TQM vs LO LO11759

Mnr AM de Lange (AMDELANGE@gold.up.ac.za)
Thu, 9 Jan 1997 16:12:05 GMT+2

Ethan Mings wrote in LO11680

> On 5 Jan 97 at 10:44, Richard K. Berger wrote:
> > I am interested that you are tyring to push your employer from a TQM to a
> > learning organization. Could you please explain your understanding of the
> > difference between the two, why you want to advance the change, and how
> > you believe you can get organizati ons to make these kind of changes.
> Ditto.
> I am also interested in what one believes the distinct advantages of
> a LO are over a TQM organization.

Maybe I should try and answer this question from my perspective. If you do
not feel ready now for a long and intellectual answer, skip this
contribution now. Otherwise, fasten your seat belts because the ride will
be fast, jumpy and covering vast regions.

I consider learning as yet another manifestation of creativity and
probably its most remarkable exposition. I base this on a very simble
tenet: TO LEARN IS TO CREATE. We are subjected to so much inconsistent
information about both creativity and learning that we often fail to
observe this tenet. However, think about it this way: when we try to learn
uncreatively, we are not learning irreversibly. We easily forget what we
have 'learnt' and find it difficult to apply our 'learning'. Thus we
should rename uncreative learning for what it is - pseudolearning! On the
other hand, we never forget those things which we have learn creatively
while we also become wiser in those things.

Every member of a LO needs to understand what learning is to become
functional. There are many theories of learning with varying degrees of
consistency. The use of a particular theory to understand learning will
afford a particular degree of functionality. The use of any theory which
does not accommodate the tenet 'to learn is to create' will not lead to a
high degree of functionality. In other words, uncreative learning can
never be of high quality. This means that any LO insensitive to creativity
will hardly function as a LO.

Our problem with the tenet 'to learn is to create' is that if we wish to
understand learning, then we have to understand what creativity is. As in
the case of learning, there are many renderings of creativity with varying
degress of consistency. Is this merely a coincidence? No. Both learning
and creativty are part of what we may call 'the science of complexity'.
This means that we will not understand learning and creativity if we have
no desire to understand HOW COMPLEXITY BECOMES. The 'science of
complexity' is so young that many hesitate to call it even a science. It
has barely made an impact on learning, creativity and even the management
of organisations.

One of the most important topics in the 'science of complexity' is the
concept emergence or its counterpart immergence. Reality is much more than
a gradual and uniform change. It also consists of jumplike breakings of
symmetry called bifurcations when chaos transcends into order. We are so
used to the automatical (autonomous) functioning of gradual and uniform
changes (like the running of a machine) that we expect the same from
emergences during bifurcations. However, part of the paradigm shift that
we have to make in order to understand complexity is that emergences
happen contingently rather than automatically. The is the very reason why
we are rational creatures who use words such as "if..then", "provided
that", etc. In other words, were it not for the contingent nature of
emergences, we would not have any rational faculties.

What then has to be satisfied before emergences can happen, whether it be
in the inanimate world, the biological word or even our mental world? When
I began to pursue this question, it was total darkness. I hunted through
the whole academical spectrum for a clue, but I remained blind. I simply
had to shift other parts in the grand paradigm before I could see some
light in all this complexity. One such a part is the following.

I had to reconsider reality as only one category with uncountably many
manifestations in it. (In the traditional paradigm of present normal
science many categories have been defined for reality while relationships
have been sought between some of them.) I then had to name this unitary
category uniquely in terms of its most outstanding feature. The result?
Call it the category 'creation' with the property 'creativity'. This will
allow us greater powers of verbal formulation for those things we already
know tacitly.

Thus I am able to say that the uncountably many manifestations of the
category creation exhibit many degrees of creativity. The degree of
creativity ranges from that in sub atomic particles to that in humans
which is the highest. In other words, we should not think any more in
terms of human creativity, but rather in terms of 'deep creativity' with
synonyms such as 'deep life' 'deep ecology', etc.

Now I am finally in a position to say that those things which have to be
satisfied before emergences can happen, may be called the 'essentialities
of creativity'. Try to name and discuss these things with any other words
and see how difficult it is. To call them 'essentialities of emergences'
is also wrong. When they are impaired, they cause immergences. Thus they
are also essential to immergences. Furthermore, the dramatic/revolutionary
nature of bifurcations is only one face of reality. What about the other
serene/evolutionary face. Even here these essentialities are necessary.

I eventually have discovered the essentialities of creativity. I will not
bother you with details of the discovery (which is incredibly complex) nor
a description of each essentiality (which is also incredibly complex). It
will be documented in my forthcoming book. There are seven essentialities.
The important point now for our discussion is to assume that
QUALITY-VARIETY is one of these seven essentialities.

In other words, in TQM we are actually concentrating on one of the seven
essentialities of creativity, namely quality. By improving this
essentiality in an organisation, we actually improve the creativty of such
an organisation. However, you will all agree with me that one or more of
the other six essentialities may be seriously impaired and thus the
creativity (functionality) of the organisation also impaired, especially
when it concerns emergences. How will we then ensure that the other six
essentialities are also promoted? I can think of three possible solutions.

The first solution is to try and handle all seven of them under one of
them, namely quality. However, in this solution the complexity involved is
denied. In other words, although TQM brought valuable insights and
applications, it will eventually become a too simplistic solution.

The second solution is the scientific (formal and objective) way. Know
exactly by experiment and theory what each of these essentialities
entails. Then promote each one of them, very much like that which has been
done for quality. However, we cannot apply these essentialities before
they have been discovered. Furthemore, science cannot take its course
before its disoveries emerge through creativity. This entails that unless
creativity become a major object of study in science, the first problem
which scientists will encounter is how to unlock their creativity. This is
indeed an immense problem, although few will admit it in their open
discourses. Were it not for the disclosure to their psychologists, we
probably would never have known about it.

The third solution is the meta (intuitive, informal and subjective) one.
In this solution we employ a typical human activity which is an exemplar
of human creativity. Human learning is such an activity, as I have argued
in the first paragraph. In other words, the seven essentials of creativity
may be called the seven essentials of learning when our creativity exposes
itself as learning. Consequently TQM (Total Quality Management or deep
quality management) is definitely one of the seven essentials of

Finally we now may answer the quoted/commented question in the
Premiss: We have to promote all seven the essentialities
to promote learning.
Conclusion: To promote the learning of an organisation (the LO)
rather than merely its TQM, is a more inclusive way of promoting
the learning of the organisation, although it is the less formal
way of doing it.

Obviously, the next phase would be to formalise and objectivate the LO in
terms of creative learning. This means that we will have to promote not
only TQM as one essentiality, but we have to explicitly find all the other
essentialities and promote each one of them. How will we find them? How
will we understand them? Can we avoid complexity with its strange terms
such as chaos and order, being and becoming, emergence and immergence,
solitons and attractors, nonlinear fractals, irreversible self-
organisation, etc.?

Of one thing I am very sure. Unless we are prepared to make an immense
paradigm shift, we will not enter the next phase. To change from TQM to LO
is already difficult. How much more difficult will it be to change from a
meta functioning LO to a scientific functioning LO, based on creativty?

Furthermore, I have this immense worry: time is running out - we are
squandering those energy resources which have high structural entropy.
They are called the nonrenewable sources because they have taken millions
of years through many emergences to appear. We do not have the time nor
the opportunity to renew them because it has to happen emergently. We are
also insensitive to their emergent history. When we finally become
sensitive enough to emergences and realise that we have to emerge to the
new, complex paradigm of deep creativity/life, we might be to late,
finding ourselves to be caught up in the mother of all Malthusian traps.
Furthermore, our present immaturities, deformities and deficiencies in the
seven essentialities is the grandmother of the Malthusian trap.

Fortunately, every dark cloud has a silver lining as the old cliche says.
The silver lining of the dark cloud depicted in the previous paragraph is
the LO. When we have to make a shift to B, we have to begin at some A.
Which is the best A to reach B? I think that the LO is a very good place
to start with and not a TQM organisation. However, the most important
matter in such an organisation (LO or TQM) will be the willingness to
learn, come hell or high water. Without this willingness (spontaneity),
even though all the essentialaities may be in perfect shape, no emergence
is possible. I am often amased at this 'willingness to learn' on this
forum LO. I think it is this property which makes the people on this
server so extraodinary and provide for such many moments of sheer joy.

Best wishes

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


"Mnr AM de Lange" <AMDELANGE@gold.up.ac.za>

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