CWQC Programs: Are Quality Circles the Best Vehicle?


Mitchell, Ron L.; Pace, Larry A.   (1986, ASQC)   Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Xerox Corporation, Webster, NY

40th Annual Quality Congress, May 1986, Anaheim, CA    Vol. 40    No. 0
QICID: 3202    May 1986    pp. 343-349
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Article Abstract

This paper questions whether Quality Circles (QCs) as practiced in American industry are capable of promoting the kind of maximum employee participation that is an essential ingredient of a total quality system. Using their five year experience with QCs in the North American Manufacturing Division of Xerox Corporation, the authors identify a number of critical design flaws inherent in the standard QC model. These design flaws seriously hamper the effectiveness of circles and contribute to their decline over time. The authors also question whether QCs are capable of maximizing the full potential of employee involvement even when successfully installed and supported. They conclude that QCs may not be the best vehicle for the implementation of a Company Wide Quality Control (CWQC) process. Business Area Work Groups are offered as a possible next step in the evolution of QC programs and as a design alternative for the implementation of CWQC processes in manufacturing settings.


Human resources (HR),Quality circles

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