Monday 16 June 2008

The Human Side of Quality

Following on from my first couple of posts about quality, this is the first in a series of small introductions to the various quality management concepts I have developed.

It gives a short introduction to the "Human Side of Quality", which was the basis for the quality concepts and programmes I developed over several years at each level in the organisation: personal, team and organisational.

Most quality programmes and concepts are based on concrete and rational elements: systems, methods, physical products, etc. These elements are both valuable and relevant. It has, however, been emphasised that an important shortcoming in many quality concepts and programmes is the fact that the importance of the human factor, the emotional aspects of quality, is underestimated. Even though most quality experts today recognise the importance of the human factor in the quality process, very few of them offer concrete methods for quality development within the human side of quality. When I developed my quality concept it was unique in that it takes people as its starting point. The quality concept and the quality training programmes I developed:

  • Focus precisely on the human factor in connection with the overall quality of work

  • Offer concrete methods to develop the human side of quality, i.e. your personal quality and those parts of team quality; product quality; service quality; and organisational quality, where the quality level is determined by the attitude, commitment and behaviour of the employees in a specific situation.

  • Make the quality concept acceptable and easy to understand for everybody in the organisation.

  • Point out the individual employee's advantages in performing at a high quality level.

  • Involve all employees in the quality process.

  • Make quality development a natural and integral part of the day-to-day life and future of the organisation
The underlying principles and concepts address one of the key failures of e.g. the ISO certification process in that they can help you to measure your current levels of quality as well as develop ways of improving quality at all levels of the organisation. ISO only helps an organisation certify whether the quality that is delivered is standardised - not whether the quality being delivered is actually good or bad!

Read an interview from Gestion about "The Human Side of Quality" (hosted on Mediafire as a PDF file), which explains a lot more about my thoughts on this topic. Later on this week I will release the next instalment in the series, where I will be looking at quality standards.

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