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The World of Quality

Quality Culture  

What is 'Quality Culture'?

We define culture as the pattern of human habits, beliefs and behavior in an organization. Quality culture is the pattern of habits, beliefs and behavior concerning quality.

Treating quality as a cultural phenomenon means that quality is approached as a set of values, as a general orientation, and an organizational ideology rather than as a set of tools or techniques.

Successful TQM implementation is dependent on quality being embedded in and reflected by the culture of the organization. Unless the organization’s culture is congruent with the quality initiative, positive outcomes are less likely.

The role of Quality Culture
  • Culture provides a sense of identity
  • Culture generates commitment to Organization’s mission
  • Culture clarifies and reinforces standards of behavior

                                                                     *‘Behaviors in Organization’ – Jerald Greenberg, Robert A. Baron 


Key Behaviors of Quality Culture

To develop a positive quality culture, a company must foster five key behaviors:


  • It must create and maintain an awareness of quality. 
  • It must provide evidence of management leadership on quality. 
  • The company must encourage self-development and empowerment. 
  • The company must provide opportunities for employee participation to inspire action. 
  • The company must provide recognition and rewards. 

*Joseph M. Juran and A. Blanton Godfrey, co-editors, Juran's Quality Handbook, Fifth Edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999).

Key Values of a Quality Culture

The five values I have identified are:

  • Teamwork: We're all in this together - company, suppliers, customers
  • Ownership: No subordinates or superiors allowed. People freely express what’s on their mind
  • Trust: Open, honest communication is vital. Having a commitment to truth is essential
  • Data Driven Operations: Everyone has access to all information on all operations
  • Risk-free environment: Failure is a learning opportunity, not an opportunity for punishment
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