Aune, Asbjorn (1990, ASQC) The Norwegian Institute of Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Having worked twenty years as a teacher, researcher and consultant at the Norwegian Institute of Technology, I am convinced that one of the main challenges for the Quality Community is to bring the subject Quality/Quality Management to technical universities and business schools, and to open up for education of quality managers and engineers/economists on the subject at a high academic level. There is also a great need for high level research on the subject.
With all due respect to our Western quality gurus, to whom we are all in great debt, my allegation is that Quality Management will never be accepted as a science, developed and made full use of as a real powerful management tool, before the subject has reached full academic status. (Industrial practitioners may like it or not.) The Quality Community has for years talked about the importance of Quality, but when people have asked "You say quality is so important - where do we find the professors, the quality management students, the Ph.D.s ...", there has been no good answers.
Today, we have access to a rapidly growing number of interesting and often well written books covering various topics on Quality and Quality Management. Most of them are, however, written by consultants and practitioners telling their ways of doing things and how their companies try to meet the Quality challenge.
I once heard a professor say: "Remember - theory is the cream of all practice (experience)". When discussing the future development in the field of Quality, we must not forget that to make cream, we need a separator. The Quality Community needs professors as separators at universities and business schools to develop a science based on practice and experience. We need a sound theoretical and scientific foundation for efficient solutions of future particular and practical problems.