What is this practice and how effective is it?

Six sigma is an extension of total quality management (it has been described as TQM on steroids). It takes its name from a statistical measure of near perfection which, equated to numerical terms, reaches a goal of 3.4 defects per million units produced. Achieving this level promises lower costs, higher quality, and a more capable workforce. The management focus is on training “green belts,” “black belts,” and “master black belts,” who learn a range of tools that enable them to implement six sigma procedures. But it has a reputation for alienating workers because companies too often impose it from above, with bright young black belts telling seasoned managers how to do their jobs differently. ...

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