Systems Theory Practical Application

Surprise!  I subscribe to the systems theory where organizations can be described and managed as systems of interrelated processes. “Systems theorists believe that organizations can be categorized as systems with their parts interacting to achieve systemic objectives” (Bush, 2006, p. 47). I have worked in education and in an number of different industries which gives me some unique insights on this topic. The structural/formal perspective of systems thinking can be applied to any and all organizations. That said, I would suggest, nobody should deem it possible to apply this perspective equally to all organization. Bush (2006) suggests “…caution should be exercised in attributing these qualities to schools and colleges, which are complex human organizations” (p. 47).  He suggests education institutions do not operate “…smoothly like highly developed machines…” as if all other organizations do. I suggest there is a sweet spot of sorts where the application of systems theory makes most sense. I also suggest it takes an experienced practitioner with industry knowledge to find this sweet spot where the systems theory can be applied.  I share below my favorite diagram for mapping systems and processes; usually what takes place 95% of the time when viewed from 50,000 feet.

Quality is Everywhere!

West Michigan's Most Influential Quality Professionals: A Panel Discussion on Contemporary Issues in Quality

Every fall and spring semester the ASQ student branch at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, MI sponsors this panel discussion. This informative event is FREE and is well attended by students and other interested parties. The event is televised on GRCCTV and is posted on either Vimeo or YouTube. Enjoy the video.

Ferris Quality Panel from collegechannel on Vimeo.

The Water We Drink: Does Quality Matter?

Please check out this video if you are at all interested in the quality of the water you drink.

West Michigan's Most Influential Quality Professionals: A Panel Discussion on Contemporary Issues in Quality

Another great ASQ Student Branch Sponsored event at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, MI. March 23 was the latest installment of this event held each and ever fall and spring semester at Ferris State University on the Grand Rapids, MI campus. This video can be found on YouTube and the event will again be televised on GRCC-TV.  We share it here for your viewing pleasure!

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

Attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte is the quote, “A picture worth a thousand words.” The Family Circus snippet below provides a very good example of correlation not equaling causation. Anyone who has flown, clearly knows that the seatbelt sign is not the cause of in-flight turbulence. Their certainly is a correlation, because the light is turned on whenever it gets bumpy. The litmus test for causation?  Remove the light and see if it eliminates the turbulence.