Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Challenging professional quality management in educational organizations

Quality education is the main driver for the lifelong learning of people and the development of the organizations and society. Accordingly, also UNESCO’s global vision for education towards 2030 is endeavoring to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
From the quality point of view, the existing situation is however very fragmented. A great variety of organizations provide formal and non-formal education for lifelong learning to people having very different needs and expectations, and the education providers and experts are not very aware of the general professional quality concepts and practices.
Very recently the international standardization committee ISO/PC 288 has started the work of harmonizing quality management in the educational organizations with the other organizations of the society by using the common professional approach. This new standardization will challenge all educational organizations, because it requires the adoption of the general basic quality concepts and quality management structures and practices. This will enable educational organizations to demonstrate their ability to provide consistently education to the requirements and strive for enhancing satisfaction of the involved parties.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Finance management in quality management

Quality topic is considered in the organizational framework in the traditional professional quality management references. Quality management is not any distinct management area, but it is seamlessly integrated with all actions of the business management of any organization. Quality management refers to the business management with regard to quality or in more details to the coordinated activities to direct and control the organization with regard to fulfilling the needs and expectations of all the different interested parties of the organization [1]. In fact, quality management equals the quality of management.
   Owners (shareholders) and business leaders are important interested parties of all organizations, and the financial performance of the organization is their major subject of interest. Hence the financial management also is an important area of the quality management. In addition, Juran considers in his classical Trilogy Model [2] that quality management and financial management are analogous subjects. Many external partners and the organization’s own personnel also have certain needs and expectations of the financial performance of the organization, e.g. through proper financial reports. Additionally market reactions are intensified by the aggregated opinions of newsagents, commentators, market analysts, experts, citizens, and the community at large on the organization’s finances, which may have a significant impact on organizations’ overall operations and sustained success. Price is an important quality characteristic for the customer.
   Holistically the performance excellence models, which are today recognized practices to evaluate organizations’ overall quality performance, consist of four categories of performance [3]: (a) product, (b) customer-focused, (c) financial and marketplace, and (d) operational performance. Evaluation criteria against these models include the established general financial business indicators like financial return, financial viability, or budgetary performance [4].
   Prerequisite for good management consists of clear management principles, effective managing tools, and efficient managing infrastructure [5]. All specialized managerial areas have their recognized managerial methodologies and tools. This also applies to the financial management [6].
   Different needs and expectations of the interested parties should be considered in a balanced way in the organization’s quality management. However, today it is a danger that business leaders overly prioritize financial performance aspects according to the neoliberalistic [7] tradition, and it is difficult for other specialized viewpoints, e.g. customer satisfaction, to get a remarkable role in their agendas. However, as the counterbalance to such development, due to general global influence, the impact of many other aspects, including environmental protection, ethics, social responsibility, etc., strengthen organizations’ holistic management and the role of financial management within the quality management. Especially, in the global business environment we have to remember that the Earth’s resources are not unlimited, and hence the prevailing judgements on market capitalism and shareholder value maximization will not be sustainable for a long time [8]. We have to take into account that sustainable development meets present needs without compromising the needs of future generations, and that long-term and holistic thinking is essential also for the business success.
1.     ISO, (2015), ISO 9000:2015. Quality management systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary, ISO, Geneva
2.     Juran, J. (1988), Juran on planning for quality. Juran Institute, Inc., The Free Press, New York
3.     National Institute for Standards and Technology, NIST (2010), Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, NIST. Washington
4.     Ipid.
5.     Senge P., Roberts C., Ross B, and Kleiner A. (1995), The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, Nicholas Brealey Publishing Limited, London
6.     Jussila, K. and Anttila, J. (2015), Quality management in enhancing firms’ financial performance in global operations, The World Quality Forum, Budapest
7.     Martinez, E. and Garcia, A. (1996),What isNeoliberalism?
8.     Dunlop, I., Kanninen, T. and Aaltonen M. (2015), Manifesto for a sustainable planet. Transforming global emergency toopportunity and action

Friday, July 03, 2015

Reviving the quality profession on the basis of reinforced ontological and epistemological foundation

Quality profession is now in a crisis. From methodological and practical point of view the profession has fragmented into many different and even competing schools that mainly are based on separate tools and practices created by various experts and consultants. Holistic understanding and profound knowledge basis are missing in these approaches. ISO 9000 standardization seems to be the only reference that provides globally recognized concepts, principles and the operational framework for the quality profession. However, also ISO 9000 standardization is stagnated due to the lack of creative development and the overly emphasized commercial certification or registration. At the same time serious quality problems have been reported (e.g. [1]) in organizations and societies and evidence presented that the quality profession has not fulfilled its original promises.
   The crisis cannot be solved only through rearranging or rephrasing the existing methodologies, but one should reinforce the scientific basis and the knowledge foundation of the profession.
   For the scientific basis for quality profession we should make the ontological and epistemological foundation clear. Ontology presents the original pattern of which all the quality objects and concepts are derived, modeled or emulated and which explicates all involved phenomena and events with regard to quality. Epistemology refers to the knowledge, the assumptions upon which it is based, and therefore gives us answers what we "do know" and "can know" about quality and its practical implementations.
   We have recognized that the core "archetype" phenomenon in all quality situations is the interactive transaction of two parties that provides to the both parties beneficial outcome that mainly consists of services. Basic concepts that are essential for the ontological consideration of the quality profession include quality, quality management and quality improvement. According to our research [2] we are convinced that the existing ISO 9000 standard definition [3] of these concepts are valid, conceptually correct from the scientific point of view and also challenging for creative practical implementations.
  The need of reviving is not the challenge of quality management only, but it applies in many other specialized managerial disciplines, too. We have considered the ontological and epistemological foundation of several quality related managerial themas with the "Vee heuristics" model [4] (figure 1) including information security management [5], business process management [6,7] and quality management [8,9].

Figure 1. Bridging the chasm between theory and practice in the business integrated quality management, "Quality integration", by using the ontological and epistemological foundation and the Vee heuristic visualization [4].  

The profound scientific conceptualization gives the steady basis for creative practical implementations of quality integration solutions [10] in organizations without artificial or restrictive formal frameworks or methodologies [11].

1. The Chartered Quality Institute, The new quality profession challenge, 2014,
2. ISO, ISO 9000:2015, Quality management systems - Fundamentals and vocabulary, 2015, ISO, Geneva, Switzerland
3. The ongoing research of quality integration at Aalto University with Kari Jussila
4. Wheeldon. J, and Åhlberg. M., Vizualizing social science research, 2012, Sage Publications, Los Angeles, USA
5. Anttila, J., Jussila, K., Kajava. J. and Kamaja, I. , Integrating ISO/IEC 27001 and other managerial discipline standards with processes of management in organizations, The 7th International Conference on availability, reliability and security (AReS 2012), 2012, Prague, Czech Republic
6. Anttila, J. and Jussila, K., An advanced insight into managing business processes in practice, The 15th QMOD Conference on quality and service sciences, 2012, Poznan, Poland
7. Anttila, J. and Jussila, K., People aspects, an undervalued area in the procedures of business process management, 57th EOQ Congress, 2013, Tallinn, Estonia
8. Anttila, J., ISO 9000 standards series, A continuous subject to the wide international interest and application,
9. Anttila, J. and Jussila, K., Striving for the “Quality society” through high quality education and lifelong learning, 59th EOQ Congress, 2015, Athens, Greece
10. Anttila, J., Quality integration,
11. Anttila, J., Getting ISO 9000 happened more efficiently without a quality system and third party certificates, In Ahluwalia, J.S. (ed.), Changing role of TQM in the knowledge economy. Institute of Directors, New Delhi, India, 2001