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In Their Own Words

Oct 30, 2020

In our 42nd "Deming Lens" episode, host Tripp Babbitt shares his interpretation of wide-ranging aspects and implications of Dr. Deming's theory of management. This month he looks at Management Theories.

Show Notes

Deming Lens #42

Deming's Profound Changes

Weber, Taylor and Fayol

Mary Parker Follett




Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:14] In Episode 42 of The Deming Lens, we'll begin to discuss management theory, starting with some history.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:29] Hi, I'm Tripp Babbitt, host of the Deming Institue podcast.

Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:46]  This month I wanted to do a two-part series or start a two part series on management theory. And the first part will go through and we'll cover people that were influential in management theory and what their thinking was from the really the beginning of the industrial revolution to until today.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:01:54] A lot of that influence still exists and maybe some of the problems associated with some of those theories. And the next month, what I'll do is I'm going to walk through how the Deming philosophy, the system of profound knowledge differs from some of the classic management theory.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:02:16] And I'm a big fan for those of you who are watching the video of Deming's profound changes and Dan Robertson and Ken Delevingne or two folks that wrote it, influenced by the work of Perry Gluckman, who they liked as a mentor and coached them on the Deming philosophy. But Perry Gluckman actually was a student of Dr. Deming back at NYU. But he walks through a lot of the differences and some of the things a lot of the information that I have will be drawn from Deming's profound changes.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:02:56] Now, let's set the scene a little bit. So the industrial revolution starting late. Seventeen hundreds to the late eighteen hundreds, energy changed. We have steam and hydropower.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:09] We've got machinery coming out. We have new ways of transporting people. And now the question becomes, how do we organize all of this and and how do we increase productivity and manage the people?


Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:25] And so there were three, in essence, influencers during that time for what some folks will call classic management theory. And one wasn't Max Weber or Veber Frederick Taylor and Henry Fayol. And those three primarily made up a lot of what we know today with Frederick Taylor. To me, being probably the most influential of those particular three opinion, Max Weber basically was very big picture. He talked a lot about bureaucracy and that these organizations should be an extension of government, a lot of legal, rational types of thinking, and also came up with the original philosophy of hiring the best people. Henry Faile talked a lot about management and administration science, and it really focused on a few things, five things planning, organization, command, coordinate and control. And those were his five things associated with management and emphasized that management should stay out of the details of the work. And then Frederick Taylor, obviously scientific management, which is the basis of a lot of the book, Deming's profound changes and the differences, but he kind of kind of grabbed some of the ideas of Max Weber and Henry fail and put them into his system, but of scientific management. And it's really applying science to the work. And he did things like time and motion studies. And we'll get into a little bit more of the detail associated with that next month as we kind of contrast the thinking of these thinkers.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:05:29] Now, what were some of the problems associated with this thinking that came from these areas? Well, I am I guess not going to say the problems at this point, the commonalities of these three philosophies. There was the hierarchy. They all believed in hierarchy. They believed in the division of labor. They believed and the centralization of authority, the separation of work and personal life, that those two things should be different, that you have always hire the best employees and pay you wanted to pay people with their your best people. And that there was one right way to do things. So those are kind of the commonalities, some of the flaws associated with some of this management thinking, this management theory is, and this is out of Deming's profound changes, is one belief in management controls the essential precondition of increasing productivity to belief in the possibility of optimal processes. Three, a narrow view of process improvement for low level. So optimization instead of holistic total system improvement. Five Separation of planning and doing. Recognition of only one cause of death affects people seven. Failure to recognize systems and communities in the organization. And a view of workers as interchangeable bionic machines. Now, I want to make a kind of a side note here.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:07:11] And Mary Parker Follette, who worked with Frederick Taylor, actually was the first person to kind of come out and say that there's something out there with regards to systems. And so this will kind of set us up for next month, will walk through some of these management theories. And I've got to tell you that these management theories are still well entrenched in management today and almost subconsciously, but they're taught in a university still today. And I think that that's part of the problem and that we haven't advanced beyond that. To other thinkers like Dr. Deming, like Russell Akef, like Ludwig von Berlanti, those people have kind of advanced the management. But it seems like we're still teaching and doing the things of some of these thinkers from the Industrial Revolution time period. So anyway, that's what we'll do next month. If you have comments. You can reach me at That's it for this month. We'll talk to you next month in the second part of this series.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:08:51] Hi, this is Tripp Babbitt. One way that you can help the Deming Institute in this podcast is by providing a reading on Apple podcasts. If you have additional comments, you can reach me at