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Prioritizing tactical quality improvement: An action research study

Douglas N. Hales (College of Business Administration, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA)
Samia M. Siha (Michael J. Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA)
V. Sridharan (College of Business and Behavioral Science, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)
Judith I. McKnew (Department of Mathematics, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 August 2006




The purpose of this paper is to test a method for improving decision‐making at a tactical level – i.e. at the shop floor level. This is done by testing the use of the binary sorting algorithm (BSA) to improve decisions concerning quality improvement efforts among machine operators in a plastics manufacturer.


The method used was the “action‐research” approach since the researchers were actively involved in the training, implementation, and use of the BSA.


It was found that using the BSA to prioritize quality improvement efforts by machine operators reduced the “scrap‐from‐line” rate in a plastics manufacturer.

Research limitations/implications

The study should be replicated in different companies and industries using multiple methods because action‐research is limited in its generalizability. Also, since the researchers are actively involved in the process, our observations could not be considered objective.


To the authors' knowledge, this is the first application of the BSA to improve decision‐making at a tactical shop‐floor level in a manufacturing company.



Hales, D.N., Siha, S.M., Sridharan, V. and McKnew, J.I. (2006), "Prioritizing tactical quality improvement: An action research study", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 866-881.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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