Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Experimentality and "study/check"

This post is to explain my interest in the Experimentality Research Programmes at Lancaster IAS so relates back to previously. Preparing for the Protection Science conference last year I realised that most of the references I found for Plan - Do - Check - Act came from Ishikawa. Available online is this from Cambridge Department of Engineering.

PDCA relates to experimentality and also to learning. Deming promoted "study" rather than "check". This may be a translation issue or because Shewart used "check" earlier.

The current ISO management standards all use PDCA. I think there is some resistance from UK management. Not sure about this. Deming ideas seem better implemented in Asia than in USA or UK. Quality Circles have continued in Asia though regarded as a passing fad in UK. There could be a cultural environment that allows PDCA to function. I could try to write more about this but mostly this is a question for the next few months. Link suggestions welcome.

I am still trying to find out more about the project. The website used to have a paragraph on "command and control" management. Can't find this in the new version but I have found a page from CSEC. This asks " whether a kind of continuous experimentality is coming to characterise the logic of late, 'reflexive', or 'knowing' modernity " and suggests "the experiment" is a trope that contains within itself "the ambiguous ethico-political promise - of both control and creativity - of both Weber's iron cage and Nietzsche's 'galaxies of joy'."

My concern is that the project may end up with the conclusion that there are some issues with Weber's iron cage and "experimentality" is another example of this. In the Protection Science discussion I tried to suggest that there are real problems with information security. There is some sales talk as well, but not just neo-liberal rhetoric. I mention this as a bit of time countering critique may be needed to create space. One limited aim is to understand PDCA better so it can be more useful.

Couple of links found already

Yahoo Answers on modernity

Wikipedia on Max Weber

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