Corporate Culture and the Quality Organization

Corporate Culture and the Quality Organization

Corporate Culture and the Quality Organization

Corporate Culture and the Quality Organization


Most quality management programs focus on the tools that can be employed to improve quality, but the long-term results of these efforts have been mixed. The only way to ensure that quality improvement will have lasting consequences for a firm is to change the corporate culture. Having the appropriate level of technical knowledge to address quality problems is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for realizing the hoped-for improvement. Only when the entire culture of the corporation, starting with a visionary leader and senior management, is receptive to the adoption of new tools will any substantial progress be made.

Fairfield-Sonn, a management consultant and professor of management, argues that success in this endeavor depends not only on mastering the components of a quality corporate culture but on understanding how to put those components together. He describes not only what must be done to establish a quality culture but how to stage a rollout of a quality program to enhance the likelihood of the effort's long-term success. Four in-depth case studies- Fidelity Investments, General Electric, Torrington Supply Company, and Connecticut Renaissance- are presented for illustration and instruction by way of example. Geared toward executives and consultants as well as those teaching courses in production and operations management, process management, total quality management, and corporate culture.


It has been known for some time that the quality of products and services offered by a firm is one of the best predictors of longterm organizational performance. Given this fact, it would make sense for continuous quality improvement to be one of the top priorities of all organizations. Yet, in reality, we know that firms vary widely in the level of quality that they aspire to offer to their customers as well as how well they deliver on whatever promises they make.

Why do some firms provide higher-quality goods and services than others? Many thoughts have been offered over the years. In studying firms that have consistently improved their quality over time, however, common patterns emerge. In other words, improving quality is not a mysterious process. Rather, the success of these companies can be traced back to a set of disciplined activities that they routinely engage in and work hard at doing well, albeit in somewhat different ways. These disciplined activities allow them to gain a competitive edge.

The aim of this book is to identify and illustrate those core activities that are repeatedly associated with successful quality improvement efforts. Given its intent, this book is different from most others in the field in three important respects. First, the goal . . .

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