Knowledge Management and TQM LO21828

Richard Charles Holloway (
Thu, 3 Jun 1999 21:36:42 -0700

Replying to LO21822 --

Well, Tom, I do have many thoughts on this. I often think about the
manner in which people tend to flock towards the symbols of management
(and religion and philosophy) that are clad in buzzwords like "TQM, KM,
LO" and so forth. It bothers and annoys me...and more importantly I
realize that this tendency continues to pull all of the efforts of the
prophets and advocates of meaningful change away from the direction for
which they were aiming.

There are wonderfully harmonious themes that run throughout the writings,
and presentations and practices of people who understand and use the
principles of quality, of knowledge sharing, of learning, systems thinking
and self-awareness. Getting "hung up" in the icons seems to me to be the
a source of the symptoms we notice in "management fads."

How many of you have had to resist the call for "best practices" and
"models" when you know that the call masks a hope or desire to ape the
best practice or model...and you know that that effort will at best result
in a bizarre copy that will absolutely not work at this place and time?
So the truth lies, as always, in working to be your own best practice and
to embody the principles uncovered by Deming, Juran, Drucker, Senge and
all the other thousands of hard working organizational practitioners
(managers, consultants, leaders formal and informal within and without the

So, while it is useful to know the differences between is
sometimes better to know the similarities, the common themes that run
throughout. They occur too frequently in too many disciplines to be
simply a phenomenon.

A final thought...and that's about the irony of all the accolades that are
showered on the memory of Deming's contributions to organizational
success...and the utter failure of almost all organizations to implement
the most fundamental of his points. So, why is that? What indication do
we have that organizations really are learning?

Tom Abeles wrote:
>I will be very interested in seeing a serious discussion on this.
>Drucker's latest writing makes a very interesting point. When we as humans
>write a law in science, it makes very little difference how the universe
>operates. We can saw the sun goes around the earth or the earth goes
>around the sun, the universe behaves the same. On the other hand, when we
>make social "laws" such as how an organization does, should or could
>operate, organizations readjust to this latest "law" as we have seen as
>each wave of management "truth" appears on the scene. In fact the
>publishers love management dearly as it goes from the equivalent of fad
>diet to fad diet to alternative medicinals in an evolving search for "the

"Security is mostly a superstition, it does not exist in nature, nor do the
children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in
the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or
nothing at all." ^WHelen Keller

Richard Charles Holloway -
P.O. Box 2361, Olympia, WA 98507 Telephone 253.539.4014 or 206.568.7730
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