New Ways Of Thinking: Knowledge And Total Quality

Article

Uhlfelder, Helene F., Ph.D.   (1992, ASQC)   The Miller Consulting Group, Inc., Atlanta, GA

Annual Quality Congress, Nashville TN    Vol. 46    No. 0
QICID: 9762    May 1992    pp. 472-477
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Article Abstract

Crucial to Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) is employee training. Successful CQI is heavily dependent on the continuous acquisition, growth, dissemination, and use of knowledge within an organization and among employees. To achieve organizational quality, employees must learn to think differently, to re-evaluate, and to reject if necessary, established methods in favor of more creative solutions and innovative products and services. How people and organizations learn, how knowledge is converted into behavior, and how knowledge can lead to CQI, are all topics which have been neglected in the Quality literature. This article synthesizes information on knowledge acquisition, learning theories, human information processing, systems theory, teams, organizational learning, and quality. It is suggested that the existence of different types of learning necessitates different training strategies. Learning must also be understood in terms of simple to complex skills. Limits on powers of thinking and reasoning must be acknowledged and accommodated in training processes. Organizations must be recognized as systems of people. System characteristics accordingly need to be understood. Organizational learning differs from individual learning, and essentially entails the efficient organization, storage, sharing, and distribution of knowledge. Besides training, quality organizations rely on teams and the development of team skills, and such concepts as speed, flexibility, innovation, openness, trust, risktaking, empowerment, commitment, generative and adaptive learning, and the cultivation of "meta" viewpoints. These knowledge factors should be incorporated into the A-B-C organizational model, or the Influences on Culture Circle Model, both of which reinforce new types of thinking and better use of knowledge.

Keywords

Continuous improvement (CI),Employees,Systems engineering


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