Education vs Training

(responding to someone elses post) - your question was forwarded to me concerning Point 6 (Institute Training) and Point 13 (Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone). Great questions. The relationship between Point 6 & Point 13 is subtle.

I am not familiar with Frank Voehl's book "The Way We Knew Him." So I cannot directly address his interpretation.  However, as a 'guide' for the Seattle Deming Study Group and a long time student of Dr. Deming's teachings, here are my impressions.

I am going to answer your first question in two forms, simple and detailed. 


Point 6 is 'skill' training (how)

Point 13 is 'knowledge' education (why)

Example: Skill is the mechanics of playing a musical instrument and reading sheet music. Knowledge is knowing what emotion the music is intended to invoke from the audience. What story the music is trying to paint.

More Detailed

The key, for me, is the fourth sentence in the second paragraph on page 86 of Out of The Crisis. That sentence reads - "Moreover, study that is directed toward immediate need may not be the wisest course."

Point 6 (Institute Training) is advocating training that is directed towards job related activities (the needs of the job). That training might be managers learning how to manage processes or how processes operate together as a system, or workers learning specific skills needed on an assembly line or office job task (for example programming).

Point 13 (Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone) has two parts. First is training/education outside of the immediate job tasks. Education that helps the individual make a contribution to society outside the position description or skill codes of the company. No one knows what contribution a production worker who is studying Theology for his spiritual activities, or Astronomy for his recreational hobby, can make to the company. We might be pleasantly surprised. At least I have been in my experience.

Second, I believe Dr. Deming was using Point 13 to highlight that people should strive for learning beyond their work needs, and companies should encourage that effort through their support. Regardless if the learning is job related or how the IRS tax codes read.

In the past (and maybe still) companies would only reimburse expenses if the course helped employees perform their job. This company policy was usually an extension from the US tax codes - allowable deduction for 'job related training.'

To answer your second question:

Overlap depends on the situation. Point 6 can be a subset of Point 13, or they can exist independently, or some overlap may be appropriate. Frequently, in large corporations skills training (Point 6) is offered inside the company, with attendance being paid-hours or nonpaid-hours. And education (Point 13) is usually conducted at a formal educational institution outside the company. This is a generality, and of course exceptions can always be found.

This leads to your third question:

I cannot say how Dr. Deming expected companies to accomplish Point 13. For my perspective, when a company reimburses employees for all education expenses (and/or modify work hours to accommodate classroom time, etc.) regardless if the course is job related, I believe the company is on the road to really caring about their people. This attitude supports the belief that through creating great people, great companies emerge.

I know I didn't give you a great answer. The learning is not arriving at a definitive answer, but how do you as an individual and the company define the distinction.

I hope my ramblings are helpful.

 Dave Nave & Associates 2017   -