Characteristics Of Continuous Quality Improvement Research Paper Examples
Continuous quality improvement (CQI) is a management philosophy based on the customer-oriented approach. It originated from the principles proposed by W. Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran, Philip Crosby and others (Goodwin & Griffith, 2008). In this concept, the “customer” is not the only user of a product or service. Every employee within the organization must also be concerned with the quality of the product. The employees therefore, play a crucial role in managing continuous quality improvement within a company. The general idea underlining the CQI philosophy is that it shifts responsibility from the workers to the processes. Earlier, the employees were held responsible for any problems of quality. However, CQI experts contend that the problem lies in the process. They suggest that the process that should be changed to achieve the desired results. Since most of the problems are system-related, it is possible to eliminate them through the process of continuous improvement (Adams, 2012).
Although the quality improvement strategies vary from industry to industry, there are some common principles that apply in general to quality improvement. These principles are (Martin, 2000; Adams, 2012):
quality is a result of the expectations of the customers (external and internal);
most problems originate from processes, not people;
it is necessary to involve everyone in a process of quality improvement (quality enhancement is a joint efforts rather than a responsibility of any one department);
CQI demands finding and removing the causes of problems (CQI relies on careful data collection, and analysis);
there is a need to change organizational culture and workplace behavior, making continuous improvement a natural part of everyday work process;
Continuous improvement is based on small, but regular and scientifically sound changes.
There are many methods adopted by those who implement CQI. These methods include brainstorming, fishbone diagrams, control charts, flowcharts, and histograms among others. These methods and techniques are used to identify the problems. The processes are then changed in order to eliminate the problems, resulting in a highly productive process.
The purpose of this research was to identify the most significant characteristic of CQI. From the above description probably the most significant and important characteristic is the need for organizational change. Since CQI is a continuous process, the process of change will also be continuous. Patricia Kovel-Jarboe (1996) examines two perspectives of change – planned change and technology transfer. Both these perspectives relate to CQI. Although Quality Improvement originates because of customer dissatisfaction in most cases, the process is continuous and ongoing. The reason why many researchers refer to it as a philosophy is that the process of improvement never ends. There may be an identifiable beginning when customer dissatisfaction becomes the cause for implementing CQI. However, once the process has been initiated it is continuous and brings with it change in procedures, processes and implementation. The concept of CQI is, therefore, a philosophy that must be adopted by an organization. CQI is a culture that must be inculcated by every person working in the organization. When an organization decides to adopt the CQI philosophy, it may change the vision and goal of the organization. The focus shifts from simply manufacturing a product or providing a service to manufacturing a product that will satisfy the customer or a service that will serve the customer to his satisfaction.
As with any plan, a QI plan must include a definition of purpose, identification of the processes that require change or improvement, a description of the measures that may be adopted and finally a detailed description of how the manager plans to implement the change. This change, though focused on one area of the business, will also impact other areas. For example, as suggested by Patricia Kovel-Jarobe (1996), a technological transfer or adopting a new technology such as cloud computing, will impact not only the IT department of the business but also sales, production, purchase and other areas. If the organization decides to implement a new technology, it will have to be all pervasive. Every employee within the organization will need to be trained in the use of the new technology. An attempt to improve quality therefore requires an organizational change.
In conclusion, we may state that CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement) is a continuous process that involves continuous change in the organization. Although CQI originates from customer dissatisfaction, it is a process that involves the not the customer but the people working in the organization. The employees must be encouraged to adapt to change not just for the purpose under consideration but as a way of life. It involves inculcating a whole new culture – that of a willingness to change – within the organization. A more detailed research and discussion on the aspects of CQI will help managers better understand the concept of CQI and its implementation.
Adams, K. (2012). Continuous Quality Improvement. Academicdepartments.musc.edu. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/fm_ruralclerkship/curriculum/cqi.htm
Goodwin, C., & Griffith, D. (2008). Supervisor's survival kit. (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Martin, K. T. (2000). Continuous quality improvement: Methods and tools (2nd ed.). Riverside, CA: RC Educational Consulting Services, Inc.
Patricia Kovel-Jarboe (1996), Quality Improvement: A Strategy for Planned Organizational Change, 1996 The Board of Trustees, University of Illinois.