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Quality management and business excellence, customers and stakeholders: Do we agree on what we are talking about, and does it matter?

Bengt Klefsjö (Division of Quality and Environmental Management, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden)
Bjarne Bergquist (Division of Quality and Environmental Management, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden)
Rickard Garvare (Division of Quality and Environmental Management, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 29 February 2008

5560

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the ongoing development of quality management, and whether the concepts being discussed can be agreed – and what influence this might have on the quality movement and quality practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature review and meta‐analysis of current trends has been used to create a conceptual basis for current quality management questions.

Findings

A large part of the development of the quality concept and quality management has taken place without much consideration of what quality management really is or should be. Over time their definitions have been widened to incorporate wellbeing of society, the environment and future generations. Whereas top managers need to address all parts of business, there is a need to separate quality issues from other issues. It is believed that there is a need for quality experts and a discipline of quality management. Quality excellence with a strong customer focus should be one prerequisite to attain true business excellence. There are of course legitimate reasons to address issues as organizational and global sustainability, human rights, financial stability and environmental protection. To properly address these issues, concepts such as business management or stakeholder management might be more appropriate.

Originality/value

In the paper, the point is made that there is a need for quality management focusing on its core purpose: management of quality to provide customer satisfaction. In relation to current trends of adding aspects into quality management to develop concepts that are mere dialectal variants to the original, this “back‐to‐basics” approach is novel.

Keywords

Citation

Klefsjö, B., Bergquist, B. and Garvare, R. (2008), "Quality management and business excellence, customers and stakeholders: Do we agree on what we are talking about, and does it matter?", The TQM Journal, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 120-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542730810857354

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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