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