Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

The Spiritual Perspective of Quality: A Scriptural Dimension

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

The Spiritual Perspective of Quality: A Scriptural Dimension

Article excerpt


The spiritual dimension of quality is probably the most powerful and most pervasive of all the product and service quality dimensions. It forces us to look beyond ourselves and our narrow self-interests. Powerful though may be, the spiritual dimension is perhaps still the most humane of all the dimensions. It helps us to realize how connected we are to one another and to the world outside of ourselves.

Keywords: Spiritual dimension, Quality, Product, Service, World.


Quality is a complex concept. Its meaning varies with different people and organizations. For example, a common notion of quality is that it is synonymous with superiority or excellence (Evans and Lindsay, 1999). It is something that is intuitively understood but almost impossible to communicate to others (Foster, 2007, Akinyele and Akinyele, 2008). This view is referred to as the transcendent definition of quality. You may not be able to define it precisely but "you know it when you see it" (Pirsig, 1974,). Another definition of quality is that it is a function of a specific, measurable variable. This product-based approach views quality as the presence or absence of a particular desired attribute. The greater the amount of a desired attribute possessed by a product or service, the better the quality.

The manufacturing-based approach defines quality as conformance to a set of requirements or specifications and "making it right the first time" (Crosby, 1979, Akinyele, 2007). Any deviation from these requirements or specifications implies lack of quality. According to the user- based approach, quality "lies in the eyes of the beholder" (Garvin, 1988,). The quality of a product or service depends on its ability to satisfy the preferences of individual consumers. The user-based definition is one that is highly subjective. The value-based approach, on the other hand, defines quality in terms of cost and price. A quality product or service is one that "performs or conforms" at an acceptable cost or price.

Product quality can be described in terms of eight dimensions or categories (Garvin, 1988, Akinyele and Akinyele, 2008). They are performance, features, reliability, conformance, durability, serviceability, aesthetics, and perceived quality. Although this list is the most widely cited and used, it is by no means exhaustive. Service quality, on the other hand, can be disaggregated into five key dimensions (Zeithamel, Parasuraman, and Berry, 1990). They are tangibles, service reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. This list is also by no means exhaustive. A major challenge associated with multiple definitions and dimensions of quality is communication (Foster, 2007). When communication is weak, it is difficult to devise a coherent strategic plan relating to quality. If different units in the organization understand quality differently, the strategic plan will not be in alignment. Therefore, as a matter of necessity, the existence of multiple definitions and dimensions should allow for measures to be taken to work towards a common quality definition and a common quality goal. When quality definitions and dimensions were first developed, they were designed to provide manufacturing and service firms a sound theoretical foundation for quality initiatives like total quality management (TQM) . Unfortunately, many of these initiatives have been deemed to be failures (Koch, 2003). While a number of businesses have experimented with the approach and have become world class competitors, many others have not performed according to expectations. Worker opinion surveys pointed to management attitude as a major source of grievances (Holoviak, 1995). Of course, this is hardly what we would expect to happen in a TQM world. It seemed as if many TQM programs in the United States have focused too much on intensifying work and failed to address adequately the plight of those who did the work. It also appeared that the TQM structure that emerged from years of application resulted in more control by management instead of more opportunities given to workers to influence the direction and focus of their TQM efforts. …

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