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October 24, 2008

About the imperial discussion


1. of, like, or pertaining to an empire.
2. of, like, or pertaining to an emperor or empress.
3. characterising the rule or authority of a sovereign state over its dependencies.
4. of the nature or rank of an emperor or supreme ruler.
5. of a commanding quality, manner, aspect, etc.
6. domineering; imperious.
7. befitting an emperor or empress; regal; majestic; very fine or grand; magnificent.
8. of special or superior size or quality, as various products and commodities.
9. (of weights and measures) conforming to the standards legally established in Great Britain.


10. a size of printing or drawing paper, 22 × 30 in. (56 × 76 cm) in England, 23 × 33 in. (58 × 84 cm) in America.
11. imperial octavo, a size of book, about 8 1/4 × 11 1/2 in. (21 × 29 cm), untrimmed, in America, and 7 1/2 × 11 in. (19 × 28 cm), untrimmed, in England. Abbreviation: imperial 8vo
12. imperial quarto, Chiefly British. a size of book, about 11 × 15 in. (28 × 38 cm), untrimmed. Abbreviation: imperial 4to
13. the top of a carriage, esp. of a diligence.
14. a case for luggage carried there.
15. a member of an imperial party or of imperial troops.
16. an emperor or empress.
17. any of various articles of special size or quality.

an oversized bottle used esp. for storing Bordeaux wine, equivalent to 8 regular bottles or 6 l (6.6 qt.).

As I said I liked very much Lila`s/team 3 presentation. And that`s because I like bold statements that arise controversy. My team tried that a bit on our presentation discussing the prescriptive/not-prescriptive classification and the philosophy bit.

But I`ll give my explanation about why I do not agree with classifying the leadership style in Demings work as "ïmperial. The word imperial refers to an emperor/empress. In my mind this connects quite closely to Kings. In the old times, before the adoption of the republic by most countries the base of the emperor/king power was based on the assumption that he had some kind of support from god, he was some kind of divinity. That`s why he didn`t have to be elected, did not have to obey regular human rules, and his power was just gone if he died. And when he died his son inherited it! Of course an emperor, like a king, could not be questioned or challenged because he had god and all his wisdom with him. God choose him, therefore he could not be wrong.

Well...that`s exactly what came to my mind when I saw imperial. That`s the classic definition I remembered. I rest my case. But do i rest my case?

When I left the lecture I was talking about that with Aykut, and even though we did not finish our conversation he gave me an insight. He was talking about the Ottoman empire, and that perhaps it was not like that, etc etc. And them two things came to my mind:

1st Perhaps that is a cutural bias. I`m interpreting through my culture`s point of view and being prejudicial. Therefore perhaps there was another sense I had not picked up and that could make a lot of sense relating to Demings work.

2nd We could give another interpretation for imperial, and think it as not related directly to an emperor, but to an empire. So the leader in Deming would be a great leader able to built and related an empire. I still don`t think that would be appropriate but it would be closer to what I think.

Them I said, in England, let`s go with the English! So I researched in two places. First the dictionarys and them the Britannica Encyclopedia ( could not copy the second one here because of copyright issues0 for definitions of imperial (and in the encyclopedia Emperor). And I must say that after doing that I`m back to my old thought. Looking specifically at the dictionary definition there`s one point the could be argued that is definition 5:

of a commanding quality, manner, aspect, etc.

One could say that a leader could resemble an emperor in this commanding quality, manner or aspect. But I still don`t think that would suit Deming. I don`t think Deming thinks a leader that way, he talks about lot`s of qualities a leader should have but none of them look similar to those stated, even though I think you can have a leader applying Deming`s lessons and having some of the characteristics described in the 5th definition.

But the main thing is I think imperial takes us to a non-challenging, not learning together  kind of thinking that does not fit in Deming`s views. I think Deming`s leader fit`s more in the image of a visionary, someone who is not intrinsically more clever or superior, but someone who has a vision and knows how to share it. Someone who helps a tem produce more that the simple addition of it`s individual abilities and who promotes coletive growth.

Well...just some thought really!

Tks guys!


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