Deming on Management: Appreciation for a System

Guest post by John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog (since 2004).

This is the fourth post in our Deming on Management series. This series provides resources for those interested in learning more about particular topics related to W. Edwards Deming’s ideas on management. Previous series posts provided resources on the PDSA cycle, psychology and the red bead experiment.

Appreciation for a system is one of the four aspects of Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK). In an earlier short post on this blog, I provided a short introduction to appreciation for a system within the Deming context.

image of the organization viewed as a system
The view of an organization as a system by W. Edwards Deming from Japan lectures in 1950’s and also found in Out of the Crisis.

Over the that last seven years we have added many blog posts and videos related to this topic. The links here share thoughts that will help provide a deeper appreciation for systems in the Deming context.

Blog posts

graphic showing degree of interdependence with business being more so than an orchestra



image of quote by Dr. Deming "Best efforts are essential. Unfortunately, best efforts, people charging this way and that way without guidance of principles, can do a lot of damage."


  • The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge
  • The Symphony of Profound Knowledge by Ed Baker
  • Systems Thinking for Curious Managers by Russell Ackoff
  • The New Economics by W. Edwards Deming
  • Leadership and the New Science by Margaret Wheatley
  • Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows
  • The Essential Deming
  • Beating the System: Using Creativity to Outsmart Bureaucracies by Russell L. Ackoff and Sheldon Rovin

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