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SoPK – Dream-Inc.eu


Deming’s theory of profound knowledge is a management philosophy grounded in systems theory. It is based on the principle that each organization is composed of a system of interrelated processes and people which make up system’s components. The success of all workers within the system is dependent on management’s capability to orchestrate the delicate balance of each component for optimization of the entire system.

Deming believed profound knowledge generally comes from outside the system and is only useful if it is invited and received with an eagerness to learn and improve. A system cannot understand itself without help from outside the system, because prior experiences will bias objectivity, preventing critical analysis of the organization. Critical self-examination is difficult without impartial analysis from outside the organization. Also, insiders can rarely serve as hostile critics who speak frankly without fear of reprisals.

According to Deming, the journey from the prevailing management style to quality requires the understanding of systems. A system is composed of interrelated components. Quality is the optimization of performance of the components relative to the goal or aim of the system.

Individual components of the system will reinforce, not compete with each of the other components of the system to accomplish the aim of the system. Surprisingly, a lack of clearly defined purpose is common in U.S. organizations, particularly long-range purpose. Short-term thinking, quarterly and annual performance evaluations, and bottom line thinking forces attention to quick-fix solutions. Even if long-range plans exist, prevailing short-term thinking distracts from long-term behavior toward real solutions.

Quality is a systematic process. First, establish the aim: vision, mission, goals or constancy of purpose of the system According to Deming, without aim, there is no system (Identity) then identify the components and processes and the interrelationships of the components within the system (relationships).
Constantly improve on the processes of the system (Information/Learning/Knowledge.)

There is a close similarity to self-organization in complexity science and Deming’s components of a system listed above.

The journey requires leadership with Profound Knowledge as a guide. Leadership is marked by a dedication to scientific knowledge as truth, as well as to the process of serving those whose followers depend on the leader. A leader, who practices win/win negotiations, is trusted and trusts others to act responsibly when empowered. Leaders are responsible for providing clearly defined purpose and margins, shared vision, quality resources and delegating responsibility, (That is similar to Bounded Instability in Complexity Science)


Profound Knowledge is made up of four interrelated components: ƒ

  • Appreciation of a system ƒ
  • Theory of knowledge ƒ
  • The psychology of change ƒ
  • Knowledge about variation

    The four components cannot be separated. Knowledge of psychology, variation, theory of knowledge and appreciating the processes of a system must be managed with a delicate balance. They make up systems.

    Learn about Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK) : http://demingcooperative.org , https://deming.org