The vast majority of all organizations, both private and public, have a quality management system that provides auditing and quality control services. These services are provided by quality professionals that are employed to limit the effects of poor quality on customers or clients. However, within the quality management profession, there are two distinct populations of professionals, each with a strongly entrenched set of views and beliefs. From this basic introduction, this paper defines and develops examples of the two approaches to quality management, and concludes with a list of recommendations for success.
The major difference between the two approaches can be summarized in terms of goals. The Western approach is a conformance to specifications or planned goals. Under this approach, quality is achieved by conformance to agreed-upon specifications that are policed by auditors. The empowerment approach is focused on the collective aspirations of the entire organization. This second approach uses the knowledge, skills, and creativity of the entire workforce to strive to become the best in the business. There are many serious problems with the Western approach that necessitate a radical change to current quality management practices. The proposed solution in this paper is quality circles, small groups of people in the same workplace that are “trained to identify, analyze, and solve work-related problems and present their solutions to management.”
The authors compare and contrast the two approaches to quality management, which mirror the differences between Eastern/Asian economies and Western industrial economies. The paper concludes with a list of 15 points for success in the area of quality management renewal. This would be of enormous interest to people working with quality management systems.