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Article 4 Seven Characteristics of Paradigms

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. 2) it tells you how to behave inside the boundaries in order to be successful. 3) All paradigms great or small have the same effect of giving the practitioner special visions, understanding and specific problem solving methods.

Paradigms Are Useful


Too many have concluded that paradigms are something undesirable. In fact, human beings depend on them and need them and could not get along without them. They are necessary! We need rules to help us live in this highly complex world. Without rules for direction, 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. 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. And that makes the group much more capable than any single individual of dealing with the world in the long run. THE PARADIGMS EFFECT REVERSES THE COMMON SENSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SEEING AND BELIEVING Remember the clich Ill believe it when I see it? You should conclude that the reverse is more accurate; Ill see it when I believe it. In other words, an understanding of the rules precedes vision. To see well we need paradigms. This is important for employers especially. New workers dont know the rules; they are literally unable to see things that are obvious to people who have been there for a while. 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.

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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. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility. The effects of paradigms explains why this must be the case. By changing my paradigms, I change my perception of the world. That does not have to mean I must have contradictory perceptions; 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 because one paradigm allows me access to another set, I may end up with two different, yet equally correct explanations of what is happening in the world. PARADIGMS TOO STRONGLY HELD CAN HELP LEAD TO PARADIGM PARALYSIS, A TERMINAL DISEASE OF CERTAINTY Paradigm paralysis is, unfortunately, an easy disease to get and is often fatal. It grows from a situation of power. We all have our paradigms, but when one is successful and in power, there is a temptation to take our paradigms and convert it into the paradigm. Once we have the paradigm in place, then any suggested alternatives are perceived to be wrong. In changing times, to have the right way to do things and no ability to explore alternatives is extremely dangerous. What was right six months ago could become wrong because of major, 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.

Paradigm Pliancy Is the Best Strategy In Turbulent Times


Paradigm pliancy is the opposite of paradigm paralysis. 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, but if it could be done, would fundamentally change my business? Be quiet and listen. Youll be surprised at how many good ideas you will hear.

Human Beings Can Choose to Change Their Paradigms


Human beings are not stuck with only one way of looking at the world. In fact, we have the ability to look at the world in a wide variety of ways. You can choose to see the world anew!

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