Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Quality management system is principally a mental system

Quality management system is a concept that embodies the characteristics of good systematic overall management of an organization. That is e.g. intention of the definition in standard quality vocabulary, ISO 9000. This kind of management approach is strongly based on knowledge and information. However, factually traditional quality documentation, including quality manuals, procedure documents, quality records, and quality system certificates, has very little beneficial role for the real quality management (i.e. quality of management). In fact, they may even cause more harm than advantage. These documents represent explicit knowledge or information while quality management system is primarily and in large measure a mental system representing tacit (or implicit) knowledge and quality awareness within the organization. Researchers say that only one percent or still more less of the organizational knowledge is explicitly documented.

For example, texts of the well-known quality management standards (ISO 9000) and criteria of the quality awards (performance excellence models) represent only a very small part of the essence those documents as implemented in real practices in organizations. Major part of applications of standards or performance excellence models is something related to tacit knowledge. Additionally, in different organizations the tacit part of knowledge may be very different in its extent because different people may have very different understanding of the document texts. That is also reason why there are so many different opinions about those documents. Deep tacit knowledge gives us good bases also for understanding the standards and business excellence models as the very same substance but only seen in different perspectives.

One may consider two more detailed examples characterizing the nature of tacit knowledge in quality management: values (as mentioned e.g. by the performance excellence models) and quality policy (as expressed in the ISO 9000 standards).

Only human beings - never organizations - have values based on their appreciations. One may see those values in actions of people, not in any documents. Very often the concept "value" is not used at all in practice in organizations. Thus values are tacit knowledge issues. Organizations may have documented norms or value management. How one can see those in practice and their effects? Again, we are confronted with tacit matters.

Quality policy means what are the overall intention and direction of an organization related to quality. Again the genuine quality policy can be seen only in the actions of people, not in papers. Quality policy document issued and signed by top management of organization is only a tip of iceberg of the actual policy. It may, however, be a useful managerial tool. In fact, it is not necessary to use concept "quality policy" at all in practical business operations although there really may exist a consistent “quality policy” within an organization.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read wuth interest many of your pieces.The one on Quality awareness was very interesting.I am interested in interacting with you more on conciousness studies

24 December, 2007 19:33  
Blogger Joshua said...

It is a good point to say that quality is in fact based on the practices of the company itself and not on documents. However, I believe that the certification of quality management systems is still necessary to make the declaration of quality official. It's more believable to say that a company's product is of quality if it's put down in black and white by an accredited ISO 9001 registrar. Having that certification actually reflects the confidence of the company that they know they are producing quality products.

24 January, 2011 11:34  
Blogger Juhani Anttila said...

Quality is not any "black and white" issue.
For me certification is an old-minded approach. If an organization strongly presents its certificates, it means for me that the organization is following the quality principles of the 1980's and that the organization's management is weak.
We really need better innovations for assurance, certification is a very poor approach to in today.

24 January, 2011 11:53  
Blogger Unknown said...

I use Ideals virtual data room for data management. This system has a lot of instruments for working with documents. Thanks to it we have no paper docuemnts, what saves us money.

18 February, 2016 13:35  
Blogger Michael said...

Nice Post. Quality management is quality system which provide us knowledge of quality records, documents and quality system certificates.quality management is quality system which provide us knowledge of quality records, documents and quality system certificates. management system

19 May, 2017 16:40  

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