Provided by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida
Deming's theory of profound knowledge includes four components: I. Appreciation for a system, II. Knowledge about variation, III. Theory of knowledge and IV. Psychology.
Questions related to component 1: (Appreciation for a system)
4. Why is Deming against voting and compromise?
Questions related to component 2: (Knowledge about variation)Red Bead summary).
7. Joiner and Gaudard indicate that there are four causes of variation: common, special, tampering and structural. What is tampering? How do we know it is tampering? (See the summaries of Joiner & Gaudard and The New Economics Chapter 9).
8. How is the funnel experiment used to illustrate the concept of tampering? (See the summary of The New Economics Chapter 9).
10. Do you think there are four types of variation or just two? Explain.
11. Explain why Deming was opposed to ranking people from the variation perspective? (See the summary of The New Economics Chapter 2).
Questions related to component 3: (Theory of Knowledge)
12. What does Deming mean by the theory of knowledge? (See the summary of The New Economics Chapter 4).
13. Deming said that you do not find knowledge in a dictionary. What did he mean by this? (See the summary of The New Economics Chapter 4).
14. According to Deming, information is not knowledge. Why not? (See the summary of The New Economics Chapter 4).
16. Why is Deming against copying examples?
Questions related to component 4. (Psychology)
19. What did Deming learn at the Hawthorne plant lighting experiment?
20. Why was Deming opposed to ranking people from the behavioral and system's perspectives? (See the summaries of The New Economics Chapter 4 and Chapter 6). (Also see the summaries of Pfeffer, Stevens, Herzberg, Amabile and Kohn).
21. What is wrong with exhortations such as "Do it right the first time"?
Questions related to diseases and obstacles:
Diseases include: 1. Lack of constancy of purpose, 2. Emphasis on short terms profits 3. Evaluation by performance reviews and merit ratings, 4. Management mobility, 5. Management by visible figures alone, 6. Excessive medical costs, 7. Excessive costs of liability.
22. What does he mean by lack of constancy of purpose? (See the short summary).
24. Deming did not use, or even recognize, the term total quality management. Why do you think Deming was opposed to this term?
27. Do you disagree with any of Deming's arguments? Explain.
29. There is a popular saying, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." Deming disagreed. Why?
30. From Deming's perspective, what should be the role of government? (See the Stevens summary).
32. Deming was critical of the Malcolm Baldrige award. Why? (See the Stevens summary).
33. Although Deming was a consultant for some of the largest organizations (e.g., General Motors, Ford, Xerox, Procter and Gamble, and of course Japan), he was not a rich man. He lived in a relatively small two story brick house in Washington D.C. and worked in the basement. What do you think is the reason for Deming's modest lifestyle? (See the Herzberg, and Amabile summaries).
34. Bazerman, Loewenstein & Moore (BLM) and Healy & Palepu make some recommendations related to auditing. BLM argue that the problem is unconscious self-serving bias in the client-auditor relationship. Are they blaming the auditors or the system? Discuss their recommendations in relation to Deming's views on leadership and solving problems.
35. Read the Joke on American management. Can you relate this to Deming's criticisms of American management?
36. Dr. Deming taught that companies should compete with each other, not against each other. What did he mean ?