Fit for purpose? Exploring competence in quality management

Jason Martin (Division of Logistics and Quality Management, Department of Management and Engineering and HELIX Excellence Centre, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Mattias Elg (Division of Logistics and Quality Management, Department of Management and Engineering and HELIX Excellence Centre, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Ida Gremyr (Division of Service Management and Logistics, Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Publication date: 13 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use competence theory to explore the fit between actual competencies of quality management (QM) practitioner and the perception of QM competence needs in organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on a cross-case quantitative study design featuring a survey of QM practitioners (n =249) within eight large Swedish organisations. The research instrument was a questionnaire covering seven themes within QM. The analysis is based on descriptive statistics.

Findings

The results show that while the perception of formal QM competence may seem sufficient, the evolving nature of QM requires knowledge, skills and attitudes that are also apt for more external and explorative perspectives. There is a bias towards competence for exploitative QM rather than explorative QM. Organisational logics preserving and possibly reinforcing a perceived “competence lag” in organisations are identified and described.

Originality/value

Few empirical studies within QM explore the competencies required for QM practices. This paper contributes to QM research in providing arguments for adopting the competence theory as a foundation for organising current and future QM work.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express gratitude for the support from the Swedish Quality Management Academy and the organisations participating in this study. Further, we are grateful for the financial support from the Production Area of Advance at Chalmers University of Technology and the HELIX Competence Centre at Linköping University.

Disclosure: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Funding: This study was partly funded by The Swedish Quality Management Academy (SQMA), a research body within the Swedish Institute for Quality, SIQ.

Citation

Martin, J., Elg, M. and Gremyr, I. (2019), "Fit for purpose? Exploring competence in quality management", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 317-333. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQSS-06-2018-0054

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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