Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Are you dysfunctional?

Let's talk about functions. In math, the following describes functions:

A function relates an input to an output. Example of a function:

Cost of whole turkey and its weight. This is a function because (normally) the more the turkey weighs, the more it costs to buy it. If turkey costs $3.00 per pound and I bought 15 pound turkey, then I would use the following formula:

Input or “domain”: Weight of the turkey (x).
Output or “range”: Total cost of turkey (y)

There is exactly one input for each output in a function. The number of pounds bought (x) is an independent variable. The total cost (y) is the dependent variable because it is dependent on the number of pounds bought.

Price of turkey ($3.00/lb) multiplied by the weight of turkey (x) = total cost of turkey (y)

or  3 * x = y

Ordered pairs: (0,0), (1,3), (2,6), (3,9), (4,12), (5,15)

This turkey/price/lb example is a function because there is exactly one domain value for each range.


Art, design and creativity are not functions because there is no one relationship between time and quantity (and quality). There is no right or wrong answer. There is however quality. 

A function is a "well-behaved" relationship. For example, a functional family vs dysfunctional family or functional work environment vs dysfunctional one. An individual can be very functional in an environment where the tasks are always predictable relationally, but that same individual is dysfunctional in an environment that requires creativity. This often happens in the public sector workplace with employees who have been hired at a time when tasks were measured by quantity (filing, archiving, and other tasks that can be automated). That individual may seek other ways to get attention and become disruptive. Whereas, a creative person is dysfunctional in a work situation that is not creative because they are bored and yearn for opportunities to explore ideas. Today's workplace demands creativity.