ASQ's Not Kidding Around With Code 

Thank you for focusing on corporate social responsibility and quality. While every article in the October 2003 issue was informative, "Corporate Social Responsibility" by Denis Leonard and Rodney McAdam (p. 27) and "Quality's Path to the Boardroom" by Paul Palmes and Sandford Liebesman (p. 41) were compelling. One reason I have remained committed to ASQ is its "no kiddin'" emphasis on its Code of Ethics.

Leonard and McAdam drove home the point with their quotes from Kaoru Ishikawa and Liz Keim. I think every ASQ member has horror stories about people at the CEO level paying lip service to quality. I've watched several Air Force generals and future generals lose their own ethical battles when they placed quality and the customer on the bottom of their list of priorities.

Then along came Palmes and Liebesman. They fired me up--and I hope a good percentage of our membership--with the obvious case for quality as a defense against corporate misconduct. The quality community should be briefing everyone in boardrooms across America on how to combine Sarbanes-Oxley with quality audits.

Jacobs Engineering/Sverdrup Technology
Beavercreek, OH

October Issue Read Cover to Cover

I received the October 2003 issue of QP yesterday, and after reading it from cover to cover, I have to say this issue was one of the best. All the featured articles were extremely interesting and helpful.

As a member of ASQ since 1990 and a charter member of the Measurement and Quality Audit divisions, I have seen ASQ grow and improve tremendously. Keep up the good work and effort to provide us quality professionals with great information.

Trane GCC
St. Paul, MN

Add Value Faster, Prevent Loss Earlier

The article "Management System Integration" by Mary McDonald, Terry A. Mors and Ann W. Phillips (October 2003, p. 67) made some excellent points about combining the subsystems for assuring quality, improving safety and preventing pollution. Several subsystems running alongside a business management system, however, are not really integrated, as the headline implies. The more correct term is "combined" and comes from ISO 19011, which provides guidelines for combining the auditing of quality and environmental management systems.

The authors did mention industry management systems, but they did not mention the unique business management system used to run every organization. For our clients, a truly integrated system is the process based management system used to add value faster and prevent loss earlier, while conforming to any system standard, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and their derivatives.

Quality Management International
Exton, PA

Executive Compensation Is Out of Control

I noticed John Dew did not examine management compensation expectations when discussing entitlement attitudes in his article, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Quality Management" (September 2003, p. 59).

With top executive pay having shot up to an average of 500 times that of the average worker, I am surprised so few people have done the math. How is such massive executive compensation justifiable during stress inducing layoffs, and how does that disconnect affect the remaining employees' performance and spirit? Instead, pundits describe a competitive environment for top talent that has exponentially raised executive pay and still awards exit packages regardless of why an executive leaves a company.

In The Sin of Wages (PerfSys Press, 1996), William Abernathy goes to great lengths to describe the ills of a demanding workforce. Worker compensation is being tied to all sorts of strategies, including white-collar outsourcing, but with these trends, the quality of the new workforce strategy is still undetermined. What data we have are still mostly anecdotal. My mother-in-law, for example, has decided, after three maddening hours on the phone with a heavily accented Dell computer help desk technician, the new strategy has earned three frowny faces. Yet organizations remain focused on short-term dollars.

During my research project, I have found employee surveys that suggest the entitlement theory is way off target. The Gallup Poll noted employees ranked pay as the fourth most important aspect of their work. Likewise, Information Week ran a survey (not statistically significant) that showed base pay again ranked fourth in employee interest. For IT workers who are being laid off and outsourced based on their perceived outrageous pay expectations, challenge, responsibility and stability are the top three wishes.

Those who have been engaging in layoffs as a market performance strategy should note Monster.com's recent survey, which found about 40% of the remaining U.S. workforce feels crushing job stress and dissatisfaction. Many are planning to job shop once the labor situation improves.

How many of our companies go to the trouble of collecting and responding to employee input on what would increase performance? I think an effective leadership strategy should aim to get executives to emerge from their offices and get to know their workers.

Certified quality engineer and auditor
Central Maine Solutions
Greene, ME

Author's Response: The taxonomy offered in the article is a work in progress. I think Jennifer Kirley makes an excellent observation, and with her permission, I will include her perspective on entitlement in future discussions on the topic.

The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL

Contact 'QP'  

We welcome your letters. Send them to EDITOR, ASQ/QUALITY PROGRESS, 600 N. PLANKINTON AVE., MILWAUKEE, WI 53203-3005; or e-mail them to editor@asq.org. Please include address, daytime phone number and e-mail address. All letters will be published on the QP Discussion Board, or you can post your comment yourself. We reserve the right to edit letters for space and clarity. Opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily of ASQ or Quality Progress.

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