Anttila Venture Knowledgist Quality Integration Helsinki, Finland
NEW PRINCIPLES, TOOLS,
AND INFRASTRUCTURES FOR QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN MODERN CHANGED BUSINESS
From quality management to quality of management - How to avoid
burn-out in quality management
Business environments have been changed remarkable during the recent
years. However, development of quality management has not accommodated
sufficiently along with these general trends. Therefore we have
serious problems in quality approaches in organizations. That has
also caused frustration within the whole quality discipline. There
is a strong need for reform and modernization in quality management
approaches to be applied in modern organizations. This paper discusses
new principles, tools, and infrastructures that are based on deep
understanding of the modern business environments and recent innovations
in quality management tools and practices.
From confusions and problems to clarity,
excellence and sustainable success
In many cases quality development has not redeemed its promises
indisputably. There are serious problems in the prevalent quality
management approaches. These include the following:
- Business management is not involved / committed. - Quality is
a specialist issue.
- Communication between business managers and quality experts is
- Quality initiatives - e.g. building distinct quality systems -
are not business-centered.
- People don't recognize or understand - not even experts - difference
between quality management (QM) and quality assurance (QA) as these
concepts have been defined in the standard ISO 9000.
- There are lots of different, distinct, and competing quality methodologies
on which even quality experts don't share the same opinions. This
applies e.g. to ISO 9000 standards, performance excellence models
(quality awards criteria), lean manufacturing, and SixSigma methodology.
- There are many other specialized managerial initiatives that compete
with quality development e.g. environmental management, human resource
management, risk management, knowledge management, information technology
governance, corporate governance, social responsibility, etc. Even
conflict situations may occur between different expertises within
- Quality initiatives in many organizations are certification-emphasized,
that are not necessarily enhancing business performance. Certification
is commercialized and lost its credibility.
- Often quality related actions are only reactive and very little
proactive, e.g. in applying standards.
- Formal documentation is highlighted instead of a comprehensive
management and application of business information and knowledge.
There is a lack of innovations in the field of quality practices
and methodology. One may wonder whether it has been created anything
remarkable new for organizations' quality development after Deming,
Ichikawa, and Juran. Quality discipline has not been able to follow
the general development of organizations' business development and
trends of the society at large (figure 1).
Figure 1. Ability to adapt is a great problem of quality profession.
Genuinely all quality initiatives and measures should strive for
enhancing overall operational (business) performance, effectiveness
and efficiency, productivity and profitability, satisfaction and
confidence, competitiveness, etc. Overall business or organizational
performance consists of non-financial and financial facts relating
to business processes and products (goods and services) that also
permit evaluations and comparisons relative to organizational goals,
standards, past results, and to other organizations. Main performance
- Customer-related performance
- Operational performance, including process, project and product
performance and human resource performance
- Financial and marketplace performance
Performance relates to both business activity and its results. Overall
performance refers to performance from the entire organization's
point of view and is linked to organization's valid mission, vision,
and strategic focus.
In organizational practices, there are many different concepts
in use for describing specifically and quantitatively a business
performance. These terms are not, however, used clearly in practice.
E.g. the following concepts have caused much confusion:
- Performance - Performing ability (activity) and its achievements
("an sich"). All items have always a certain performance.
- Service level - Requirements agreed by contracting parties, service
level agreements (SLA's)
- Grade - Fulfilling general standard requirements, e.g. hotel categories
- Quality - Degree of fulfilling needs and expectations of all stakeholders
- Excellence - Quality excelling challenging references
Interestingly, the basic concept quality is not at all a clear
issue in practice. It has many understandings and interpretations
even among quality professionals. One should also note that the
ISO 9000 standard term "requirements" is very often confusing.
According to the official definition it means stakeholders' needs
Definitions of same terms may be different in different references.
One may have additional difficulties when using translations in
different languages. The key concepts should always be clarified
according to the context and viewpoint of the case in question.
More important than the definitions is the communication process
for mutual understanding of the concepts.
Only performance excellence may ensure sustainable success for
organizations - excellence that is originated from organizations'
operational activities (business processes) and not only being superficially
outstanding. Excellence means excelling, surpassing the certain
reference levels of performance. Challenging references include:
- Exceeding own performance goals and targets
- Succeeding in business performance within own industry branch
in average or being among the best competitors
- Evidencing world class performance including benchmarks and best
practices, and particularly among different business branches
When striving for practical and effective solutions for quality
management, all recognized references emphasize integration
An innovative quality approach is particularly needed in market
driven business environments. There are no single solutions to business
challenges. One must always develop organization-dedicated innovative
and unique approaches. In competitive business environments multiple
different choices for quality management should be encouraged. There
are extensive national movements for strengthening innovation in
all kinds of organizations, e.g. in EU and USA. This has often seen
as the next wave of the international quality movement. Innovation
should take place also in the development of the quality principles
Integration is the main strategy for excellent performance by quality
management. Integration implies:
- Implementing effective and efficient quality principles and methodology
embedded within normal business management activities (especially
in business processes) including strategic management and operational
- Enhancing continually the business performance in a systematic
way and by collaborative learning in the organization
- Acting against distinct "quality systems" (that factually
means lack of integration). Integrating only e.g. ISO 9000 and ISO
14000 aspects into one system is not yet any integration in a business
Business-separated quality initiatives are artificial (disintegration).
Standards-initiated quality approach in an organization is absurd
and ineffective. Integration deals with all necessary expertise
areas of business management.
Cornerstones and goal of an organization's successful management
and performance excellence are summarized in figure 2. Excellent
performance and quality are originated in good management ofn organizations
and are based on:
- Clear understanding of the guiding ideas, concepts, and principles
- Effective management tools
- Effective innovative management infrastructure
Figure 2. Cornerstones for striving for excellence in quality of
Organizational identity and profile
Starting point to the quality development is organizational identity
and knowing environment of the organization. An organization's integral
and holistic oneness is created by the organization itself. An orgnization's
ethos - the way of life, the mindset - should be in harmony with
its environments. All organizations - and also all business communities
- have distinctive characteristics.
Business leaders' duty is to establish, maintain and develop the
holistic business identity of an organization in the real business
environments. Even quality initiatives should be aligned with that.
There are useful practices and tools available to define organization's
business profile. Malcolm Baldrige performance excellence criteria's
clauses P1 and P2 define a framework for the organizational profile
as a snapshot for the organization including the key influences
on how the organization operate and the key challenges it faces.
Also in the ISO 9000 standardization, there is under consideration
a particular approach for the same purpose (figure 3). This will
be a methodology to provide important information on any organizations
business bases and realities before going to the application of
the standards and other knowledge sources for performance improvement.
Figure 3. Organizational profile defining managerial grid developed
in the ISO 9000 standardization committee
Operational realities and environments
In excellent quality realizations organizations take seriously
into consideration their operational environment as a whole and
their own identity in this environment. All organizations whether
they are large or small, profit or not-for-profit exist and operate
in an environment that is complex, ever changing, volatile and ambiguous
- an environment where the dominant features today are uncertainty
and change. Moreover, every organization has an impact on, and is
impacted by, its environment in a unique way, and for that and other
reasons each and every organization has a unique identity. However,
despite each organization having a unique identity, all organizations
have a number of features in common. All organizations have a single
management system (which may be implicit or explicit, simple or
complex) that is the focus and responsibility of top management.
All organizations also share the purpose or aim of creating a benefit,
or value, by producing some kinds of products that are offered to
customers. While some organizations are created to achieve a short-term
objective, most expect to sustain their activities over a long period.
The true operational business reality is different from appearance,
or the reality we perceive explicitly. Actual and apparent reality
may be distinguished with the terms implicate and explicate order.
The implicate order is to be a metaphysical entity related to things
and actions as well as consciousness (figure 2). It is the fundamental
underlying substructure of everything. It is a vast and deeper level
of reality out of which our reality unfolds and where everything
is enfolded into everything. The implicate order is continually
unfolding into what we experience as the manifest world, the explicit
Business environments of all kinds of organizations from small
and big companies to public and not-for-profit organizations have
been changed from certainty and predictability to uncertainty and
ambiguity. That includes the following:
- All are linked with everything else, all linkages are not known.
- Organizations are operating in emergent and self-organizing networks
- There are many heterogeneous global actors in virtual networks.
- Business processes are complex responsive processes of relating.
- There is a paradox freedom of the actors ("both-and"
instead of "either-or")
- Simultaneous there are requirements for agility and maturity.
- Significance of immaterial issues (information, knowledge, services)
is greater than of material issues.
- Transaction phenomena and related costs are key aspects for forming
business organizations and arrangements.
- Increased speed of activities and change are prerequisites for
- Employees and business leaders are under immense pressure and
These environments cause a lot of difficulties and problems but
provide also new opportunities in the realization of quality management.
Practical experiences from development within different organizations
prove that organizations could cope with and adapt for the new business
requirements for quality management according to the thinking framework
of figure 2. This requires suitable solutions for new changed business
- Changes in the basic concepts and principles of quality management
for understanding the issue clearly and effectively reflecting new
thinking and understanding of the topic
- New tools that are necessary / useful and suitable for considering
organizational identity and profile (e.g. figure 3), and for developing
a business-integrated approach of quality management, performance
evaluations, documentation / information / knowledge management,
and quality assurance. These are especially based on new organizational
operating and learning theories leveraged by new information / knowledge
- Quality management approaches and infrastructural aspects for
operating in complex and networked business environments
Principles and models for a good management
Quality management concepts
Traditional basic concepts of quality and quality management according
to the ISO 9000 standard are still valid in today's business circumstances
but they must be understood in an innovative and integrative way.
The very basic concepts in this context for any quality approach
are quality, quality management (QM) and quality assurance (QA).
Regarding the concept quality there are in use many different definitions
even among quality specialists. Threfore it is very pracmaticly
useful to use standardardized definition of ISO 9000 at least in
business contexts: Quality = Degree of fulfilling needs and expectations
of all stakeholders
QM equals quality of management: Degree to which coordinated activities
by the management of an organization to direct and control the organization
fulfill the needs and expectations of organization's all stakeholders.
Quality management is the responsibility of business leaders and
it is taking place through the managing actions of business leaders.
Quality experts have an assisting role. This is also the meaning
of QM in the recent ISO 9000 standards and the issue is further
emphasized in the next generation of the ISO 9004 standard for year
Quality management system (QMS) is the basic concepts for getting
quality of management happen in any organization in a systematic
way. There are two parts in this concept of QMS:
- Management system (of an organization), MS: A system to establish
policy and objectives (of an organization) and to achieve those
- Quality, Q: A qualifier (attribute) characterizing a management
system (MS) to which degree it fulfils the needs and expectations
of organization's stakeholders
The term quality management system has caused a lot of confusions,
especially when translated into different languages. And many organizations
are still using concept quality system (QS) although it was removed
from ISO 9000 standards already almost ten years ago. Perhaps therefore
still QMS is understood as a system for quality that is a very artificial
issue in practice.
QMS is principally aimed for organization's own internal business
management needs and purposes for business excellence. In order
to differ from the others an organization could use a particular
title for its QMS. E. g. a company that emphasizes innovativeness
in its business - and also in its quality approach - calls its QMS
as IBR - Innovative Business Realization.
QA is for the external purpose of business for creating and strengthening
confidence within customers (and other stakeholders) in business
relationships. QA is particularly a communication issue between
an organization and its stakeholders.
Both QM and QA are always needed in practical organizational cases.
The concept (QMS) relates to both QM and QA. QA is a sub-item of
QM. In the ISO 9000 standard family QM and QA were designed to be
a consistent pair of these QMS items. If an organization has not
explicitly used ISO 9004 but only ISO 9001, the organization should
ensure consistency of its ISO 9001 solution directly with organization's
business system. ISO 9001 is only for QA.
Principles of good management
There are many appreciated references for principles of a good
/ excellent management. Especially the following four sets of principles
for a good management could be used in all organizations:
1. ISO 9000 standards - Quality management principles:
a. Customer focus
c. Involvement of people
d. Process approach
e. System approach to management
f. Continual improvement
g. Factual approach to decision making
h. Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
2. Malcolm Baldrige Criteria - Core values and concepts:
a. Visionary leadership
b. Customer-driven excellence
c. Organizational and personal learning
d. Valuing employees and partners
f. Focus on the future
g. Managing for innovation
h. Management by fact
i. Social responsibility
j. Focus on results and creating value
k. Systems perspective
3. EFQM Criteria - Fundamental concepts of excellence:
a. Results orientation
b. Customer focus
c. Leadership and constancy of purpose
d. Management by processes and facts
e. People development and involvement
f. Continuous learning, innovation
g. Partnership development
h. Corporate social responsibility
4. Deming Application Prize Criteria - Total quality management
a. Distinctive performance improvement
through the application of TQM:
and customer-oriented business objectives and strategies under the
Proper implementation of TQM to achieve the business objectives
Outstanding results obtained for the business objectives
b. TQM understanding and enthusiasm:
at long-term success through benefits to customers and other interested
Managing the organization putting 'quality' in its core
Top management leadership, vision, strategies, and policies
Participation of organization's all members based on human resource
and applying effective quality management methods
Improving and transforming organization's constitution for sustainable
Although these references use different titles and phraseology
their contents are very similar and they all relate to good principles
for managing an organization.
When applying these "standard" principles in a particular
organization one should take into account organization's specific
business needs and situations in an innovative way.
As an example, a company tried to take into account all aspects
of the mentioned references and apply them in their modern business
environments. They focused the results into following seven fundamental
principles for managing the organization towards performance excellence:
a. Centering on customers' needs and expectations individually
b. Envisioning the future challenges
c. Valuing employees
d. Managing the organization as a system of responsive and agile
e. Appreciating multiple means for discovering, collaborating, and
learning in order to continually enhance organization's business
f. Networking and valuing partners
g. Anticipating timely changes in the needs and expectations of
the market and society
Defining these principles by the team of executives of the company
was really a challenging exercise for quality of management.
How could an excellent performance of management be achieved? There
is a huge amount of studies, research and literature on management.
There are also many competing schools for a good management, and
plenty of managerial tools are available. Many feel the situation
confusing. On behalf of management development, it is made so much
that the thing itself may disappear.
There is no single model or standards that could describe what
a good management practice is. However, management can be always
developed better and more effective in a systematic way. Systematic
management could be more effective and efficient than unsystematic
and in that context adequate models, tools, and standards may be
A well-known general and recognized model for all areas of management
is PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) model or Deming / Shewhart cycle. In
organizational environments the PDCA model is to be applied in three
different scopes that cover the whole area of QM:
- Control: Managing daily operations in business processes for ensuring
the specified results. Normally rectifying nonconformities is carried
out in connection with control.
- Prevention and operational improvements: Solving acute problems,
preventing nonconformities, responding to acute changes in business
circumstances, and finding / implementing operational step by step
improvements in business processes
- Breakthrough improvements: Innovating and implementing strategically
significant changes in the way doing business
Due to the fast development of the modern business environments,
particularly the breakthrough management has become more relevant
than earlier. It is a today a must for sustainable success.
Performance excellence models
By using the PDCA model comprehensively one may also apply the
ISO 9000 standards and performance excellence models (quality award
criteria) for finding advice to the details. Again organization's
own identity, organizational profile, and business needs must be
There are complementary similarities and differences in ISO 9000
standards and performance excellence models. Therefore they supplement
each other in an excellent way when they are integrated within specific
business environments. These widely used reference models have:
- Same general goals:
o Customers' and other stakeholders'
o Continual development towards organization's
o Emphasis on top management's full
o Structure, and substance items of
o Systematic, comprehensive approach
for the quality of management
o Terminology and language
Both ISO standardization and excellence model organizations support
the combined use of the ISO 9004 standard and the excellence models,
e.g. the ISO standardization committee TC 176 has developed guidance
on promoting the use of ISO 9004 in combination with the performance
excellence models as a path to performance excellence. In this work
especially the following performance excellence models were examined
in a close cooperation with the responsible performance model organizations:
- Deming Application Prize (DAP)
- Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBQA)
- European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM)
- Fundación Iberoamericana para la Gestión de la Calidad
Additionall the International Asia Pacific Quality Award (IAPQA)
has a large coverage of Asian-Pacific countries. It is using the
Malcolm Baldrige Model.
Modern operational infrastructures
Modern organizations operate in networked business environments.
Genuine networks are unplanned, emergent entities. Their growth
is sporadic and self-organizing. Different kinds of actors are involved
within today's business networks:
- Companies and organizations (private, public, not-for-profit)
- Business units, competence centers
- Individuals, e.g. experts and business leaders
There cannot be any common values, targets, or strategies in this
kind of networks. Each actor has its own reason and interest to
be a member of the network. Additionally all actors have always
certain networking characteristics and impacts in the network:
- Access: Actor's easiness getting to the resources of the network
- Reach: Actor's potential wielding influence in the network
- Control: Actor's ability to control over the resources of the
In networked business environments conventional quality systems,
quality organizations, quality manuals or quality records, traditional
work of quality managers, or third party certifications have very
little or no beneficial role for the real purpose of quality management.
In fact, they may even cause more harm than advantage. However,
the networks themselves may be very useful for quality of the member
organizations in the network because of win / win relationships.
Complex responsive processes of relating
Cooperating networked organizations may be patterned through complex
responsive processes of relating that consist of many different
types of activities (figure 4).
How to manage with networked situation depends on the following
1. Identity of the actors: The actors themselves (process / activity
/ automatic actor / person) and the set of characteristics by which
the actors are definitively recognizable
2. Relationship of actors: Level of agreement, degree of certainty,
level of win / win
3. Communication between actors: Open / restricted / closed / fuzzy
Figure 4. Activities in complex responsive processes of relating.
All kinds of activities may exist in the cooperating business processes.
Appropriate management actions should be selected based on the degree
of certainty and level of agreement on the issue in question.
If the relating processes are not clearly identified (e.g. by process
plans), the situation falls into pieces of interacting process-internal
actors, and even may develop towards chaos or anarchy. Some of the
relating processes may even be unknown or hostile.
Managerial quality tools
Investing in tools
Managerial quality-tools consist of practical systematic operating
models, methodologies, means, etc. and even useful theories. There
is a huge amount of different tools for quality management available.
Very often these offerings cause confusion in organizations and
even among quality experts. Tools have only instrumental value but
nevertheless they are important for achieving efficiently targets
of quality of management in practice. A business management tool
is always an investment including:
- Investigating needs and offerings
- Commissioning, training
- Maintenance, improvement
Therefore it is essential that tools are effective and efficient,
and selected, planned and maintained carefully for organization's
real needs. A tool is beneficial only if it is used beneficially.
In a consistent management system, tools are developed and maintained
in a proper way. As an example, the following methodologies were
the major managerial tools in a "business excellence tool kit"
of an organization with which particularly quality experts of the
organization were involved:
- Process management model
- Project management model
- Balanced strategy card (developed from balanced scorecard)
- Self-assessment methodology
- Process performance assessment methodology (auditing practice)
- Benchmarking methodology
- Problem solving (e.g. SixSigma process and tools) and innovative
performance improvement methodology
Many experiences prove that process management model is obviously
the most significant methodology in striving for excellence in managing
an organization, even more significant in modern environments. However,
other tools from other expert areas, e.g. financial management,
human resource management, technology management, risk management,
purchasing and logistics, marketing, etc. are also essential for
the quality of management.
Leveraging information / knowledge
in quality management
Modern organizations are very strongly dependent on knowledge and
information. Knowledge / information can never exist only as such
but they have always some kind of carriers:
- Fact: phenomenon, activity, process
- Data: measurement or data acquisition device
- Information (explicit knowledge): information file or data base,
report, procedure document, publication, book
- Tacit (implicit) knowledge: person, expert, consultant, expert
network or system
- Wisdom: community, mankind
Successful organizational management is based on right knowledge
and managerial skills to use the knowledge for the current business
needs. In fact, quality management is principally management of
organizational business information and knowledge. Additionally,
exchange of information is necessary between customers, employees,
shareholders, suppliers, business partners, and the great public.
The use of information and communication technology (ICT) has been
increased overwhelmingly within all kinds of organizations, their
management systems, business processes, and relationships with stakeholders.
However, this has often taken place in terms of ICT solutions only.
This has induced to difficult situations in many business cases.
Modern electronic business solutions and ICT systems have become
almost obligatory in all kinds of businesses. However, typically
they have not made the total situation easier because, in fact,
they are much more than only technological issues. One should also
take into account thinking, understanding, competences, skills,
commitment, and feelings of users of the IT systems. These things
are linked to the tacit or implicit knowledge of people.
Also quality management is primarily based on the beneficial use
of business related data, information, and knowledge. Multifarious
methodologies, tools, and practices of managing knowledge should
be used in the context of professional quality applications, and
even quality experts should be aware and follow the general development
of these aspects. Quality experts and the application of recognized
quality references, especially ISO 9000 standards and performance
excellence models, have traditionally emphasized explicit information,
e.g. documentation, written descriptions and procedures, specifications,
agreements, and information records. Tacit knowledge has not been
considered as consistently and in the same details and deepness.
However, the most voluminous and important part of knowledge from
the business point of view is tacit.
Knowing and managing information /
Traditional business information solutions that have emphasized
distinct and rather passive information / knowledge bases include:
- Knowing / learning individuals
- Loose and fragmented paper documents
- Copied or printed manuals, procedure documents, record reports,
- Fragmented documents in information systems
- Semi-structured information systems or intranets
- Variable share of Office and HTML documents
- Separate IT systems and applications
Also traditional quality management approaches are based on these
same means including handbooks, procedure documents, records, etc.
For exchange of information / knowledge, communication (Anttila,
2001), organizations have used separate practices and means that
typically have included the following:
- Physical meetings, seminars, training events
- Telephone, telefax
- Searching information from Internet, intranet, and extranet
- Group work systems, like Lotus Notes
- Formal e-learning systems
The modern approach is to integrate information/knowledge bases
together with communication and collaboration.
Supporting collaborative cooperation
and enhancing quality awareness
Separate information / knowledge bases and communication systems
and practices are not necessarily effective for leveraging the beneficial
use of information / knowledge in an organization. The new approach
is striving for integrated and effective solutions consisting of
- Knowing / learning networked people in collaboration
- Portals and portlettes, integrated solutions (using e.g. SOA,
service oriented architecture)
- Collaborative group work and social networking infrastructures,
Web 2.0 tools and applications
- Semantic web solutions
- Collaborative on-the-job learning
Especially Web 2.0 and social media applications provide challenging
new possibilities for quality management. These approaches have
been described with concepts "Enterprise 2.0" and "Real
Time Economy, RTE" for which there are many applications developed
Management learning in organizations has been based on training
by traditional or e-learning means. However, investments in these
solutions have not proved effective. Only basic management skills
including quality aspects may be learned by traditional training
programs. Business leaders are busy and not interested in using
ordinary e-learning means. E-learning solutions based on "learning
management systems" have not been encouraging. Systems are
too expensive, learning too boring, search of material (learning
objects) too cumbersome, and reusable objects not really reusable.
Additional challenge is that half-life of the relevant business
knowledge has shortened.
Effective learning is the key for developing quality in management.
Organizational and personal learning are prerequisites for enhancing
management / leadership skills. These skills are needed at different
levels in organizations, including the board, executives, directors,
managers, process owners, project managers, and individuals (self-management).
On-the-job learning offers cost-effective way to link learning to
the organizational needs and priorities. For quality management
this particularly means enhancing quality awareness within an organization.Factually
80% of the learning takes place by informal learning and serendipity.
Knowledge Work Environment (KWE) is a modern IT (in this context
interactive technology) supported approach to facilitate effective
and efficient knowledge-intensive and networked business activities.
KWE provides remarkable improvement to the current problems of organizational
training / e-learning and documentation applications. Management
is most important area of these activities in all organizations.
KWE provides means for learning through improving internal and external
interactive and collaborative communication of management and experts,
and building social knowledge and intelligence. Management learning
is integrated with normal managing activities of the business leaders.
This is also a very natural way to learn to quality of management.
Effective e-learning requires application of new learning theories
like connectivity, interactivity, and sharing information. KWE is
to realize these new learning theories in practical business cases.
It also facilitates learning in networks which is practical situation
in all business cases.
Figure 5. Virtual IT (interactive technology) supported managing
/ learning environment (KWE) of any organization XYZ by using Web
2.0 tools for quality approach via SAAS (Software as a Service)
KWE (figure 5) consists of ability to lead knowledge workers into
electronic work areas, where they work in collaboration to learn
by building new knowledge. They have also all relevant explicit
information easily available through related documents. The basic
KWE tools include blog, wiki, aggregator, forums, and files that
are based on proved social software or Web 2.0 technology. Software
for the tools-components are available from the open source software
community that is the biggest resource in the world for developing
software products. KWE replaces also all traditional quality management
Advanced self-assessment tools
Many different kinds of evaluations and assessments form an essential
part of quality management. Self-assessment by using performance
excellence models have proved useful in many organizations but the
used methodologies have often been too laborious and too much stagnated
to use one single model only. However, also in self-assessments
one may strive for new innovative approaches.
An example is 3-in-1 methodology where all contents from Malcolm
Baldrige and EFQM models and ISO 9000 standards have been combined
in a single assessment scheme that is also easy to modify for particular
business needs, e.g. healthcare. An innovative 3-in-1 methodology
uses an advanced ZEF (Z-score Electronic Feedback) technology that
offers a user-friendly and efficient tool to collect people's tacit
knowledge on views and opinions. ZEF is a unique web-based application.
Its applicability is broad. Especially, its two dimensional evaluation
charts offer effective and illustrative way to show achieved performance
in assessment questions and how important the questions are from
organization's business point of view.
Quality assurance (QA) according to ISO 9000 refers to measures
with which both customers as well as other stakeholders are getting
convinced of the fact that the requirements pertaining to products
are met and that the organization has reasonable abilities for that.
The essence of good QA is an effective communication. QA has to
be grounded in the actual practices and facts of the quality management
which have been created on the basis of an organization's business
Certification is a methodology for QA. Certification can be done
by the company itself (first-party certification or self-certification),
by the second party (customers), or by a third party (a service
company specialized in certifying services). Self-certification
combined with self-declaration is the most genuine and natural way
to proceed, which approach has gained interest due to various flaws
associated with third-party certifying. However, self-certification
requires a strong personal commitment to quality management from
the top management of organization. That is why certifying done
by an external third party can be a sign of weak management. It
also demonstrates obsolete control-centred approach to quality.
With regard to third-party certifications - should this become obligatory
or necessary in the light of marketing efforts - it is worthwhile
to restrict them to questions pertaining to safety, health, environmental
protection, and product liability. Serious criticism has been directed
at credibility of certifications made by third parties due to the
fact that these often entail emphasis on the business objectives
of the companies doing certifications. This means commercialization
of certification, and consultancy made by certification bodies.
One cannot distinguish oneself from competitors by leaning on general
third party certifications.
Third party certification is not the only way - and never the strongest
- to realize QA. There is a big and serious need for innovations
in QA solutions that can reflect excellence and clearly respond
to the needs of an organization and its customers. The e-business
technology (ICT) creates completely new cutting-edge solutions (e.g.
"e-certificate") for QA. E-certificate consists of Internet
site(s) or portal solution providing for assurance that an item
conforms to a standard or specification indicated by the certificate.
It gives also an opportunity to personalize and create partnership-dedicated
efficient solution with collaborative extranet technology or social
software. This solution is also facilitating flexible real time
and bilateral multi-media communication between cooperating partners
according to the principle of "Enterprise one to one"
(figure 6). With these means an organization may act individually
to fulfil QA needs of separate stakeholders.
Figure 6. Customer's differentiation and organization's capabilities
for an "enterprise one to one" approach is a challenge
also in quality management.
There is a lot of stagnation, doubts, and even frustration about
quality related initiatives in many organizations, e.g. application
of ISO 9000 standards and quality awards criteria has routinized
into stereotypic rituals. Major reasons for this kind of harmful
development obviously include lack of innovation, lack of courage
to take radically new approaches, and immense busyness of business
people. Especially traditional quality management practices have
not been enough flexible to accommodate to the needs of modern business
What should be done for rehabilitating the whole quality professionalism
When implementing quality management, one should reform QM principles
and create new effective professional methodology to be employed
in a natural and innovative manner integrated with organization-specific
business emphases and within contemporary management infrastructures
and business environments. General recognized principles and models
of good management can be used as a good starting point for this
development. New business approaches and emergent technologies may
cause problems but may also offer new challenging solutions.
When striving for competitiveness in these circumstances one could
underscore the following aspects:
- Recognizing business performance excellence instead of a narrow
- Striving for flexible realization of quality of management and
leadership instead of distinct and vague quality management (i.e.
management of quality) by using effective managerial methodology
- Applying innovative "systematicity" (systematic approach)
of the quality of management and leadership instead of formal and
distict quality (management) systems
- Using business-related quality management principles and actions
instead of formal and general quality assurance requirements only
- Setting stretched business objectives instead of minimum standard
- Aiming at innovative and unique solutions instead of stereotyped
- Relying on genuine and effective internal business performance
self-assessments and advanced QA communication instead of third
party audits and certifications of "artificial" quality
- Getting advantage of tacit knowledge instead of only records of
explicit data and information
- Networking with partners and recognized world-wide communities
of multifarious expertise
- Supporting various ways of collaborative learning instead narrow-minded
continual improvement and formal education
- Having genuine impacts on the organization's quality approach
and success by the behaviour of the top management.
- Reinforcing and using organization's own internal awareness and
expertise instead of passive use of external consultants
Basically, effective implementation of organization-dedicated business
integrated QM does not call for any extra measures or investments.
General information sources e.g. ISO 9000 standards and performance
excellence models can still be utilized as reference materials innovatively.
Experiences have proved that it is always worthwhile to improve
the existing management "systematicity" of the organization
based on a systematic methodology. This is still more important
in new dynamic business environments than in traditional business
relationships. For QM the organization must be always ready but
has been presented in different forms in different seminars or conferences,
e.g. in Prague Czech Republic 2007, Budapest Hungary 2007, Helsingborg
Sweden 2007, St. Petersburg Russia 2007]