Quality Design Principles

SECTION 2.7

The Introductory Section emphasized the distinction between analytical and normative models, and the behavioral function of "effectiveness principles" the latter take into account tacit premises and belief systems that embed bureaucratic patterns, and offer a distinct alternative when new processes are designed.

Everyone in an administrative role has personal beliefs and values about "what constitutes effectiveness in this organization." Effectiveness principles suggest a system of performance values capable of supporting sustained organizational performance. When applied to a specific system or process, effectiveness principles become quality design principles, suggesting (but not strictly defining) key attributes of an effective system or process.

The Foundations of Process Quality, Improvement, and Innovation chart contrasts new design principles with "conventional wisdom" -- accepted beliefs and unstated premises -- in order to sharpen these contrasts and to illustrate how administrative systems are embedded in belief systems. The way conventional wisdom is taken for granted impedes management change and process streamlining. In particular, our shared beliefs and accepted premises about financial control and consensus decision-making are central in the University's "administrative culture."

Prior Beliefs and Learned Behaviors

Prior beliefs, shared performance values, "conventional wisdom," and even stereotypes enable people to choose quickly and efficiently among a range of learned behaviors when information elicits the need for an action, a decision, or a conclusion. Therefore, an organization's typical responses cannot be changed without (A) interrupting the automatic selection of learned behaviors and (B) providing a sensible, coherent set of alternative principles that challenge both "conventional wisdom" and status quo behavior.

The following chart, which provides sharp alternatives, is used in UCI process improvement training workshops. This chart is a working tool -- not a theoretical construct -- expressed in basic, common-sense terms that redefine "effectiveness" at the everyday, personal level where it is perceived, valued, and practiced.

>> Forward to Section 3: Streamlining Tools