August 21, 2012

A 3x2 model of solutions

Here is my proposal for a two-dimensional model describing six types of solutions.

The horizontal axis refers to the finding place of solutions and describes three types of solutions:
  1. Following prescriptions: These solutions are exogenous. They are based on experience or evidence outside of the individual(/s) implementing them. They may become available through advice given or by other means such as articles.
  2. Imitation of success by others: These solutions are halfway between exogenous and endogenous. The success was achieved by someone else but the person imitating the success witnessed it so was present in the situation and experienced it to some extent. 
  3. Replicating own past success: These solutions are endogenous. They are based on experience or evidence by the individual(/s) implementing them. 
The vertical axis refers to whether or not the individual(/s) implementing the solution has/have a causal understanding about the efficacy of the solution:
  1. Mindless: These solutions are implemented with an awareness of their efficacy but without an understanding of why they work. 
  2. Mindful: These solutions are implemented both with an understanding of their efficacy and with an understanding of why they work. 
Here is the model:


As the figure shows, the more mindful and endogenous solutions are, the more perceived control there will be for the individual(/s) implementing them. This is not to say that more endogenous and mindful solutions are superior to more exogenous and mindless solutions. I suggest that which solutions are most useful depends on the situation at hand. For instance when an individual has no ideas about own past successes or successes by others which may be imitated it may be a good idea to try out prescriptions from a trusted source. Mindless solutions may also be very useful. Experiences are often ambiguous so that it may be unclear why something works. Instead of spending lots of time to figure out why things work it is probably more useful, in many situations, to act instead of analyze and reflect, so that progress is made, even though you may not really understanding why. Of course, over time, understanding may evolve. 

2 comments:

  1. Interesting model, which leads to some thoughts:
    -Does mindful following presriptions automatically lead to replicating past succes?
    -In the mindful section there is increasing perception of being in control from exogenous to endogenous. Is there in the mindless section decreasing perception of being controlled from exogenous to endogenous?

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  2. Hi qualitybs,

    Re "Does mindful following presriptions automatically lead to replicating past succes?" -> Only when the prescriptions led to desired outcomes, I would predict

    Re "In the mindful section there is increasing perception of being in control from exogenous to endogenous. Is there in the mindless section decreasing perception of being controlled from exogenous to endogenous?" -> I think there will be. I would expect that endogenousness contributes to a sense of control.

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