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April 02, 2011

A conversation between Russell Ackoff and Edward Deming

This is the unedited transcript of the only conversation between Ackoff and Deming, as moderated by Clare Crawford Mason. This transcript reveals the views of two pre-eminent thinkers in systems thinking. They discuss the relevancy and the application of a systems worldview to intractable problems and societal ills.

The conversation took place in l992 and was edited and released as Volume 21 of The Deming Library series in l993.  It is called "A Theory of a System for Educators and Managers"  It is available from CC-M Productions and includes a second DVD with discussion/teaching guides for it and the rest of the Deming Library at The CC-M website @ www.managementwisdom.com

Drs. Deming and Ackoff explain why systems theory is essential knowledge for managing an organization in a world of change and uncertainty. Dr. Ackoff discusses synthesis as a necessary logic for understanding why a system behaves the way it does. He contrasts synthesis with analysis, which is useful for understanding how an organization and its units operate. Analysis is synonymous with thinking in the traditions of Western cultures.

Dr. Ackoff was fond of saying the East is learning scientific thinking  more rapidly than the West is learning systems thinking.  The combination of the two is the next leap forward in ability to manage and predict change and complexity. 

To read this transcript download the attached PDF file.

Download Dr. Ackoff & Dr. Deming

Posted by ACASA on April 2, 2011 at 04:48 PM in Classics | Permalink


Am making a transcript of YouTube 2006 talk by RLA in Mexico: I can send this in for you, please advise email. No charge.

PS spell check conversation in title of this article.


Posted by: Bob Corrick at Oct 18, 2013 7:17:46 PM

Please put up a copy of the interview with page 36 in the correct place. If needed, send me the document and I will return it with the correction. Sincerely, Eric Phillips

Posted by: Eric Phillips at Jul 27, 2011 5:22:42 PM

Whose work today exemplifies a successful combination of scientific and systems thinking, and has resulted in an enhanced ability to predict change and complexity?

Posted by: David Kamien at Jun 7, 2011 11:11:59 AM

Thank you so much. This is an invaluable document. Can you tell us when and where this interview took place?

Posted by: Harold Nelson at Apr 9, 2011 3:27:06 PM

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