Continuous vs continual improvement LO19959

AM de Lange (
Sat, 21 Nov 1998 22:24:21 +0200

Replying to LO19931 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jon Krispin <> wtites:

>You also commented on my "decisive jump" to my own tacit
>knowledge when I introduced the idea that continual describes
>the process of improvement while continuous describes the
>nature (or a specific type) of improvement. Maybe this isn't the
>best way for me to formalize my tacit understanding of the
>difference. I am still wrestling with the best way to clearly
>explain it and my post was only one attempt.

Greetings Jon,

I wish I could expell the notion that when we try to articute our tacit
knowledge into formal knwoledge, it must be best at the first attempt.
This notion is an incredible lie. It is essential to the articulation
process that we have to keep on trying to hit the bulls eye . It is one of
the mostbprofoundest truths of cybernetic systems. -- the system has to
keep on correcting itself.

>>Whether the words "process" and "nature" are the best
>>words to formalize you tacit knowledge, only you would
>>know. may be wrong, but I suspect that you wanted to
>>articlate a "complementary dual" here. If that is the
>>case, then the words "process" and "nature" will not do.
>I don't think that continuous and continual are complementary
>duals, at least not as I understand complements. Neither are
>they dialectical duals. To further illustrate my understanding
>of continual improvement (and I am still struggling as to how
>to express my tacit understanding), continuous improvement +
>discontinuous improvement, both occurring
>persistently/incessantly/repeatedly within an organization, would
>represent the ideal whole of continual improvement.

Jon, I think that here is some misuanderstanding here. The words
"continual" and "continuous" do have a complementary meaning, but in the
sense of "general" and "particular". For example, "law" and "case" are
complementary in this respect. It concerns the "many" in relation to the
"one". The "all" cannot be understrood without the "one" and vice versa.

Please, do not laugh at me and Jon. We are busy with something very
serious here -- trying to understand "complementary duality". As I see it,
your "process" and "nature" concerns a different complentary dual.
Perhaps, if I use the words "becoming" (or the behaviour B of your ABC)
for your "process" and "being" (or the antecedent and consecuence A and C
of your ABC) for your "nature", you will understand why I asked the
question. (Fellow learners, I refer to Jon's excellent summary of
behaviour psychology, using the ABC metaphor. By the way, Jon, I would
like to thank you for the clear way in which you have "summurised"
behavioural psychology a-la Skinner.) In my opnion the comnplementary for
"process" is structure while the complementary for "nature" is culture.

>I am curious, you mentioned that "aanhoudend" translates
>to English as continual, unceasing, incessant, lasting,
>uninterrupted, repeated, and persistent. What is the
>Afrikaans to English translation for continuous?

The translation for "aanlopend" is "continuous" and nothing more. Thus
"aanhoudend" (continual) encompasses "aanlopend". The word "aanlopend"
means a sort of gradual change. The word "aanhoudend" means gradual and
jump-like changes -- changes which happen immediately (continuous) and
changes whcih happen after some time and build-up have happened
(saltitorial). The word "aanhoudend" also means something which persists
with or without a consequence while the word "aanlopend" means something
which changes all the time. A mother would say of her child that his/her
"aanhoudende gekerm" (continual complaining) would eventually push her
over the edge, but she would never say "aanlopende complaining". A
"continuous complaining" (aanlopende gekerm) would simply mean incessant
complaining and nothing else.. A "continual complaining" (aanhoudende
gekerm) would mean a complaining at every favourable opportunity. A baby
which cries "aanlopend" would soon (after a few hours) compel the mother
to consult a doctor, but a baby which would cry "aanhoudend" would rather
test her patience. Maybe the following will also help. We often include
the word "een" (one) in "aanlopend", i.e "aaneenlopend" (on_one_walking),
but we will never include the word "een" (one) in "aaneenhoudend"

Best wishes.


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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