Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Here are some diagrams on PDSA etc. I am contributing to a topic on the CQI website forum. In the Deming SIG section though there may be messages in other places later. Not sure how to cope with images at the moment so am putting them here. What interests me is how the PDSA has changed with more emphasis on the Act, consideration of aims. More on this later.

From Shewart- Statistical Method 1939. Dover 1986

From Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty
MIT - Deborah G. Ancona

From slides explaining ISO 27000. Here I think Check instead of Study is just the first problem. Unless Act is at the top it may not be easy for management to follow.

The ISO 27000 standard is very well written around PDSA. I have started to study it. There is a related list of controls as a check list but the standard for certification audit is just about the management process as far as I can tell. It is much clearer than ISO 9000 in this respect as there is too much old code that needs a rewrite (joke).
Some problem exists with the conference timetable spreadsheet. My recent post has some strange symbols in it, following an attempt to copy and paste from the PDF. Here is another example, assumed to be the dates-

Is this dangerous? Not so far although it could lead to confusion.

Some explanation would be interesting. Suggest others download the PDF and investigate.

The quote is from a slide by Nana Rodaki for

Re-thinking and Re-contextualizing the Competitiveness Discourse: Branding Rome as a “Competitive Community”

This was part of a recent seminar on Changing Cultures of Competitiveness.

This idea of "common sense" may be a way to describe what I was thinking of as reality. From the previous IAS conference I went to the assumption may well be that language is the concern. So what I am interested in as "assurance" could be seen by some as "common sense" and the discourse aspect be covered by specialists.

It is still interesting how "common sense" changes. When was print seen as just part of communication? Or has this not happened yet? Is quality part of management? This could vary depending on the location.
I realise I am going further off topic for the conference -  Designing Safe Living - by the way the conference program is now published as a PDF from the spreadsheet.

What strikes me is the way a topic can be selected although the academic approach and concerns seem to remain the same. So I think "assurance" in general is a good word for me. Although this conference is about safety and the previous one was about the knowledge economy, quality management is still in there somewhere. Also the IAS has an apparently genuine concern not to be limited by disciplines. Previously I was finding it difficult to introduce quality into the Management School approach to learning and leadership. So here again is a proposal for a paper from 2005, conference title - Re-Thinking Leadership.

"How learning centres adapt to work with the technologies around e-learning"

"Learning centres" can include any organisation concerned with learning. Leadership is one aspect of this, in the context of organisations and technology change.

The question is how leadership recognises the issues and influences the development of learning resources. These resources could take different forms over time. I would like there to be a workshop on this so these notes could be one contribution. There will be material online as background. e-learning can contribute to leadership training but probably as part of a blend.

My own experience is through working on quality so I tend to look at organisations as systems.

At previous conferences on 'Management Theory in Action' I contributed papers on ISO 9000 and on Deming. The work context has been in the printing industry and in web design, mostly with PDF. There has been rapid technical change in both areas. There will be related changes for libraries and educational organisations.

For most of the first 'Management Theory in Action' conference it was possible to talk about a 'learning organisation'. This is now mentioned less, but is still useful. Ideas such as 'followership' and 'distributed leadership' indicate that the wider context is still relevant.. Burgoyne and Jackson (1997) link 'the learning organisation' with 'total quality management' and 'business process re-engineering' as part of a 'rapid succession of...'fads',,'magic bullets'. The same sort of thing might happen in universities with 'critique' or 'leadership' as topics with their own timeline. The 'learning organisation' has been recently mentioned by Prolearn, an EU project looking at e-learning.

I think Deming emphasised the need for management involvement in a quality project because he did not want projects to be blocked once momentum had started.

The research that is most relevant for me is the area of Networked Management Learning

"Networked Management Learning takes a somewhat more circumspect view of learning than currently popular ideas of communities of practice. It is a view of learning in which dialogical construction of meaning is a basic characteristic within all communication. Collaboration and interaction supported by communications technology is probably the key-defining feature of networked management learning as a management learning and development approach."

Arguably 'dialogical construction of meaning' is only one part of management learning on the web. 'Networked Management Learning' seems to have been defined to limit it to a particular 'subjective' area. Exetreme has developed websites for the Centre for Evidence Based Social Services. Mostly this is fast access to advice documents with summaries of research. The forum aspect is little used, with almost no questioning of the advice offered.

However, it is the ‘collaboration’ features of software that are developing most quickly. Acrobat 7 makes some functions available for certain PDFs within the free Reader. I find ‘critique’ more interesting as a way of thinking about how learning happens when these sort of tools are used.

I bring this up again partly because there is a new organisation on the way in the UK that seems a bit of a mystery so far. The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is a combination of the Quality Improvement Agency and the Centre for Excellence in Leadership. So how this will work out is unclear but somewhere someone can see a link between quality and leadership.

My impression is that leadership followed learning as a topic for academics and that quality is not seen as an academic topic as most of the theory comes from organisations. So it will be interesting to see what sort of theory and research is associated with the new project, strapline- "dedicated to development". Source for strapline, DIUS.

But there is so far no unique website for LSIS. Both previous organisations still have websites and these make a case for previous activity.

Publications on the CEL website include research papers available as PDF downloads.

Learning in the age of digital networks
Dr Chris Jones, Dr Debra Ferreday and Professor Vivien Hodgson

Why networked management learning is a useful leadership development approach in the learning and skills sector
Dr Chris Jones, Dr Debra Ferreday and Professor Vivien Hodgson

Since 2005 when these were published, digital networks are seen to include social networking sites. My take is that Web learning has a wide scope, possibly wider than some Further Education policy in the UK. So it would be interesting to look again at these papers, including quality within the scope.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I have now revised the draft paper for the Safety conference. I think there is about the right amount of content for half an hour. It may connect in with the other papers in the session. Christopher May will talk about openness and the control of information. I have found a page about the knowledge commons online. So this might support my claims about other knowledge resources found on the Web. Melissa Sedmak is from a School of Risk and Safety Sciences so my hope is that at least some of the time, danger is regarded as real at a place like this. She will decribe some new technology for clearner energy from Australian SMEs.

Looking at the IAS website I have found some PDFs from a seminar series on Changing Cultures of Competitiveness. This seems to follow on from the research on the Knowledge Based Economy (KBE)and confirms my impression is that the interest is in the political consequences of the language rather than the KBE as such.

Ngai-Ling Sum quotes South China Morning Post (12th December 2000)

It is important to have computer knowledge, as the Internet is playing an increasingly significant role in our life. We write e-mail instead of letters, chat with friends on ICQ instead of on the telephone and get our news from Web sites instead of newspapers.
We use computers to do paperwork, keep our accounts and even order goods.

This may be supportive of neo-liberal rhetoric, but it may also be seen as a resonably accurate statement in itself.

"Education's Role in Econimic Competitiveness" is covered by Jane Mulderrig with a contrast between "audit" and "autonomy". I think the lack of engagement by academics with quality ideas as theory has a lot to do with the experince of audit as it has happened in the UK. The aim of quality assurance was to move away from inspection but this is not always realised. I will come back to this in another post later.

By the way, I don't have a problem with the political views that are generally accepted in this discussion. I am starting to read more from the website on "Global Competitiveness" where PDFs are available. It is reasonable for linguists to be interested in language. My problems start when people in business schools turn out to be more concerned with critique than forms of practice. It seems to me that some form of quality management is a part of any form of organisation. So there is something to it as well as language. I will do another post later about "network learning" and web design. there is some sort of gap between the two though I can't understand what it is.

"Knowledge Brands" include cities, especially design cities as described by Guy Julier. There could be a similar study on the design of a university campus. Lancaster is not that old but Info 21 seems to be a break with hiding it all behind trees as seen from the motorway. My guess is that the computer hardware inside the building is not in need of unusual cooling systems. I may be wrong about this but this is a blog so can be changed in a lter post. So the design is there mostly for effect. I am still working on a script for a walk along the campus starting from Info21 as it implies acceptance of technology. I started out looking at quality systems as a way to cope with change in the printing industry. This is still a project though since drupa 2008 my impression is that significant change has already happened in terms of what technology is available. Anyway, the conference will include an evening meal at Info21 so it will be interesting what people make of it.