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Rethinking “quality” by classic grounded theory

Ólavur Christiansen (Department of Social Science, University of Faroe Islands, Torshavn, Faroe Islands)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




The purpose of this paper is to suggest a supplementary definition of quality and quality‐building in business. This supplementary definition is the outcome of a predominantly inductive research approach that has been delimited to the conceptual explanation of the main concern and its recurrent solution of those involved in the operation and management of businesses.


Classic grounded theory (CGT) has been used as the methodology. The main hallmark of CGT is concept and theory generation directly from data, while delimiting to the most important and problematic for those being studied. A rethinking of existing concepts takes place during one of the last stages of a CGT study. During this stage, the concepts of the generated theory are conceptually compared to the literature.


When the building blocks of the generated CGT of business and management were compared to the existing literature, the generated concept of “confidence‐building” emerged as a close conceptual synonym to “quality‐building”. Confidence‐building is understood as the application of certain trust‐building techniques (“saming”, transparency, distinguishing) that facilitate the modification or maintenance or prevention of people's behaviour (i.e. own, employees', customers', suppliers', etc. behaviour) in such a manner that the company's survival or growth is sustained.


This kind of analysis has not been done before. One implication of this rethought quality concept is that all issues pertaining to people relationships in business become an inseparable part of the quality issue – as well as issues like HRM, marketing, organisational adjustments and strategic decision making.



Christiansen, Ó. (2011), "Rethinking “quality” by classic grounded theory", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 199-210.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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