Chapter 10. Managing People

A. Wilkinson and A. Brown

Introduction

This chapter is concerned with the human resource (HR) issues relating to quality management (QM). Proponents of QM define quality in terms of customer requirements. Those employees who do not have direct contact with external customers are encouraged to view their colleagues as customers, linked ultimately via a chain of internal customer relationships to the final (external) customer. In this way, employees in the organization are to be customer-driven, with the aim of continuously improving customer satisfaction. There are implications for human resources, as employers are urged to move away from supervisory approaches to quality control towards a situation where employees themselves take responsibility (Oakland 1993). Thus, the effective implementation of QM requires that all employees, from top management to the shop or office floor, develop a commitment to continuous improvement as an integral part of their daily work (Soltani 2005). There is a need to develop a 'quality culture' (Dale et al. 1997). We argue that, while QM does have far-reaching implications for HR, this is dealt with in a limited way by the conventional QM literature. But, it is also argued that HR practice has significant implications for reinforcing or indeed inhibiting QM. In this chapter we discuss how HR practices have been adopted by quality-focused organizations to support their quality efforts.

QM: The HR Concerns

The last 20 years have ...

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