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Article 4 – Seven Characteristics of Paradigms

we would be constantly confused because the world is too rich with data. Paradigms are functional because they help us distinguish data that is important from that which is not. In other words. understanding and specific problem solving methods. human beings depend on them and need them and could not get along without them. Paradigms Are Useful Too many have concluded that paradigms are something undesirable. they are literally unable to see things that are obvious to people who have been there for a while.Seven Characteristics of Paradigms by Joel Arthur Barker from “Future Edge” Paradigms Are Common A paradigm is a set of rules and regulations (written or unwritten) that does two things: 1) it establishes or defines boundaries. They are necessary! We need rules to help us live in this highly complex world. THE PARADIGMS EFFECT REVERSES THE COMMON SENSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SEEING AND BELIEVING Remember the cliché “I’ll believe it when I see it”? You should conclude that the reverse is more accurate. 2) it tells you how to behave inside the boundaries in order to be successful. It is the responsibility of management to make sure that the correct vision is presented and thereby avoid the situation of getting a good prospect and turning him into a bad worker. an understanding of the rules precedes vision. And that makes the group much more capable than any single individual of dealing with the world in the long run. New workers don’t know the rules. This is important for employers especially. In fact. Without rules for direction. “I’ll see it when I believe it”. The rules tell us how to look at data and then how to deal with the complexity of the world through the application of many paradigms. 3) All paradigms great or small have the same effect of giving the practitioner special visions. Page 1 . To see well we need paradigms.

It grows from a situation of power. A TERMINAL DISEASE OF CERTAINTY Paradigm paralysis is. PARADIGMS TOO STRONGLY HELD CAN HELP LEAD TO PARADIGM PARALYSIS. an easy disease to get and is often fatal. It is the purposeful seeking out of new ways of doing things. It is an active behavior in which you challenge your paradigms on a regular basis by asking: “What do I believe is impossible to do in my field. We all have our paradigms. rapid change in the environment? We must stimulate people to become flexible within the organization in order to prevent new ideas from only being discovered outside the organization. In changing times. then any suggested alternatives are perceived to be wrong. Human Beings Can Choose to Change Their Paradigms Human beings are not stuck with only one way of looking at the world. You’ll be surprised at how many good ideas you will hear. All information is imperfect. That does not have to mean I must have contradictory perceptions. But because one paradigm allows me access to another set. We have to treat it with humility. would fundamentally change my business?” Be quiet and listen. to have the right way to do things and no ability to explore alternatives is extremely dangerous. I may end up with two different. there is a temptation to take our paradigms and convert it into the paradigm.There Is Almost Always More Than One Right Answer Anyone who assumes that there is only one right answer is missing the point of paradigms. Once we have the paradigm in place. yet equally correct explanations of what is happening in the world. In fact. Paradigm Pliancy Is the Best Strategy In Turbulent Times Paradigm pliancy is the opposite of paradigm paralysis. What was right six months ago could become wrong because of major. unfortunately. rather that I am seeing another portion of the world that is just as real as the portion that I saw with the other rules. but if it could be done. You can choose to see the world anew! Page 2 . I change my perception of the world. but when one is successful and in power. By changing my paradigms. we have the ability to look at the world in a wide variety of ways. The effects of paradigms explains why this must be the case.