Quality Management Journal Executive Briefs - January 2002 - ASQ

Quality Management Journal Executive Briefs - January 2002


Sociotechnical Reasons for the De-evolution of Statistical Process Control.

Harrison W. Kelly III and Colin G. Drury, State University of New York.

Increasing customer demands and the need to stay competitive create challenges in high-volume manufacturing companies competing in global markets. Increasing pressures to produce high-quality products with fewer resources can cause degradation in procedural compliance, particularly when compliance conflicts with the ability to meet production schedules. Reaction to statistical process control (SPC) out-of-control conditions is one such procedure.

SPC procedures often require that processes be shut down until the cause of an out-of-control condition is identified and removed. Poor integration of SPC procedures into existing business systems makes compliance with this type of procedure stressful for many levels of the organization. Using focus group data, sample surveys, and focused interviewing, a model is derived that describes the SPC system changes that can occur. The interrelationships between these organizational functions, their respective knowledge levels, and what motivates them is critical to understanding why attempts to integrate SPC into business systems can fail.

This article proposes a sociotechnical model describing the de-evolution of SPC in organizations where careful consideration is not applied to the integration of SPC into existing business systems. Advice to practitioners on the avoidance of SPC de-evolution is provided.

Overview of Quality Management Practices in Selected Asian Countries.

Teng Heng Chan and Hesan A. Quazi, Nanyang Technological University.

This is a comparative study on quality management (QM) conducted in nine Asian countries from 1996 to 2000. In it, Chan and Quazi sought to identify some of the factors behind these problems.

They used a variety of information sources, including country-specific data, empirical evidence, and interviews of QM practitioners and implementers across nine Asian countries. There were many researchers, collaborating with those based in Singapore, all following a pretested questionnaire. Thus, the regional/country and microfactors influencing the evolution of QM practices into more sophisticated forms (TQM and beyond) were researched.

Chan and Quazi found that regional factors are related to the state of industrialization and economy of the country, intensity of government QM initiatives, the role played by multinationals to disseminate QM technology, and the maturity of such practices in the country.

Based on the maturity of QM practices, three groups of countries could be identified: The first group includes South Korea and Singapore, which are differentiated by their global and world-class QM practices. The second group consists of Malaysia, Philippines, India, and Indonesia, which have installed the equivalent of a Malcolm Baldrige Award. The third group, made up of Thailand, Brunei, and Bangladesh, has instituted ISO-type QM systems. A combination of government, industry, and indigenous factors has led to such groupings.

Microfactors tend to be more specific and peculiar to a country. These may include the following: personal involvement of the Prime Minister (Malaysia), the apathy among manufacturers on QM (Bangladesh), the presence of a QM champion (India), and the push for survival (Singapore). The time sequence for the diffusion of QM technology across Asia is also identified.

The Strategic Dynamics of Total Quality Management: A Grounded Theory Research Study.

Denis Leonard, University of Wisconsin, and Rodney McAdam, University of Ulster.

The aim of this article is to describe the development of total quality management (TQM) models using a grounded-theory research methodology, where a key part of the methodology is a longitudinal study. The models seek to capture the development of quality within organizations over time and thus to contribute a dynamic perspective.

Much of existing literature on longitudinal TQM development in organizations is anecdotal and descriptive, without any obvious theoretical base. This article seeks to help fill the void by examining organizational practice with the view to develop underpinning theoretical models through grounded theory research.

The article describes five models, which can be combined to describe the effective development of TQM within an organization. The models include:

  • TQM environment
  • The TQM life cycle
  • The key points of TQM application
  • The strategic application of TQM
  • The strategic application of the business excellence model (BEM)

These models were developed at different points of the research and provide a rich and complex representation of TQM. They represent the real-world models of what the quality managers and CEOs use in practice.

The case study of Servcom, a large company in the United Kingdom, is used to illustrate the application of the models in a dynamic situation.

The life cycle of TQM that emerged through this research shows a more complex picture of TQM than that accepted by conventional theory. The key elements of the life cycle are adoption, maturity, decline, re-energize, and regenerate. An important fact that the life cycle highlights is that TQM is not sequential nor does it have a specific formulaic route. Each organization plots its own route to success.

Motivation, Organizational Identification, and Experiences of the Quality Examiner.

Jennifer K. Lehr, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Ronald E. Rice, Rutgers University.

This article analyzes factors that influence a person’s decision to become a quality examiner. Basic motivational needs, organizational identification, and demographic measures were the primary conceptual factors used in this study.

Acknowledging the importance of the examiner’s role in the intraorganizational competitiveness assessment and recognition process leads to the following three questions:

  • What influences an individual to decide to become a quality examiner, and what expectations does he or she have?
  • How do the examiners evaluate their experience?
  • How is organizational identification associated with being a quality examiner?

Survey responses from examiners of Johnson & Johnson’s Signature of Quality process and other employees (J&J was the sole focus of this study) showed the following:

  1. Personal motivations for becoming an examiner were predominately self-actualization and belongingness, with some pragmatic emphasis on improving quality in one’s organization or unit.
  2. People underestimated the amount of time and energy required, and the value and comprehensiveness of the experience.
  3. The best aspects of training included hands-on experience, excellence criteria, case study, and learning from other examiners.
  4. The best aspects of the examiner process were interactions with other examiners and the applicant company employees.

The only aspects significantly associated with higher organizational identification were more years working with the organization and a greater perception of the usefulness of the process for improving businesses. This article suggests implications for recruiting and training examiners, and the underlying causal role of organizational identification.

The article considers one of the most famous theories of motivation, Maslow’s theory, which suggests that individuals are driven by the following five categories of needs:

  • Physiological
  • Safety
  • Belongingness
  • Esteem
  • Self-actualization

The study revealed that two of the many reasons for becoming an examiner were externally generated—being nominated and encouragement from company management—while all others were internally generated and easily grouped into Maslow’s motivation categories.

As more organizations make use of Baldrige-based instruments and criteria for internal assessment, the more important it will be to understand all the facets of participation in such a program, including the internal assessment examiner.

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