This paper describes the results of a research project where respondents from a variety of disciplines were questioned about how they perceive quality improvement. Structured interviews were held with top managers from the fields of engineering, operations, strategic planning, marketing, planning, and human resources. We asked the following questions: How is quality defined by someone in (your field)? How do you define quality as it relates to your company’s products and services? What are approaches to quality that you view as leading edge? We find that there are differences in how quality is perceived by different functions. In spite of a long history of definition of quality terms, we find that more work is needed to overcome differences in functional perspectives when communicating quality plans and strategies.
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