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The Realization of Attractive Quality: Conceptual and practical perspectives within the TQM system
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Engineering and Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5431-0392
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Within the quality community, quality management is often pictured as and referred to as rapidly evolving and continuously learning by interaction with the surrounding world. In general, an ability to evolve and transform is also seen as most desirable and the only choice for long term survival. In line with this picture, quality scholars, consultants, and practitioners strongly accentuate the necessity and great benefits from continuous improvement as well as systematic collection and usage of facts about what customers really value, to guide such improvement. This is reflected in the exhortations “improve continuously”, “focus on the customer” and “base decisions on facts”, found with minor variations in most modern quality literature. Strong exhortations mainly directed outwards, towards the many leaders and organizations out there. Towards leaders and organizations that still have not grasped the necessity and great winnings from continuous improvement, that are still not fully applying modern quality initiatives like Total Quality Management (TQM).

 

However, while seemingly being busy exhorting others, doubts have been increasingly raised concerning whether TQM, as currently applied, actually lives up to these exhortations. Does TQM itself continuously improve and evolve? Is the current application of TQM really taking into account facts in the surrounding world about what customers value?

 

When viewing TQM as a system, as now is commonly done, the problem implied is a lack of system goal fulfillment, questioning if the current TQM system’s structure and processes are really purposeful. More specifically the critics highlight the inadequacy of the current reactive one-sided defect avoidance focus, stressing that defects do not matter much if you are making a product no one wants to buy. What can be referred to as “an obsession with error avoidance” is in fact shown to stifle both innovation and value creation.

 

As for what the TQM system currently is missing, the shortcoming is often referred to as a lack of focus on Attractive Quality. That is, a lack of focus on a different kind of quality elements, often described as being unrelated to the dissatisfaction expressed, but strongly contributing to the customer’s positive emotions, such as delight. The inclusion and realization of Attractive Quality has been widely emphasized as important and urgent for more than 20 years. However, a more systematic inclusion and realization within the TQM system has remained no more than merely “a vision”. A situation seemingly supporting the argument that TQM really has failed in terms of continuously evolving and improving. An inability to learn and adapt that in the long term will jeopardize the survival of the entire TQM system.

 

This thesis then aims to move “from a vision to reality” both in terms of exploring the realization of Aattractive Qquality within TQM, and in a wider sense towards realizing the desired state of TQM as truly evolving and alive. In doing so the thesis addresses the three questions of what, why and how the vision of a more systematic creation of Aattractive Qquality creation actually should and could be realized within the system of TQM. Among the results presented in this thesis are a new two-dimensional perspective on Attractive Quality and a re-understanding of the TQM system. The thesis also introduces a new methodology called Attraction Detection Study (ADS) as part of the concluding suggestions about how Attractive Quality could be more systematically created within the system of TQM.

 

Abstract [sv]

Inom kvalitetsrörelsen beskrivs, och hänvisas ofta till, kvalitetsledning som ett område i snabb utveckling och ständigt lärande i interaktion med den omgivande världen. Generellt ses också en förmåga till utveckling och förändring som mycket eftersträvansvärdt och detn enda alternativetvalmöjligheten för långsiktig överlevnad. I linje med denna uppfattning betonar kvalitetsforskare, -konsulter och -praktiker nödvändigheten och vinsten med ständig förbättring och systematisk insamling och användning av fakta om vad kunder värderar för att vägleda denna förbättring. Detta återspeglas i uppmaningarna ”arbeta med ständiga förbättringar”, ”sätt kunderna i centrum” och ”basera beslut på fakta” som återfinns med mindre variationer i en stor del av den moderna kvalitetslitteraturen. Starka uppmaningar som i huvudsak är riktade utåt, mot de många ledare och organisationer som finns där ute. Mot ledare och organisationer och ledare som ännu inte har förstått nödvändigheten och den stora vinsten av ständiga förbättringar, som ännu inte fullt ut applicerar moderna kvalitetsinitiativ såsom offensiv kvalitetsledning (TQM).

 

Medan man förefallit upptagen med att uppmana andra, har dock alltmer tvivel väckts huruvida TQM i dagens applicerade form lever upp till dessa centrala uppmaningar. Utvecklas och förbättras TQM ständigt? Tar den nuvarande TQM strukturen verkligen hänsyn till fakta i omvärlden om vad kunder faktiskt värderar?

 

När man ser på TQM som ett system, som nu ofta görs, är det antydda problemet en brist i uppfyllelse av systemmål som ifrågasätter om TQM systemets nuvarande struktur och processer verkligen är ändamålsenliga. Mer specifikt lyfter kritikerna otillräckligheten i den nuvarande reaktiva och ensidiga fokuseringen på att minska defekter och betonar att defekter inte spelar någon roll om du tillverkar en produkt som ingen vill köpa. Vad som kan hänvisas till som ”en besatthet av att undvika fel” visar sig missleda både innovation och värdeskapande.

 

När det sedan gäller vad det nuvarande TQM systemet saknar, hänvisas ofta till en brist på fokus på Attraktiv kvalitet. Detta innebär en brist på fokus rörande en typ av kvalitetselement som ofta beskrivs som orelaterade till uttalat missnöje men starkt bidragander till kundens starka positiva känslor såsom förtjusning. En inkludering och ett förverkligande av denna Attraktiva kvalitet har nu vida betonats som angelägen under mer än 20 års tid. En mer systematisk inkludering inom TQM systemet har dock stannat vid bara ”en vision”. En situation som ger visst stöd åt påståendet att TQM har misslyckats med att leva upp till strävan mot ständig förbättring och utveckling. En oförmåga att lära och anpassa sig som i ett längre perspektiv äventyrar överlevnaden hos hela TQM systemet.

 

Denna avhandling syftar således till att gå ”från vision till verklighet” både i termer av att bidra till förverkligandet av Attraktiv kvalitet och i en vidare betydelse till förverkligandet av idealet av TQM som i sanning levande och i ständig utveckling. För att uppnå detta lyfter denna avhandling de tre frågorna vad, varför och hur visionen om ett mer systematiskt skapandet av Attraktiv kvalitet skall och kan förverkligas inom TQM systemet.

 

Bland resultaten som presenteras i denna avhandling ingår ett nytt tvådimensionellt perspektiv på Attraktiv kvalitet och en ny förståelse och konceptualisering av TQM systemet. Avhandlingen introducerar även ett nytt arbetssätt kallat ”Attraction Detection Study” (ADS) som en del av förslagen till hur Attraktiv kvalitet mer systematiskt kan realiseras inom TQM systemet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund: Mid Sweden University , 2010. , p. 112
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 96
Keywords [en]
Attractive Quality, Total Quality Management, TQM, customer value, Kano Model
Keywords [sv]
Attraktiv kvalitet, Offensiv kvalitetsutveckling, TQM, kundvärde, Kanomodellen
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12068ISBN: 978-91-86073-98-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-12068DiVA, id: diva2:354550
Public defence
2010-10-22, F229, Mittuniversitetet, Östersund, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-10-05 Created: 2010-10-03 Last updated: 2016-12-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. From problem to Attraction Detection Study (ADS): towards a new methodology for quality practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From problem to Attraction Detection Study (ADS): towards a new methodology for quality practice
2010 (English)In: Electronic Proceedings, Cottbus, Germany, 2010Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cottbus, Germany: , 2010
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12060 (URN)
Conference
QMOD
Available from: 2010-10-03 Created: 2010-10-03 Last updated: 2017-04-12Bibliographically approved
2. Commercial experiences from a customer perspective elaborated, defined and distinguished
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Commercial experiences from a customer perspective elaborated, defined and distinguished
2010 (English)In: The TQM Journal, ISSN 1754-2731, E-ISSN 1754-274X, Vol. 22, no 3, p. 285-292Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - A new type of business offering is currently gaining much attention, a type which in some aspects appears to be distinct from goods and services. These offerings are usually denoted as commercial experiences and are claimed to provide higher customer value than other types of offerings as they, for example, engage customers in an inherently memorable way. The understanding of what constitutes commercial experiences is however still scant. The purpose of this paper is to take a closer look at the commercial experience concept from a customer perspective. The paper aims specifically at elaborating and defining commercial experiences as well as distinguishing them from goods and services. Design/methodology/approach - The paper is based on literature studies. Findings - The authors identify memorable as the fundamental distinctive characteristic for commercial experiences. Memorable events are then shown to be strongly emotional events. Finally the two-factor structure of affect is used to show that the factor "strong engagement" is a critical driver of commercial experiences. As a result of the elaboration the authors also propose a new definition of commercial experiences and distinguish commercial experiences from goods and services in three ways. Originality/value - The paper increases the currently scant understanding of commercial experiences.

Keywords
Business enterprise; Corporate strategy; Customer orientation; Innovation; Value chain
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-11700 (URN)10.1108/17542731011035523 (DOI)2-s2.0-77951872260 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2010-06-14 Created: 2010-06-14 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Quality Practice and External Customer Value: Critical reflections on the ideal linkage
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quality Practice and External Customer Value: Critical reflections on the ideal linkage
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Quality Management for Organisational and Regional Development : QMOD 2005, Palermo, Italien, 29.06.2005 - 01.07.2005., 2005, p. 281-292Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Keywords
Quality Technology and Management, TQM, Quality control, Attractive Quality, Kvalitetsteknik, Kvalitet
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-908 (URN)3257 (Local ID)3257 (Archive number)3257 (OAI)
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2009-09-04 Last updated: 2016-12-02Bibliographically approved
4. Obstacles to the creation of attractive quality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Obstacles to the creation of attractive quality
2006 (English)In: The TQM Journal, ISSN 0954-478X, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 55-66Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to contribute to the solution, and understanding, of the current lack of activity concerning the development of practices, such as engineering methods, for the creation of attractive quality. The current situation is clearly problematic given the important positive effects assigned to attractive quality in the literature. Design/methodology/approach – First, different descriptions of attractive quality are examined in order to determine whether there is a common understanding of the concept. Second, the ability to manage attractive quality creation in accordance to a proactive ideal is approached by an examination of the current ability to predict the occurrence of attractive quality. Findings – Two obstacles that currently hinder the development of practices for attractive quality creation are identified. The first obstacle is the diversity of meanings given to the concept of attractive quality, resulting in confusion about what to obtain. The second obstacle identified is the current lack of valid explanations to the occurrence of attractive quality, resulting in an inability to develop proactive practices. Practical implications – The practical implications of bringing attention to, and overcoming, the two obstacles identified will potentially be substantial. A common attractive quality concept and valid explanations to the occurrence of attractive quality will constitute an essential base for the successful development of practices, such as engineering methods, for attractive quality creation. Originality/value – The paper contributes via the identification of two critical areas in need of intensified attention and future research in order to facilitate the sought-after development of practices for the creation of attractive quality.

Keywords
Quality Technology and Management, TQM, Quality control, Attractive Quality, Kvalitetsteknik
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-3318 (URN)10.1108/09544780610637695 (DOI)3258 (Local ID)3258 (Archive number)3258 (OAI)
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2009-09-04 Last updated: 2016-12-02Bibliographically approved
5. A two-dimensional perspective on attractive quality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A two-dimensional perspective on attractive quality
2007 (English)In: Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, ISSN 1478-3363, Vol. 18, no 6, p. 667-679Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Attractive quality has for two decades been accentuated as a strong driver of loyalty, word-of-mouth and saleability. Recent elaborations of the concept of attractive quality however point to obstacles to the development of quality practices, such as engineering methods, to support the creation of attractive quality in practice. One obstacle is the lack of explanations as to why certain aspects of an offer are perceived as an attractive quality. There is a need to understand why attractive quality occurs. This paper aims to address these obstacles by presenting the results of a search for mechanisms claimed to cause attractive quality in literature. As a result, the paper identifies and relates two fundamentally different mechanisms considered important for the generation of attractive quality. The need-based roots of attractive quality point at an explanation in terms of the satisfaction of high-level needs. This is in sharp contrast to the currently dominant explanation of attractive quality as the exceeding of expectations. The two mechanisms are further distinguished and related to each other resulting in the classification of three different types of attractive quality. The three types are designated as 'Surprisers', 'Life Enrichers', and 'Attraction Boosters'. The 'Life Enrichers', which are defined as satisfying high-level needs of the customer, are highlighted as an important and promising area for future research.

Keywords
Quality Technology and Management, TQM, Quality control, Attractive Quality, Kvalitetsteknik, Kvalitet
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-3319 (URN)10.1080/14783360701349575 (DOI)000250243600005 ()2-s2.0-34548624979 (Scopus ID)3259 (Local ID)3259 (Archive number)3259 (OAI)
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2009-09-04 Last updated: 2016-12-02Bibliographically approved
6. Getting emotional about quality: questioning and elaborating the satisfaction concept
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Getting emotional about quality: questioning and elaborating the satisfaction concept
2005 (English)In: The Asian Journal of Quality, ISSN 1598-2688, Vol. 6, no 3, p. 38-55Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Consumption has generally become more fragmented, hedonic and individual specific, satisfying not only functional but also emotional needs. In parallel, customer satisfaction is now thought to be both a cognitive and affective response, and the closely related concept of job satisfaction is commonly seen as an emotional reaction. The reasoning within quality management does, however, still lean heavily toward cognitive judgements (i.e. performance ratings), the emotional component clearly being under explored. Further, performance variables have shown not to be significant in predicting satisfaction for certain "experience products", the effect fully mediated by emotions. As a consequence a cognitive judgement based quality concept has lost its ability to predict satisfaction, which clearly contradicts with the modern quality definition, stressing quality as the ability to satisfy the customer. Emotions have however entered the quality discourse and it has been proposed that having customers that are merely feeling satisfied will not suffice. Instead, there has been a plethora of executive exhortations in the trade press calling on business to "delight the customer". Strategies for doing so have however usually been imprecise and unclear, and the different drivers of delight and satisfaction are not well explored. This paper aims to complement the previous cognitive dominance by exploring the multiple emotional responses involved in customer satisfaction. A conclusion being that we currently are measuring something, in terms of satisfied, that is more or less independent of what we aim for, in terms of delight. It is also most likely that - depending on the situation, product, and person � other positive and negative emotions are more important outcomes of purchase and usage than merely satisfaction. It is questioned whether a single, summary response such as satisfaction is feasible or even desirable.

Keywords
Quality, emotion, customer satisfaction, customer value, Quality Technology and Management, TQM, Quality control, Kvalitetsteknik, Kvalitet
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-3752 (URN)4032 (Local ID)4032 (Archive number)4032 (OAI)
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2008-12-16 Last updated: 2016-12-02Bibliographically approved
7. The need for re-understanding TQM: introducing the TQM Tree Model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The need for re-understanding TQM: introducing the TQM Tree Model
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12066 (URN)
Available from: 2010-10-03 Created: 2010-10-03 Last updated: 2016-12-02Bibliographically approved

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