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Operational Definitions

Hanching Chung

It is our plan to have a special issue of Operational Definitions in
our Feb.( 8th Feb.) free magazine http://www.deming.com.tw

For this key subject, I like to remind DENizen that we need to learn
from social science. For example, see Chap. 5 of The Practice of Social
Research by Earl Babbie(8th edition,1998,Thomson) for their experience
and learning.I am translating H. A. Simon's Administative Behavior(4th
edition,1996).The readers of both books may understand why they are
relavent with management theories Deming was talking about.

The only case Dr Deming mentioned about Taiwan is one USA customer spec
w/o Operational Definition( bycycle).In 1978 I was shocked by Philips
Taiwan's internal conflicts between Production and Quality service Depts
for lacking CRT surface quality inspection
procedures/definitions/system, since visual inspection method w/o
operational definitions is meaningless and make people confused and in
conflict to decide whether some lots need to be reworked or not. We
immediately learned what we need and make it available.

The same type of trouble happened in Motorola Seguin Plant (in TX ,
AIEG)for microwave oven display(Futaba's VFD).I didn't like the 300%
inspection and reinspections..USA supplier even visited Taiwan Plant and
want to buy me a dinner.I told him that in a plant with operational
definitions of inspection, * we* can save a lot of money and *dinners*
in *club*.This is around 1986 and some USA *senior* manager made me very
difficult to work as a QRA manager. In PCB, ICs... I don't know how to
Out Of this Crisis without Operational Definitions.

Operational definition is also important in *Quality War* and The New
Economics, for example, in 1979 Japanese major CRT supplier, Asahi
Glass declared their record-breaking criteria of *scratch* and set up a
new industrial standard. Without operational definitions, we cannot
start our first step to lauch the improvement *PDSA*. In my years as
Greater China Market Development Manager of DuPont Electronics Division,
I was shocked by many China's big projects(including highway projects)
waste without Operational definitions and requirements. Don't mention
about their notorious National Statistics Bureau's practices for
figures. People and Organizations/Units play figures due to lack
understanding and fear.For any educators, they need help and I am glad
through our translation projects, some few lucky people learn Deming's
SoPK.

Control Chart as the operational definition of common/special causes is
the starting point of all the improvement strategies. Last year we
introduced this key concept and *method* to 60 junior high school
teachers to help them think differently with many school children's
*administration* issues, they were shocked...We also learned a lot from
B. Joiner's Fundamentals of 4th Generationa Management and try to help
our clients to apply the strategies of improvements in their daily life.

Our examples in this mail are quite simple comparing to most social
research projects. WWS in his book(Deming's Road to Continual
Improvements) uses *operationalization* for organizational, family and
personal transformations and uses several examples in his Deming: Best
Efforts Are Not Enough!(CDs). I learned a lot from them.

First of all, we need to PDSA it or practice them ourself and try to
teach others( to test if we really understand and learn from/with
people.)Later we need to learn the unknown and unknowable or tacit
knowledge.I am expecting some masters of Deming's SoPK may write a true
Profound Leader's Handbook someday( or maybe the moment Peter Scholtes
mentioned in his Final Reflection. Peter's book is a *masterpiece* and
we can dream more and better ones).

Hanching Chung
http://www.deming.com.tw
Our website will have some special issues of Deming's teachings learning
and experience sharing this year, please join and share with us.I used
to ask an very interesting and important question: which book by J.
Piaget you recommand for students? It is also relavant for DENizen.I
also like to think Seymour Papert's idea that we are now capable to
*operationalize* most educational *philosophy* by most
Eminent Philosophiers.



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