Definitions of quality: a study of quality systems and their relevance to academic libraries

Melling, Maxine (1994) Definitions of quality: a study of quality systems and their relevance to academic libraries. Other thesis, University of Wales.

[thumbnail of Thesis document] PDF (Thesis document) - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



The current quality movement can be traced back to the teachings of the so-called "Quality Gurus" in the period immediately following the Second World War. Although initially most successful in Japan, and credited with much of that country's industrial success, the theories and techniques put forward by the Gurus were eventually also embraced in the West
The definitions of quality which were developed by the Quality Gurus are, inevitably, based on manufacturing processes. These include concepts such as quality as conformance to requirements and as zero-defects. Similarly, the quality systems which have developed from the movement have direct relevance to manufacturing processes and controls. The quality assurance movement, for example, grew from the need to ensure consistency in the supply of components for military hardware.
Although the main quality systems propose different techniques and methodologies they share a number of common key principles. These include the need for top management commitment to any quality initiative, the importance of full employee
participation and the need to clarify customer requirements. These principles have direct relevance to service-sector organisations.
A number of recent developments, including increasing levels of accountability to both funding bodies and users, have encouraged service sector organisations to consider the management solutions offered by quality systems. Within libraries the practice of quality control is growing, although a theoretical and methodological base has yet to be developed.
It can be argued that many of the failures associated with the implementation of quality systems in industry can be linked to theft prescriptive implementation models and to attempts to graft systems onto existing organisational structures. Libraries and other service-sector organisations are in a position to learn from past errors and to adopt a more flexible approach which is appropriate to local circumstances.

Repository Staff Only: item control page