Innovation and Attention to Detail in the Quality Improvement Paradigm
This study asserted that quality improvement (QI) requires the coexistence of two cultural values of innovation and attention to detail and proposed that their coexistence depends on the implementation of multiple QI practices. A longitudinal QI intervention, with five phases, consisting of multiple QI practices---ISO 9000, QI teams, quality goals, and coaching and communication by top management---was implemented. Participants were 425 employees working in 18 departments of four manufacturing plants. The QI practices were implemented in a different order in each one of the plants. Measures were assessed five times, at the end of each implementation phase. We used hierarchical linear models (HLM) to account for the nested structure of departments within the plants and the five repeated measures. Findings demonstrated that the above-mentioned QI practices had differential effects on innovation and attention to detail: ISO 9000 positively affected attention to detail but negatively affected innovation. Both QI teams and quality goals positively affected innovation. Thus, the multiple QI initiative enabled the coexistence of the two aforementioned cultural values. Both cultural values had a positive impact on performance quality and productivity and partially mediated the effects of ISO 9000 on productivity.
Volume (Year): 50 (2004)
Issue (Month): 11 (November)
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