Measurements LO31068

From: leo minnigh (minnigh@dds.nl)
Date: 04/28/04


Replying to LO31046 --

Dear John

There is now and then a strange and self-created pitfall: too strong
statements. Even in my book there are some. Well, perhaps in that book
these statements could act as provocations to stimulate the thinking
of readers. But it was not the intention in the mail you reacted on.
Yes John, you are very right, that measurements are not only for the
satisfaction. They could indeed be of value. And thus I agree with you
- "it depends". My pitfall of drawing sharp boundaries is serious and
I am aware of it. Strange, because I try to open the eyes and minds of
others to see the nuance (the excluded middle). Thank you for opening
my eyes, John.

However the subject is interesting and has some weird aspects.
Particularly if measurements are carried out in the area of
organizations, human characteristics, etc. Because measuring means
creating boundaries and catagories. And even with a very detailed
scale of measurement, there will be always situations of doubt.

I had to laugh of your example of the speedometer. The measurement
instruments of the police have a certain percentage of accuracy. To
avoid many discussions in courtrooms, the police correct their
measurements in advance. That means if they measure a speed of - say
60 km/h, they correct it to - say 52 km/h. The result is now that many
car drivers think that they could drive a certain percentage faster
than their car speedometer indicates, and thus thinking to be on the
safe side of speedlimit.

As you probably have understood, my original intention of my
contribution was to diminish the love of some people for measuring al
kind of organizational things. In those cases it is very often a love
for sureness (instead of a love for doubtfulness).

Best wishes,

Leo

> Leo Minnigh writes that "Measurement leads to satisfaction.
> Satisfaction, to back the doubt, or giving an excuse for a certain
> execution or decision. This has nothing to do with knowledge."
>
> When I was a consultant, Leo, I would have said "It depends." Now
> that I'm not a consultant, I can say beyond a doubt: it depends.
> Some knowledge cannot be reached without measurement. I cannot know
> whether or not I will have enough money in my coffee to buy coffee
> without counting (measuring) or whether or not I am breaking the law
> without reading my speedometer. Many decisions need to measure and
> analyze data in order to value them. Even the most creative idea can
> lose money, destroy value, weaken a company, and effect hundreds of
> human lives. So, having one of those lives, on which others depend, I
> measure.......

-- 

"leo minnigh" <minnigh@dds.nl>

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