Over the past several decades, the overall performance and quality have been the main issues of any business. With the reduction of geographical barriers, the pressure of competition in the global market, and the increasing power of customer’s opinion, operational and service excellence have become vital for the company to stay afloat. In their article, Srinivasan and Kurey argue that the basis of the modern quality improvement lies in the development of the culture of quality as of a specific way of thinking within the organization, where every employee becomes an integral part of the implementation of this thinking.
Traditional total quality management is no longer sufficient to ensure the streamlined quality improvement process. The command and control approach towards quality management fails to meet the needs and strivings of the employees who perceive themselves not as a workforce but as valuable contributors to the attainment of the company’s goals. In the modern environment of the culture of quality, the employees do not simply follow the guidelines but propose their quality initiatives, apply creative approaches, master their skills, discuss their initiatives and work them out in teams.
Having analyzed over 60 multinational companies and their quality improvement tools, the authors formulated four essential elements of the culture of quality, such as effective leadership, message credibility, peer involvement within the teams, and employee ownership of the quality decisions. The most successful companies in each of those categories were Seagate, Diageo, HGST and Wrigley respectively. The authors suggest that the experience of those companies can serve as an example for any organization that seeks to ensure its competitive advantage in the rapidly changing customer-oriented business environment.
Key Learning Points
The key learning point developed in the article is the concept of the “true culture of quality” as opposed to the traditional quality improvement views (Srinivasan and Kurey 24). It turns out from the article that this concept is both a result and a driving factor for the transformation of the quality improvement philosophy. Total quality management may be considered as a methodology of quality improvement, which includes the establishment of a consistent and comprehensive strategy, systematic, integrated and coordinated work style and participation of every employee in the process; the participation is based on obligation rather than on personal motivation to ensure the best company’s performance (Kaynak and Rogers 91).
The culture of quality as a relatively new idea in the management science and practice suggests the personal engagement of the employees in the quality management not only through the mechanism of carrot and stick but also through the recognition of the value of every employee and his or her involvement in the quality assurance. The highest level of the quality culture becomes the ideology of quality, which is deeply ingrained in the company’s mission, vision, and values (Lamprecht 138). The new quality culture becomes impossible without good leadership. The top management, “who are the primary reflection of the culture that exists in the company” have to inspire and motivate the employees to be engaged in the process of quality assurance and improvement; the leaders should focus not only on the material reward (Alcaraz and Macías 44).
Relevant Statements to the Session
As discussed in our previous sessions, quality management is not an instant and simple task for the company. It requires elaborate planning and setting of the company’s priorities. Some companies may still consider the cost reduction as their key priority and not the customers’ satisfaction, and that will be the reflection of their organizational culture. Organizational culture is the reflection of shared beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors that characterize the members of the organization. In a healthy business culture, the things that are good for the company and for the customer come along and become the driving force that makes everyone move towards the company’s ultimate goals (Omachonu and Ross 108).
The most useful and reasonable ideas presented in the article are those about the practical steps for any organization to establish a high level of the culture of quality. The authors provide a clear guidance consisting of four building blocks, with leadership emphasis, message credibility, peer involvement and employee ownership (Srinivasan and Kurey 25). This framework, of course, is not limited, but the one developed by the authors proved to be applicable to reality. Indeed, there is no doubt that the leadership is the core of the company’s success. The leaders should consider quality as their key priority. A good leader should not only give instructions and demand results but also to inspire the people to reach the best quality outcome. Good leaders know how to balance individual aspirations of team members to create synergy.
Concerning the message credibility, one should note that recent studies in the field of organizational management show that formulating and conveying a unified, consistent and unique message through all available communication means is one of the fundamentals of the company’s success (Holtzhausen and Zerfass 269). The same can be told about the notions of peer involvement and employee ownership. Decisions are no longer made solely by single individuals, but by the groups as well. Teams become highly independent structures within the company; they may take initiatives and more successfully gain extra benefits for the workers (Kluge 127). Quality management becomes a common deal of the top management and the workers.
Among the brightest examples to prove the effectiveness of the developed concepts is Google. In Google, everyone makes every effort to ensure the best quality because of strong belief and commitment that he or she does “cool things that matter.” The employees here feel that they are the greatest value of the company. Every team working on a particular project is seen as an inalienable element of the enormously streamlined mechanism of quality assurance where the difference is not just accepted but celebrated (Google par. 4).
The framework for the culture of quality establishment can be used as a role model for organizations, which have no clear vision of their quality management strategy. The value of this framework lies in that it was developed on the basis of successful experience multinational companies such as Seagate, Diageo, HGST and Wrigley. The authors focus on the practical results and the lessons learned rather than on abstract theories.
From the given article, I learned that quality begins with the culture of leadership that understands and believes in the implementation of the vision system and is aware of the need for customer service and exceptional employees treatment to succeed. The result is a culture of understanding, which combines the positive internal atmosphere and customer satisfaction. It is a culture that prioritizes the constant improvement process, the results of which are reflected in a healthy internal working environment, satisfied customers, and a growing, profitable company.
Alcaraz, Jorge Luis Garcia, and Aidé Aracely Maldonado Macías. Just-in-Time Elements and Benefits. New York, NY: Springer, 2015. Print.
Google. Do Cool Things that Matter. n.d. Web.
Holtzhausen, Derina, and Ansgar Zerfass. The Routledge Handbook of Strategic Communication. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Kaynak, Erdener, and Rolf Rogers. Implementation of Total Quality Management: A Comprehensive Training Program. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Kluge, Annette. The Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills for Taskwork and Teamwork to Control Complex Technical Systems: A Cognitive and Macroergonomics Perspective. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2014. Print.
Lamprecht, James L. Quality and Power in the Supply Chain: What Industry Does for the Sake of Quality. Boston, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2000. Print.
Omachonu, Vincent, and Joel Ross. Principles of Total Quality. Boca Raton, FL: CRC, 2004. Print.
Srinivasan, Ashwin, and Bryan Kurey. “Creating a Culture of Quality.” Harvard Business Review 44.4 (2014): 23-25. Print.