The Red Bead Experiment to show total fault in the system was made famous by W Edwards Deming (Deming attributes the original demonstration to Mr. William (Bill) A. Boller of the Hewlett-Packard Company).
The purpose of the red bead experiment, and the reason I cite it here, is to prove scientifically that the majority of problems in business are actually attributable to the system and not the employees. Furthermore the people charged with acting on and improving the system are the managers and leaders and not the employees. The red bead experiment is myriad in its lessons and takes awhile to unpack and folks much wiser than me have taken the time to try and unpack it for you…I defer to their brilliant efforts in explaining what Dr. Deming loved to present.
For more information from the source please read Out of the Crisis by W Edwards Deming. See page 347 for a written account of a 1983 demonstration in Pretoria, Oregon.
For a summary of the red bead experiment please see James R. Martin’s site here: http://maaw.info/DemingsRedbeads.htm.
To watch a YouTUBE video of the red bead experiment please see the Fluor Hanford videos here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=8E522DD542C4CA69
Finally for a nifty red bead simulator please visit Symphony Tech’s site here: http://www.symphonytech.com/redbeads.htm