically as they can; who have in effect embraced the Ethics. This section does not have a relevant corollary. While this principle derives directly from the definitions of the Ethics we note that enforcement of any law, rule, or regulation that does not empower creativity must to some degree diminish it. This would violate Ethic (A.) above and would be unethical.

P. Section (4.2) states that it is the further proper (ethical) role of laws, rules, etc. to prohibit unethical behavior by most ethical means possible. Corollary to this Section (4.3) states that it is never the proper role of laws, rules, etc. to intrude, coerce, or interfere in the lives of anyone except as is truly necessary in order to accomplish the aims of Section (4.2) above…such intrusion even then to be that which is minimally required.

Referring to the above excerpts from the Ethics as Ethic X, Ethic A, Ethic B, Ethic C, Ethic E, and Ethic P we are now ready to actually perform the derivation of Dr. Deming ‘s Admonitions.

The Derivation

Let’s start with the first two Admonitions on the revised list. Assume we make the commitment of Ethic X and that we work for a company in which we have the opportunity to behave in accordance with the first two Admonitions. Can we now not adopt the new philosophy? If all the other Admonitions are derivable from the Ethics we have already adopted the new philosophy. On this one let’s wait and see. As for admonition (2), which tells us to take action and accomplish the transformation; clearly Ethic B specifically requires us to engage in ethical action whenever we can. Not to do so would be unethical.

Admonition (3) on the revised list tells us to commit to constant and perpetual improvement of the company’s product, service, and the system that provides them. This can be seen to be a direct consequence of Ethic X. To see this ask yourself, “How would we recognize an ‘improvement’ if we saw one. The obvious answer is that someone would have to benefit by it. We recognize a benefit by seeing an increase in creativity or one of its logical equivalents. In other words, Ethic X applied to the workplace requires exactly the same behavioral response as Admonition (3).

Admonition (4) tells us to institute education and training. This admonition can most easily be deduced from Ethic C. It is ethical to learn; therefore it is ethical to teach, educate, and train. If an employer has the means to provide this resource it would be unethical not to (from Ethic B). This makes the tacit assumption that the information being taught is true in the sense that we have discussed.

If Admonition (5), “Institute leadership” has previously been defined by paragraphs (5.a.) through (5.e.), then this admonition is derivable directly from Ethic XE “Ethics”  X. Clearly the terms of paragraphs (5.a.) through (5.e.) are all ethical acts under most circumstances. If “leadership” has not been previously defined in this way we would arrive at the same list of requisite actions in response to Ethic E, which tells us to empower others in their pursuit of ethical goals by ethical means. By examining what it means to “empower” another person we quickly discover that actions (5.a.) through (5.e.) are all necessary conditions for empowerment, though possibly not sufficient in and of themselves.

Objective analysis of American and Japanese industries clearly tells us what works and what doesn’t work in industry. Mass inspection, basing of long term decisions on short term profits, motivation by slogan, fixing the system technically without fixing it organizationally, making excuses, purchasing based on price tag alone, failing to develop solutions while copying models, and all forms of motivation by intimidation don’t work! To require people to participate in a system that does these things would be unethical and would be prohibited in any company that adopted Ethics A and P. Hence Ethics A and P demand the behavior that results from following Admonition (6.).

Finally we return to the consideration of Admonition (1) We see now that by making the commitment to Ethic X we have in fact “adopted the new philosophy. Hence our derivation is complete and we have shown that Dr. Deming ‘s Admonitions are in fact contained in the Bill of Ethics.

QED!

So What?!

As indicated earlier, we define bureaucracy as the systematic elimination, destruction, or avoidance of corrective feedback. In limiting corrective feedback we diminish people’s access to objective truth, which, in the possession of those who act ethically, is one of the logical equivalents of creativity. So any action, which contributes to the bureaucratization of an organization, is unethical. Yet bureaucracy is so widespread and pervasive of human culture as to be seen by the public at large as unavoidable, like “death and taxes”. In my view bureaucracy is the worst manifestation of the second Pernicious Fallacy in the world today. For this reason we applaud Dr. Deming and the legacy of his Admonitions as the greatest innovation in human culture since the “golden rule”. We also applaud the Japanese for having had the courage and the wisdom to attempt the application of the Admonitions on a massive scale.

You recall there were two of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions that dealt with excessive medical costs and excessive costs of warranty. We dismissed these as not relevant to the domain in which most corporate decisions could have any effect. Within that domain we see that the Admonitions form an ethical foundation adequate for most aspects of business. Why then do we imply that there is an advantage to be gained by replacing the Admonitions with the Ethics? If the leaders of a business cannot effect change in medical costs and costs or warranty, who can? Obviously we are addressing the needs of a bigger system here than those of a single business, or even the concatenation of all businesses. There are many organizations to which the Admonitions could not easily be applied; yet to which the Ethics might easily be adapted.

Unions, political parties, clerical groups, charities, research institutions, schools and universities comprise a few groups that are heavily bureaucratized and which would benefit enormously by being de-bureaucratized via the Ethics. Even more in need of such de-bureaucratization are governments and their departments, agencies, bureaus, legislatures, executives, cabinets, and minions in all their various forms. And finally, the most difficult undertaking, the military establishment and its traditionally entrenched hierarchic structures might conceivably be de-bureaucratized one day. A world in which most of these transitions has been achieved would be almost unrecognizable by today’s standards; almost inconceivable. Yet we ask ourselves, “If not in this way, how?  If not now, when will peace and opportunity become universally available?”

[1] See BORG WARS, Chapter 3 by Robert E. Podolsky, Creative Consulting Services and PageFree Publishing, 2004.

Evidence

 

THE EVIDENCE

Our current system of societal institutions is fraught with many obstacles to the enhancement of participants’ creativity. Not the least of these is the long-established custom of motivating participants with rewards and punishments within a hierarchic authority structure. The resulting culture instills fear in those affected: fear of getting the “wrong” answer, fear of getting poor reviews, fear of embarrassment and humiliation, and ultimately, fear of being fired on someone’s whim. Such fears inevitably limit or diminish our ability to be creative, and in many instances destroys this ability utterly.

Dr. Deming ’s Admonitions

An Excerpt from Heart and Mind by Robert E. Podolsky

Introduction
In 1950 Dr. W. Edward Deming transformed the world of industry. He did this by teaching the Japanese how to succeed in making products that would outsell those of all other nations. At that time “made in Japan” meant “cheap shoddy imitation” to most people around the world. Five years later Dr. Deming’s advice had made Japanese industry a force to be reckoned with in the world marketplace. Today, fifty years later, the Japanese credit Deming’s advice with their clearly dominant position in the world of manufacturing. How ironic it is that American auto manufacturers had laughed at Dr. Deming when he offered to teach them the wisdom of what he called “statistical quality control”.

Although revered in Japan Dr. Deming remained little known in the U.S. until recently. Now some American industrialists are scurrying to learn and apply what he taught the Japanese in 1950. Were it were not for the work of a few dedicated authors, Dr. Deming’s work might still be unknown in the U.S. today. In the five to ten years before his death in 1993 Dr. Deming formulated an American version of his advice to the Japanese. It contains all the valuable information to which the Japanese were privy as well as some advice specific to the needs of American industry. In this formulation, as reported in Mary Walton ‘s excellent book, the advice consists of fourteen “points”, seven “deadly diseases”, and four “obstacles” for American industry to be concerned about. For convenience sake we refer to this body of knowledge collectively as Dr. Deming’s twenty-five “Admonitions”.

It is my contention that these Admonitions are not just a convenient set of guidelines for the improvement of industry; but rather they constitute, together with the Japanese experience in applying them, the living proof of the validity of a broader set of principles from which the Admonitions can be logically derived. This broader set of principles, which I call the Titanian Bill of Ethics, may have the power to do for all humankind what the Admonitions have done for Japanese industry. It could spell the difference between human extinction and the long-range success of the human species.

In the pages that follow I intend first to describe briefly the Admonitions and their significance. Then I will turn our attention to the Bill of Ethics and briefly talk about its origins and structure; and identify the parts of it that are directly applicable to the derivation of the Admonitions. Next I will derive a simplified form of the admonitions that is logically equivalent to the original form, but simpler to deal with as a logical entity. Then I will set forth a reasonable credibility argument to the effect that each and every useful part of the Admonitions is demonstrably derivable from no more than six parts of the Bill of Ethics  and possibly from as few as two. I find this credibility argument so compelling that I shall leave it to others to set forth a more rigorous proof thereof. Naturally, I also invite opinions to the contrary.  Finally I intend to address the “So what?” concerning this derivation and discuss the reasons its general acceptance could be an important turning point for humanity.

The Significance of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions

Each year the Japanese government awards The Deming Prize to businesses and individuals who have made outstanding achievements in applying Dr. Deming’s Admonitions. In years when no significant advances have been made no prize is awarded. The Deming Prize is arguably the most sought after award in Japan . Everyone who works in Japan knows about it and strives to receive its award. Its recipients are given the highest respect the Japanese can confer. While American students are saluting the flag, Japanese children learn to recite the Admonitions.

In part this preoccupation of the Japanese is a celebration of their success on the battlefield of commerce; a vindication, of the ignominy of their defeat in W.W.II. But more than that, it is a celebration of the day-to-day experience of working in an environment that protects, nurtures, and appreciates them. It is emotionally rewarding to work for a company that takes the admonitions seriously. Point number seven is “Institute Leadership – Help people to do a better job”. Point number eight is “Drive out fear”. Point number eleven is “Eliminate numerical quotas”. Number twelve is “Remove barriers to pride of workmanship”. The third Deadly Disease is merit ratings and annual performance reviews. The Japanese have eliminated them. In the resulting environment workers experience a bond with the company and work as though they owned it. This includes making numerous suggestions for improvement of every feature of the work experience. Experimentation is commonplace in this environment because workers and managers are not afraid to make mistakes in their joint search for a better way. They become partners rather than adversaries.

Were American unions to really care about the well being of their members they would demand that the workplace be Demingized. Were members to get their way the unions would have to disband because their adversarial stance would be a barrier to the effective application of the Admonitions. Japanese factories in the United States are run in this same way. They are never unionized. Who needs a union to speak for them when they can speak for themselves and be heard by sympathetic ears? The Demingized work environment, also known as the Total Quality work environment, is a joy to be a part of compared with traditional authoritarian workplaces. Workers in this setting generally feel valued, appreciated for their ideas and opinions, rewarded for their efforts, and inherently belonging to their society. Accordingly they feel safe and happy most of the time.

The key to understanding the extraordinary power of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions is the recognition that they constitute more than a recipe for profitability. Success is more than making money. It involves optimizing as much as possible the quality of life of all involved. For a business it means attending conscientiously to the needs of the company’s suppliers, customers, employees, sales force, and advertisers: In short, everyone who comes in contact with the company; and not just the company’s owners.  When you think this through, you will recognize that the adoption of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions requires a company to become more aware of and more responsive to the personal wishes of all of these people. To accomplish this a company has to make a moral commitment to a higher standard of ethics than does the company that runs according to hierarchically authoritarian principles.  In organizational development terms, the culture of the organization must become ethical. An organization’s culture is the model employed to standardize the relationship between a supervisor and a supervisee. We will have more to say about this later.

About the Bill of Ethics

Dr. Deming ‘s Admonitions can be derived from the Bill of Ethicsit will prove that the Ethics is at least a logically equivalent statement. In fact I will show that the Ethics is a far more general and far-reaching statement; that Dr. Deming’s Admonitions constitute only a small subset of the logical consequences of the Ethics. Moreover, since it is generally agreed that a form of the Admonitions has beneficially transformed Japanese industry, it is a small step inductively to suspect that a similarly committed application of the Ethics might have a vastly greater set of benefits to offer the nation that took the Ethics as seriously as the Japanese took the Admonitions. For this reason it is important to understand the Ethics somewhat before going through the formal steps of the derivation.

For a complete description of the thinking that culminated in the Ethics read MAKE IT SO! and the text of the Bill of Ethics itself. More briefly, Gregory R. Sulliger and I wrote the Ethics as a result of a detailed study that we performed from 1985 to 1992. In this study we analyzed the problems that our species seems to face and looked for plausible solutions to them. Worldwide adoption of the Ethics or its logical equivalent is the only solution we have found so far that appears to be both necessary and sufficient to a thriving humanity. We don’t doubt that there are many other possible solutions, but we suspect that most of them will prove to be the logical equivalents of the Ethics. Such logical equivalents are to be highly valued, because individuals who will not take seriously the Ethics in its present form will take some of them seriously.

In 1992, when we set down the Bill of Ethics in its present form, we actually wrote three versions of it: The first is a proposed amendment to the Oregon state constitution; the second is a proposed amendment to the US constitution; and the third is a generic form that can be adopted as an amendment to the constitution or bylaws of any organization. It is this latter form that is included in this document.  At that time we had heard of Dr. Deming’s work but were unfamiliar with its content. When we started reading the Admonitions we realized that Dr. Deming had caused significant portions of the Ethics to be put into practice on a massive scale in Japan. The success of the Japanese experiment was “proof” of the validity of our work. We put quotes around the word, “proof” in recognition of the fact that the Japanese experiment has not tested all of the logical consequences of the Ethics, only some of them. In fact it has not tested all the consequences of the Admonitions. One cannot know all the logical consequences of any statement with certainty.

Experimentation proves correct

Dr. Deming ‘s Admonitions have been demonstrated to be “true” by the great experiment of the Japanese. I have written this chapter to assert that the Admonitions are part of a greater “truth” that we have described in the Bill of Ethics. There are two parts to this statement. The first is that the Admonitions are logically contained in the Ethics. The second is to demonstrate the “truth” of the Ethics. The first is just an exercise in logic. The second can only be accomplished by experiment. The point to be made concerning this is that the Japanese experiment demonstrates the “truth” of the portion of the Ethics contained in the Admonitions. If this seems unclear consider the definition of “true” information. Information is said to be true if belief that it is true increases one’s ability to detect, predict, and initiate causal relationships between events in the observable universe. Information is said to be false if belief that it is true limits or reduces one’s ability to detect, predict, and initiate causal relationships between such events. If information is neither true nor false it is said to be trivial. Most valuable information is not true under all circumstances. If the description of those circumstances under which a statement is true are made part of the statement, the truth of that statement becomes very well defined. The statement, “Success will be attained by the company that properly applies the Admonitions”, has been proven true for many industrial companies in Japan . Early results from American companies attempting the same experiment indicate that the statement is probably true for American companies as well.

Now consider the statement, “Success will be attained by the company that properly applies the Ethics. If our logic (yet to be stated) is correct, we know this statement to be true within the same limits for which the previous statement is true; because the Admonitions are contained in the Ethics. This fact makes the Ethics very credible.  Based on this line of reasoning we pose the question: What if the statement, “Success will be attained by the organization, government, or species that properly applies the Ethics” is at least equally true? We suspect it is generally true. My goal is to see the relevant experiments performed. I will return to this line of reasoning in the “So What?” section concluding this chapter. Meanwhile, just consider: Let’s Make it So!

Restating Dr. Deming’s Admonitions

Before attempting to derive Dr. Deming’s Admonitions I shall first examine them and restate them somewhat without changing their meaning. As described on page 34 of Mary Walton’s book they consist of fourteen “points” to be embodied by the successful business, seven “deadly diseases” to be cured and/or avoided, and four “obstacles” to be overcome. As presented they are:

FOURTEEN POINTS:

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improvement of product and service.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy [the Admonitions]: Mistakes and negativism are unacceptable.
  3. Cease dependence on mass inspection.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on price tag alone.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.
  6. Institute training. Teach workers to do their jobs.
  7. Institute leadership. Help people to do a better job.
  8. Drive out fear.
  9. Break down barriers between staff areas.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the workforce.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas.
  12. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and retraining. Stress teamwork and statistical technique.
  14. Take action to accomplish the transformation.

SEVEN DEADLY DISEASES

  1. Lack of constancy of purpose.
  2. Emphasis on short-term profits.
  3. Evaluation by performance, merit rating, or annual review of performance.4. Mobility of management.
  4. Running a company on visible figures alone.
  5. Excessive medical costs.
  6. Excessive costs of warranty fueled by lawyers that work for contingency fees.

FOUR OBSTACLES [THAT THWART PRODUCTIVITY]

  1. Neglect of long range planning.
  2. Relying on technology to solve problems.
  3. Seeking examples to follow, rather than developing solutions [to problems].
  4. Excuses. The belief that, “Our problems are different…’

Now we shall examine and restate these twenty-five Admonitions to make them susceptible to derivation. For starters let’s look at Deadly Diseases (6) and (7). We note that these are not features of the company being admonished; nor are they societal features in which any one company can effect change. They are, if anything admonitions to our society at large, not to a company per se. A society that properly applied the Ethics might cure these “diseases”; but these two admonitions have no relevance to the individual company; so we delete them from further discussion. Now we have only twenty-three Admonitions with which to deal.

Next we note that Points (1) and (5) say almost the same thing, so we will combine them into one statement about purpose and improvement: “Commit to constantly and forever improve the product, the service, and the system that provides them.” This reduces the number of independent statements to twenty-two.

Note that Points (6) and (13) both deal with education. We can combine them into the Admonition: “Institute a vigorous program of education, training, and retraining. Teach workers to do their jobs. Stress teamwork and statistical technique”. Now there are twenty-one Admonitions with no loss of information.

Finally, we note that there are really only six independent Admonitions, two of which imply the remaining fifteen; as follows.

1.  Adopt the new philosophy. Accept the Admonitions.
2.  Take action. Accomplish the transformation [implied by the admonitions].
3.  Commit to constantly and forever improve the product, the service, and the system that provides them.
4.  Institute vigorous education, training, and retraining of workers to do their jobs. Stress teamwork and statistical technique.
5. Institute leadership.
a. Help people do a better job.
b. Encourage pride of workmanship.
c. Provide both opportunity and security, thereby reducing mobility of management.
d. Engage in long range planning.
e. Improve communication and cooperation between staff areas and between people.
6. Do what works; stop doing what doesn’t work.
a. Stop mass inspection.
b. Stop basing long-range decisions on short-term profits.
c. Stop trying to motivate workers with slogans, targets, and exhortations.
d. Stop relying on technology to solve problems.
e. Stop following examples; develop solutions.
f. Stop purchasing based on price tag alone.
g. Drive out fear; stop intimidating your personnel.
(1) Stop using numerical quotas as “motivation”.
(2) Stop using performance evaluations or reviews.

It is interesting to note that “Institute leadership” (number 5.) is a rather vague admonition. Admonitions (5.a.) through (5.e.) may be seen as a definition of sorts for the word “leadership”. Of course we see that if the company receiving the admonition already knows this definition, then (5.a.) through (5.e.) are redundant. They could be eliminated without loss.

Admonition number (6.) is really a common sense notion. Do what works. Don’t do what doesn’t work. As strange as it may seem, this is one of the most important of the Admonitions. In hierarchies generally, and in bureaucracies particularly, the decision to knowingly do what does not work is very common, even more so in government and non-profit bureaucracies than in industrial bureaucracies. Still it is common enough in industry to merit special attention.

I define the process of bureaucratization as the systematic elimination, destruction, or avoidance of corrective feedback . The noun, “bureaucracy” therefore means an organization of two or more people in which corrective feedback is systematically destroyed. As workers we withhold corrective feedback from our authoritarian “superiors” when we fear the consequences of being heard more than the consequences of remaining silent. Dr. Deming observed that the behaviors listed in (6.a.) through (6.g.) do not work. Given enough time they will destroy the motivation and morale, and hence the effectiveness, of any organization. Any thoughtful person who has spent more than a day in a bureaucratic work environment knows that the proof of this statement is visible in millions of instances (experiments) each day. The industry of Japan is proof that companies that de-bureaucratize in this sense are vastly more successful than those that don’t. Surely these statements conform to our stated definition of “truth and Falsehood”.

Do you accept the six revised “points”, including the corollaries of point (5.) and point (6.), as a full and adequate statement of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions; and agree that they are the logical equivalent of the original twenty-five points; and that they contain no more and no less information than the original twenty-five? If not please let us hear from you. If so let’s move on to a discussion of how the Ethics yields the same information…and more.

The Bill of Ethics Revisited

The Bill of Ethics defines an ethical act as one that increases creativity or any of its logical equivalents for someone without limiting or diminishing these resources for any person. Conversely, an act that limits or diminishes these resources for any person is unethical no matter who benefits from it. The various principles that follow this definition are logical consequences of the definition. In this sense it would be correct to say that all the principles and admonitions that can be derived from the Ethics are derivable from the definition alone. For the sake of clarity of exposition we will specify the derived principles that lead us to Deming’s Admonitions though we understand that while they are collectively sufficient to the derivation they may not all be necessary to it. The resulting redundancy is the result of the commonality of the source from which they derive. In other words the principles derived from the definition of the Ethics are not entirely independent of one another. I include them all here because they may be necessary to the readers understanding of the derivation, if not to the derivation itself. Accordingly I include six derived principles of the Ethics each of which, with one exception, has a relevant corollary.

They are as follows:

· X. Section (1.1.) admonishes us to commit to the pursuit of ethical purposes by ethical means. Its corollary Section (3.01) requires us if so committed to maximize creativity and all of its discernible logical equivalents.

· A. Section (3.03) advises us that any act that diminishes or limits another person’s creativity is unethical. The corollary (3.06) states that unethical means can never achieve ethical ends.

· B. Section (3.07) notes that failure to take ethical action when we are able to do so is unethical. Its corollary (3.08) states that it is unethical to tolerate unethical behavior. Note that this principle derives most easily from Ethic (X.) above. Failure to take ethical action when we are able to do so would violate the commitment to maximize creativity.

· C. Section (3.09) tells us that it is ethical to learn for only by doing so can we maximize our own awareness and access to objective truth; both of which are logical equivalents of creativity. The corollary (3.10) is that it is ethical to doubt; for doubt is the seed of which curiosity is the life force and new objective truth is the fruit. Again we see (X.) above leads to the necessity of (C.).

· E. Section (4.1) states that the proper (ethical) role of laws, rules, regulations, and (by logical extension) standardized procedures is the empowerment of those persons who have made a moral commitment to live their lives as ethically as they can; who have in effect embraced the Ethics. This section does not have a relevant corollary. While this principle derives directly from the definitions of the Ethics we note that enforcement of any law, rule, or regulation that does not empower creativity must to some degree diminish it. This would violate Ethic (A.) above and would be unethical.

· P. Section (4.2) states that it is the further proper (ethical) role of laws, rules, etc. to prohibit unethical behavior by most ethical means possible. Corollary to this Section (4.3) states that it is never the proper role of laws, rules, etc. to intrude, coerce, or interfere in the lives of anyone except as is truly necessary in order to accomplish the aims of Section (4.2) above…such intrusion even then to be that which is minimally required.

Referring to the above excerpts from the Ethics as Ethic X, Ethic A, Ethic B, Ethic C, Ethic E, and Ethic P we are now ready to actually perform the derivation of Dr. Deming ‘s Admonitions.

The Derivation
Let’s start with the first two Admonitions on the revised list. Assume we make the commitment of Ethic X and that we work for a company in which we have the opportunity to behave in accordance with the first two Admonitions. Can we now not adopt the new philosophy? If all the other Admonitions are derivable from the Ethics we have already adopted the new philosophy. On this one let’s wait and see. As for admonition (2), which tells us to take action and accomplish the transformation; clearly Ethic B specifically requires us to engage in ethical action whenever we can. Not to do so would be unethical.

Admonition (3) on the revised list tells us to commit to constant and perpetual improvement of the company’s product, service, and the system that provides them. This can be seen to be a direct consequence of Ethic X. To see this ask yourself, “How would we recognize an ‘improvement’ if we saw one. The obvious answer is that someone would have to benefit by it. We recognize a benefit by seeing an increase in creativity or one of its logical equivalents. In other words, Ethic X applied to the workplace requires exactly the same behavioral response as Admonition (3).

Admonition (4) tells us to institute education and training. This admonition can most easily be deduced from Ethic C. It is ethical to learn; therefore it is ethical to teach, educate, and train. If an employer has the means to provide this resource it would be unethical not to (from Ethic B). This makes the tacit assumption that the information being taught is true in the sense that we have discussed.

If Admonition (5), “Institute leadership” has previously been defined by paragraphs (5.a.) through (5.e.), then this admonition is derivable directly from Ethic XE “Ethics”  X. Clearly the terms of paragraphs (5.a.) through (5.e.) are all ethical acts under most circumstances. If “leadership” has not been previously defined in this way we would arrive at the same list of requisite actions in response to Ethic E, which tells us to empower others in their pursuit of ethical goals by ethical means. By examining what it means to “empower” another person we quickly discover that actions (5.a.) through (5.e.) are all necessary conditions for empowerment, though possibly not sufficient in and of themselves.

Objective analysis of American and Japanese industries clearly tells us what works and what doesn’t work in industry. Mass inspection, basing of long term decisions on short term profits, motivation by slogan, fixing the system technically without fixing it organizationally, making excuses, purchasing based on price tag alone, failing to develop solutions while copying models, and all forms of motivation by intimidation don’t work! To require people to participate in a system that does these things would be unethical and would be prohibited in any company that adopted Ethics A and P. Hence Ethics A and P demand the behavior that results from following Admonition (6.).

Finally we return to the consideration of Admonition (1) We see now that by making the commitment to Ethic X we have in fact “adopted the new philosophy. Hence our derivation is complete and we have shown that Dr. Deming ‘s Admonitions are in fact contained in the Titanian Bill of Ethics.

QED!

So What?!

As indicated earlier, we define bureaucracy as the systematic elimination, destruction, or avoidance of corrective feedback. In limiting corrective feedback we diminish people’s access to objective truth, which, in the possession of those who act ethically, is one of the logical equivalents of creativity. So any action, which contributes to the bureaucratization of an organization, is unethical. Yet bureaucracy is so widespread and pervasive of human culture as to be seen by the public at large as unavoidable, like “death and taxes”. In my view bureaucracy is the worst manifestation of the  Comforting Lie 2. ethical ends by unethical means in the world today. For this reason we applaud Dr. Deming and the legacy of his Admonitions as the greatest innovation in human culture since the “golden rule”. We also applaud the Japanese for having had the courage and the wisdom to attempt the application of the Admonitions on a massive scale.

You recall there were two of Dr. Deming’s Admonitions that deal with excessive medical costs and excessive costs of warranty. We dismissed these as not relevant to the domain in which most corporate decisions could have any effect. Within that domain we see that the Admonitions form an ethical foundation adequate for most aspects of business. Why then do we imply that there is an advantage to be gained by replacing the Admonitions with the Ethics? If the leaders of a business cannot effect change in medical costs and costs or warranty, who can? Obviously we are addressing the needs of a bigger system here than those of a single business, or even the concatenation of all businesses. There are many organizations to which the Admonitions could not easily be applied; yet to which the Ethics might easily be adapted.

Unions, political parties, clerical groups, charities, research institutions, schools and universities comprise a few groups that are heavily bureaucratized and which would benefit enormously by being de-bureaucratized via the Ethics. Even more in need of such de-bureaucratization are governments and their departments, agencies, bureaus, legislatures, executives, cabinets, and minions in all their various forms. And finally, the most difficult undertaking, the military establishment and its traditionally entrenched hierarchic structures might conceivably be de-bureaucratized one day. A world in which most of these transitions has been achieved would be almost unrecognizable by today’s standards; almost inconceivable. Yet we ask ourselves, “If not in this way, how?  If not now, when will peace and opportunity become universally available?”

Now that you’ve seen the evidence that Titania can succeed, let’s look at a couple of ethical projects that Titania is planning to launch. We’ll start with the Titanian Academic Education Project.

[1] Robert E.Podolsky had given up a ten-year career in theoretical physics to become a therapist in private practice in 1974. In 1991 Gregory R. Sulliger was nearing retirement as a civil commitment investigator for Lane County, Oregon.

[2] See THE BILL OF ETHICS.

[3] See Dr. Deming’s Admonitions.

Titanian Academic Education Project

 

TITANIAN™ ACADEMIC EDUCATION PROJECT

Introduction

Our current educational system is fraught with many obstacles to the development of a student’s creativity. Not the least of these is the long-established custom of motivating students with rewards and punishments. Students under this system earn rewards and avoid punishments by achieving high test scores on tests that measure their ability to regurgitate old information rather than to create new information. The resulting culture instills fear in the students affected: fear of getting the “wrong” answer, fear of getting low grades, and fear of embarrassment and humiliation. Such fears inevitably limit or diminish the student’s ability to be creative, and in many instances destroys this ability utterly.

Japanese Historical Lesson

In 1950 a similar situation plagued the manufacturing industries of Japan, which were still attempting to recover from World War II. At that time Japanese industrial creativity was at an all time low, so the words “made in Japan” were considered worldwide to mean “cheap shoddy imitation”. Having little to lose, Japanese industrialists decided to apply the management methodology suggested to them by the American expert, William Edward Deming. So effective were Deming’s suggestions, which he unassumingly labeled “Statistical Quality Control”, that within five years Japanese industry had regained the respect of industrialists the world over. By 1960 Japanese industries ranked among the world’s best, and by 1965 they were outperforming their overseas competitors without exception. Clearly, this phenomenal success by Japanese industry proves that Dr. Deming’s suggestions acted as a powerful catalyst of industrial creativity.

In the years that followed, Japanese educators attempted to apply Deming’s management methodology to the field of education. But this worthy experiment failed to do for Japanese education what the preceding experiment had done for Japanese industry. We know now how it failed and how to correct the errors made in the attempt.

The Podolsky-Sulliger Contribution

In 1991 two mental health professionals, Robert E. Podolsky and Gregory R. Sulliger, were haunted by the fact that humanity is failing to evolve socially in spite of making rapid advances technologically. Seeing this situation as potentially fatal for humankind, they set out to discover what would have to happen for the trend to be reversed and for humanity to thrive in a realistically imaginable future. In 1993, after analyzing and discussing this question for two years, the two put down on paper a set of definitions and principles which, if widely adopted by our societal institutions, might suffice to ensure humanity’s long-term success as a species. They called this document the Bill of Ethics.

In 2001 it came to Podolsky’s attention that Dr. Deming’s admonitions to Japanese industry, as well as to industry generally, had a logical relationship to the Bill of Ethics. By analyzing the two sets of principles together he soon proved that Deming’s Admonitions comprise a subset of the logical consequences of the Bill of Ethics and wrote up this proof in an article called, “Dr. Deming’s Admonitions” This discovery is significant in two ways. First, it proves that application of the principles contained in the Bill of Ethics to the workings of industry produces a massive increase in that industry’s creativity and vastly increases its success, thus confirming the validity of the Bill of Ethics as applied to industry.

Secondly, Podolsky’s discovery opened the way for him to examine the Japanese’ ill-fated experiment with Demingized education through the “logical lens” of the Bill of Ethics. In doing so he quickly discovered how the Japanese had gone astray in their attempt to apply Deming’s industrial admonitions to their educational system. He then went on to derive from the Bill of Ethics a new set of Deming-esque admonitions that comprise the core of the new student-centered educational paradigm that we call the Titanian Academic Education Project. To follow his reasoning and read his conclusions, refer to “Ethical Education” reproduced below.

Conclusion

We in Titania stand ready to share with you the new educational paradigm and, should you choose to adopt it, to consult with you concerning the challenges that you will doubtlessly encounter as you begin to deploy it in practice. We are confident that if you and your colleagues learn and persevere, we may all one day live in a world of peace, love, creativity, and freedom.

ETHICAL EDUCATION
The Application of Deming
Management Methods to Education

An Excerpt from
Heart and Mind
by Robert E. Podolsky

Abstract:

This article points out briefly some of the weaknesses in the Japanese interpretation of Deming’s principles as applied to education and explains how the success of Deming’s method in industry is due mainly to the ethical principles inherent in that method.  Then a new set of Deming-style admonitions for education is derived to conform to these ethical principles and the suggestion is made that future experiments in quality-conscious education utilize these admonitions rather than Deming’s original “fourteen points”. 

Introduction

On the website of the International Journal of Educational Management appears a well written 1995 article by Kosaku Yoshida “Kosaku Yoshida”  of the School of Management, California State University, Carson, California, USA.  The article is entitled The Deming Approach to Education: A Comparative Study of the USA and Japan [1].  This article contains much that is excellent concerning the managerial principles pioneered by Dr. William Edwards Deming and proven so efficacious by the great experiment conducted by Japanese industry.  The article also explains many of the features of the Japanese system of public education, especially the relation between cooperative education as practiced in Japanese classrooms and Deming’s admonition to reduce variation in a company’s products.

It is indeed most laudable that the Japanese have the courage and wisdom to attempt applying Deming’s management methods to education; and it is most encouraging that a similar attempt is being made in some American school systems.  As Dr. Yoshida points out, however, the Japanese educational system is not without its flaws.  It is desirable therefore that those wishing to emulate the Japanese attempt at Deming-style education be aware of the mistakes that have been made by the Japanese in this attempt; and hopefully avoid duplicating the mistakes along with the successful elements of the method.

In the present article I point out briefly some of the weaknesses in the Japanese interpretation of Deming’s principles as applied to education and explain how the success of Deming’s method in industry is due mainly to the ethical principles inherent in that method.  Then I derive a new set of admonitions for education to conform to these ethical principles and suggest that future experiments in quality-conscious education utilize these admonitions rather than Deming’s original “fourteen points”.

The Power of Dr. Deming’s Method

As the Japanese have proven industrially there can be no doubt that the Deming management method is powerful and effective; in fact the most successful approach to industrial management in existence today.  This fact is widely known.  Not so well understood is the source of this managerial power.  Many newcomers to Deming’s methodology have assumed that the power is derived from the mathematics tying managerial statistics to measurable observables that characterize the performance of the system under scrutiny.  This assumption is false.  While measurement and mathematical precision are necessary to the successful application of the Deming method they are not sufficient.  They are artifacts of the system; but they are not the source of its power.

As I have suggested elsewhere, the source of the power of Dr. Deming’s admonitions as applied to industry is the fact that their application results in improved ethical relations between all the people who come in contact with one another as a result of the presence of the company using the method.  In order to apply the Deming method successfully outside the industrial realm for which it was intended the relation between Deming’s method and its underlying ethics must be clearly understood.  Only then can this powerful method be properly reformatted for use in education, government, charity, religion, and any number of other settings in which one might want to derive the benefits inherent in the method’s power.  In examining the method from this perspective we can gain a still more “profound” appreciation of the forces at work when the Deming method is properly applied.

Questions Unasked…and Unanswered

It is a substantive weakness of the Japanese educational system that the following questions have not been properly asked and answered:

· Is it optimal that the “product” of Japanese education is competent (high-scoring) workers?
· If the “customer” is industry; who ultimately pays the costs and what are they?
· If the supplier is the student’s family, what is the quid pro quo?
· What is the competitive significance of the fact that cooperative groups evolve leaders?
· How are cooperatively taught children to learn to compete?
· Why change from cooperative education at lower levels to competitive college entrance later?
· What is the significance of the existence of “prestigious schools” successful competition for which confers financial rewards?
· What does it mean if variation of student performance is made less than variation of innate ability?

Omissions in Dr. Yoshida’s Article

It is possible that the Japanese have already considered the following points; but Dr. Yoshida’s article does not discuss them; and they are critical for optimization of the Deming-based educational system:

  • Until the ultimate purpose of education is well defined and the supplier / “manufacturer” / customer roles properly established (or dropped altogether) it is inappropriate to define what process corresponds to reduction of variation in the “product”.
  • Deming’s admonitions pertain to manufacturing; but not necessarily to education.  Translation from one realm to the other is more complex than treated in the article. In education maximization of academic test performance does not necessarily optimize the system; in fact probably not.
  • Before a system can be optimized strategically via the Deming method it must be optimized ethically.  If this is not done the system will amplify ethical weaknesses and eventually destroy itself.
  • The source of value in the Deming method is the fact that when applied in an industrial setting it adds positive ethical features to systems that are otherwise often devoid of true ethical controls.
  • Deming’s admonitions are shown elsewhere to be the logical consequences of a more general set of ethical principles (The Bill of Ethics)More about this is described below.
  • To translate the Deming method into the educational realm I suggest it is necessary to derive educational admonitions from the more general Bill of Ethics.
  • Competition is an important part of life and a cornerstone of evolution.  Ethical schools must provide an ethical means for children to learn to participate in competition.

Definitions
Throughout the rest of this article repeated mention will be made of several terms that must be defined at the outset.

  • Dr. Deming ’s Admonitions: I use this expression to include the original “Fourteen Points” that Deming called to the attention of American industry in combination with both the “Seven Deadly Diseases” that he said plagued western businesses and with the “Four Obstacles” that he said must be overcome to make an industrial company function optimally.  For details of these twenty-five admonitions I refer the reader to page 34 of Mary Walton’s excellent book for beginners in this field [2]. See also the previous chapter of this book.
  • The Ethics: In its simplest form this expression can be said to refer in this article to the definition of an ethical act and the logical consequences thereof.  For an extensive explanation of these terms I refer the reader to Book 2 of this series.  Briefly I choose to define an ethical act as any act that increases creativity, and/or any of its logical equivalents (see below), for at least one person (including the person acting) without limiting or diminishing creativity for anyone.

From the above definition the Bill of Ethics deduces the ten main principles needed to make ethical day-to-day decisions on a practical basis.  It also delineates the relationship between ethics and law implied by the definition above.  At times I will refer to the Bill of Ethics and its logical consequences as “the Ethics”.

  • Creativity may be seen as the product of ethical awareness and intelligence, as symbolized by the equation: C=EI.  As such it may be increased in two ways; by increasing someone’s ethical awareness (or equivalently their degree of personal evolution, love, and/or growth) or by increasing the intelligence of someone who doesn’t use their intelligence destructively (say by increasing their access to objective truth, their grasp of true information, their access to energy, or their freedom); where by intelligence generally I mean the ability to predict and control the environment or to initiate and sustain causal relationships between events in the observable world. Hence “increasing creativity” encompasses any increase in any of the resources listed above or in any other resource that increases awareness or intelligence.
  • Logical Equivalents of Creativity:  By this expression we refer to those resources that must increase when creativity is increased and decrease when creativity is diminished, or vice versa, as explained above.  Conversely when any logically equivalent resource is changed creativity must change accordingly. There is no limit to how many such equivalencies one may list.
  • Persons or People: Since ethical discrimination only applies to the acts of people or persons (the acts of young children and animals, for example, are ethically neutral or natural; neither ethical nor unethical) it is necessary that we define what we mean by “person” in this context.  I call a “person” any being that possesses awareness of his or her (or its) own awareness.  Thus dolphins, whales, elephants, and chimpanzees would be included in this definition; but chickens and butterflies would not.  In the not-too-distant future there are likely to be machines that qualify as “persons” in this sense.

Deming and Ethics

Now we are ready to discuss the relationship between Dr. Deming’s admonitions and the ethics of business.  I have shown elsewhere that the entire Deming methodology as defined by the Admonitions can be proven to be a subset of the logical consequences of the Ethics.  This makes it obvious that at their core the Admonitions are ethical admonitions rather than statistical or technical admonitions.  In other words, if an industrial company were to adopt the Bill of Ethics as the keystone of its bylaws, and if the terms of the bylaws were strictly enforced, the company would have to be managed in accordance with the Deming Admonitions.  And it is possible that other admonitions might also be derived that are not contained in the twenty-five principles set down by Dr. Deming.  But at the very least his admonitions would have to be upheld.  Let’s see what the implications are for education.

Adapting the Admonitions to Education

Since Dr. Deming’s Admonitions are logical consequences of The Ethics as applied to industry, there will be nothing lost ethically if we properly adapt the admonitions to the educational environment.  In the previous chapter I restated the Admonitions as follows with no loss of information and none added to the Deming formulation:

1. Adopt the new philosophy. Accept the Admonitions.
2. Take action. Accomplish the transformation [implied by the admonitions].
3. Commit to constantly and forever improve the product, the service, and the system that provides them.
4. Institute vigorous education, training, and retraining of workers to do their jobs. Stress teamwork and statistical technique.

5. Institute leadership.

5.a. Help people do a better job.
5.b. Encourage pride of workmanship.
5.c. Provide both opportunity and security, thereby reducing mobility of management.
5.d. Engage in long range planning.
5.e. Improve communication and cooperation between staff areas and between people.

6.  Do what works; stop doing what doesn’t work.

6.a. Stop mass inspection.
6.b. Stop basing long range decisions on short term considerations.
6.c. Stop trying to motivate educators with slogans, targets, and exhortations.
6.d. Stop relying on technology to solve problems; but incorporate it into the methodology
6.e. Stop following examples; develop specific solutions.
6.f. Stop purchasing based on price tag alone.
6.g. Drive out fear; stop intimidating your personnel.
6.g(1) Stop using numerical quotas, tests, and grades as “motivation”.
6.g(2) Stop using performance evaluations or reviews.
Clearly, Admonitions 1., 2., 4., and 5. are applicable and usable in their current forms.  Admonition 6. is applicable, but detailed admonitions 6.a. through 6.g. require some changes; so for the time being we will use the following list as a starting point for the new Educational Admonitions:

1. Adopt the new philosophy. Accept the Admonitions.
2. Take action. Accomplish the transformation [implied by the admonitions].
3. Institute vigorous education, training, and retraining of workers to do their jobs. Stress teamwork and statistical technique.
4. Institute leadership.

4.a. Help people do a better job.
4.b. Encourage pride of workmanship.
4.c. Provide both opportunity and security, thereby reducing mobility of management.
4.d. Engage in long range planning.
4.e. Improve communication and cooperation between staff areas and between people.

5. Do what works; stop doing what doesn’t work.

Now let’s consider Admonition 3.: Commit to constantly and forever improve the product, the service, and the system that provides them.  This is the crux of the challenge in adapting Dr. Deming’s Admonitions to the educational arena.  We need to know answers to these questions:

1.    What is the product?
2.    What is the service?
3.    Who is being served?
4.    What is the system that provides the product/service?
5.    Is a business model, involving products, services, providers, and customers, appropriate to education?

What Education Is

As young children we are told that we have to go to school to learn the skills we will need as adults in today’s world; to get jobs; to make a living.  In effect we are told that it is we who are being served by education.  Most us of accept this explanation; but few of us believe it.  And still fewer thrive on the experience.  The reality is that most children don’t like school.  They endure it.  Later they rationalize the coercion of school by saying, “It was for our own good; we couldn’t be making a living without it; and so forth.”  Then they go out and tell their own children the same lame excuses.  Who benefits from these lies?

Albert Einstein once compared attendance at public school with the experience of a ravenous tiger that is force-fed until it has no appetite left at all.  Children, in case the reader has forgotten, come into the world with an intense appetite for information… useful, true information.  This appetite is called “curiosity”.  Yet by the age of eighteen most children have had most of their curiosity drilled out of them.  They don’t love to learn any more.  What kind of “education” does this to children?  How can it possibly serve them?  In fact it doesn’t.  Why then has our educational system become what it is today?

I maintain that a publicly funded school system that trains competent workers to participate in the nation’s industries and which sorts and pigeonholes them by subject matter and grades predominantly benefits the prospective employers.  By perusing diplomas and grade transcripts the prospective employer can identify those individuals most likely to meet their needs at minimal cost for testing and training.  Who said it was the responsibility of the public, the student, the parents of the student, or the educational institution to spare the employer such costs?  Yet this is what the public has accepted the world over.  But it isn’t the employee who gets to enjoy the profits that a business generates; it is the employer or business owner.

Like it or not this is the system that is.  As education changed from the “broadening experience” of Liberal Arts enjoyed by the well-to-do to the job-training experience almost universally experienced today, the customer for education shifted from the individual student to the future employer.  Seen as a business, today’s educational system manufactures workers for the use of employers.  The suppliers of raw materials are the parents of the students and, as far as publicly funded education is concerned, the taxpayer foots the bill.  Note too that most taxpayers don’t get to spend the corporate profits generated by the “use” of the product workers.  In most situations it is the customer who pays for the product and enjoys its use.  Somehow in this situation the taxpayer has been duped.  Surely this is not ethical.  Let’s not be fooled by rationalizations about how the taxpayer benefits from the resulting “good economy”; or how the public owns the stock that represents the hiring corporation; or any of the rest of such nonsense that we are commonly told.  The vast majority of taxpayers don’t receive any dividends.  A tiny minority enjoys the benefit of vast corporate dividends.  The rest of us just go along with the plan and facilitate the continuation of what is.

So we are ready now to examine education through the lens of The Ethics and to discover what education could be if it were truly ethical; as we might imagine Dr. Deming would have admonished us to make it if he had applied his principles to education rather than to industry.

Educational Ethics

Article 3 of the Bill of Ethics enumerates the following principles that are logical consequences of our definition of an ethical act and which apply directly to education:

3.1    …to act ethically each person must do their utmost to maximize creativity and its equivalents.
3.2    Ethical actions always increase someone’s creativity;
3.3    Ethical actions never destroy, limit or diminish anyone’s creativity;
3.4    From the foregoing we infer that unethical means can never achieve ethical ends, this principle rejecting the notion that we  can ethically sacrifice the creativity of the individual for the “greater good” of society, the “many”, and so forth; from which it follows that:
3.5    Unethical means always produce unethical results (ends); trivial means always produce trivial results at best; and similarly
3.6    Means which are not ethical ends in themselves are never ethical;
3.7    From the foregoing it is also apparent that inaction is unethical. Creativity cannot be passively expanded or increased… this must  be done actively to overcome entropic destruction inherent in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This principle is basically equivalent to the adage that, “For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.”;
3.8    It also follows that it is unethical to tolerate unethical behavior. To do so is to violate Section 3.7 above. For this reason we are ethically bound to defend ourselves and others actively against injury or deceit when we or they are imminently imperiled by   another’s unethical behavior; from which:

3.8.1 It follows that it is unethical to augment the creativity of anyone whom one reasonably believes will use such augmented resources unethically… and it is therefore ethical to withhold the augmentation of creative resources from anyone whose ethical commitment one reasonably distrusts; and furthermore:

3.9 It is ethical to learn and unethical to be certain. When we close our minds on a subject we cease to learn… to increase our own awareness and creativity. Learning always increases creativity; and
3.10 It is ethical to doubt. Ceasing to have doubts about a subject we become certain about it and have ceased to learn. Doubts create new questions …some of which yield new answers. Doubt is one of the cornerstones of creativity.

Before attempting to expand the Admonitions in the realm of education it is important that we create a suitable context for this endeavor.  To do this we must examine the ethical role of education in the activities of humanity.  If education must be seen as a means to provide industry a skilled work force (a goal which in and of itself is not necessarily unethical) then Article 3.6 above requires that education also be an ethical end in itself.  Article 3.9 tells us that it is ethical to learn, therefore as long as education is designed to increase creativity it is also ethical to teach.  There is no reason why education should not provide competent workers, if students desire to become competent workers and if we decide that fulfillment of this goal does not interfere with Article 3.1 which calls for the maximization of creativity.  However, if as a species we decided to take seriously the notion that ethical education is a valid end in itself, many educational practices would change, probably for the better.

So let’s examine this possibility.  What would happen if we put aside the goal of a skilled work force, maximized creativity, and observed the consequences?  Since all wealth and prosperity is the product of creativity we might find ourselves with a more skilled work force than we have now.  For starters we could abandon the industrial model upon which the Deming method is based.  We would no longer have to think in terms of suppliers, manufacturers, customers, etc.  Our goal would be simply to help our children and our youth to become the most creative adults possible.

Now the admonitions to be derived from the Deming model, as focused by the Bill of Ethics might look like this:

1. Adopt the new philosophy. Accept the Admonitions.
2. Take action. Accomplish the transformation [implied by the admonitions.
3. Institute vigorous education, training, and retraining of teachers and administrators to do their jobs more creatively. Stress teamwork and statistical technique.
4. Commit to constantly and forever expand the students’ creativity and improve the system that delivers this service.

4.a. Stimulate student curiosity at every opportunity.
4.b. Satisfy student curiosities in ways that further stimulate curiosity.
4.c. Make all information resources available to the student.
4.d. Teach students to doubt and to test the validity of new information.
4.e. Teach students the scientific method.
4.f. Share with students at the elementary level the excitement that a subject’s devotees experience at the most advance level.  Continue this process on an ongoing basis.
4.g. Eliminate all grading and rating activities for students and teachers alike.
4.h. Find ways to teach competition skills without making the educational  process competitive or stigmatic.
4.i.  Encourage the development of better teaching methods, teaching aids, and text books.
4.j. Expand the opportunity for learning experiences outside the classroom.
4.k. Involve the community in the teaching role with extensive “field trips.”
4.l.  Reward community members for participating in “field education.”
4.m. Teach students cooperative study and learning techniques.
4.n. Invent more such techniques.  Encourage such innovation.  Reward it.
4.o. Instill in every student excitement and joy in learning.
4.p. A teacher’s work with a student is done when the   student is so motivated to seek new learning, and is able to find it on his own, so that the teacher is no longer needed.

5. Institute leadership.

5.a. Help teachers do a better job. For starters, improve their education.
5.b. Encourage pride of teaching and learning.
5.c.  Provide teachers and administrators both opportunity and security, thereby reducing mobility of the educational force.
5.d. Engage in long range planning.
5.e. Improve communication and cooperation between staff and between all people involved in the education process.
5.f. Reward teachers for helping other teachers to be more effective.
5.g. Teach businesses better ways to evaluate the potential of “unsorted” job applicants who come without diplomas or transcripts.  Insist they bear the burden of paying for this activity.

6. Do what works; stop doing what doesn’t work.

6.a. Drive out fear; stop intimidating your teachers and students.
6.b. Stop using grades and ratings as “motivation”.
6.c. Stop using performance evaluations or reviews
6.d. Stop making long-term decisions based on short-term financial considerations.
6.e. Develop ways to measure the performance of the educational system without violating any of the foregoing admonitions.  Use this information to develop statistical models to further improve the system.

Who Says It’s Impossible?

Obviously there will be many naysayers responding to this set of Educational Admonitions.  But Dr. Deming would have liked it and seen its value.  You will note that most of the people who will object to this method are people with a vested interest in keeping education the way it is today.  Either their prestige or their finances will be seen as adversely affected if these admonitions are adopted.  The adoption of such a set of admonitions either here in the U.S. or overseas will meet with four kinds of resistance.

First, some who simply lack imagination and don’t want to change will say the transformation of education along these lines is impossible; it can’t work.   They will offer any number of spurious reasons why this is so; but the reality is simply that they don’t want to change and grow.  They have reputations and tenured teaching positions that they don’t want to risk losing; and they don’t know if they could be successful in the new educational environment that would result from the adoption of this new model.

Second, the corporate institutions that have been getting a free ride from public (tax-funded) education will bad-mouth this model even though their wealth is all built on creativity and this model maximizes creativity.

And third, since public education is a function of government, often delegated to incompetent local boards of education, the successful adoption of this methodology could have enormous implications suggesting the restructuring of many, if not all, parts of government.  Since government too is now mostly in existence to serve the big corporations, any such change would be perceived as a threat to people in many parts of government.  In this case not only are prestige and money at stake, but political power also.  This is likely to be the most vigorous source of resistance to such change.

And finally, there will be massive bureaucratic resistance to this idea. To the best of this author’s knowledge bureaucracy is the greatest source of unethical behavior on the face of our planet.  This certainly applies to every government on the planet and is the main reason so many governments have failed historically.  From the fall of ancient Rome to the recent demise of the Soviet Union the main problem has been bureaucracy.  Deming-style education will not really thrive until/unless government itself can be made less bureaucratic.

Conclusion: In his excellent article, Grading…The Deming Way [3], Del Nelson, Professor of Management at American River College, Sacramento, California asks,

“Where can we find the educational institution dedicated to inducing “joy in learning,” collaboration on a win/win basis to build a “better world” (improving health, declining poverty , decrease in bias, etc.), learning the System of Profound Knowledge, and dedicated to leading the student(s) to the path of never-ending-improvement in every facet of their lives? Our educational problems are only made worse by grades, grades on the curve, honor roles, competitive athletics, or ranking/testing of schools, none of which will support (in fact, they will directly prevent) attainment of any such system related/driven goals.”

In agreeing with this, I see that the Japanese have not gone far enough in applying the Deming Method to education.  Their system will ultimately fail unless the same ethical principles are applied to education and other parts of government that are applied to their industry.  The same is equally true in the U.S. and throughout the world.  We can only wonder where in the world these realities will first be recognized and acted upon creatively.

Having considered the Titanian Academic Education Project, let’s now turn our attention to the Titanian Law Project.

[1] Kosaku Yoshida, The Deming Approach to Education: A Comparative Study of the USA and Japan , International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 8 No. 5, 1994, pp. 29-40, © MCB University Press, 0951-354X

[2] Mary Walton , The Deming Management Method, Putnam Publishing Group, New York, 1986.

[3] Del Nelson, Grading the Deming Way,

 

© 2001 by Robert E. Podolsky