QUALITY CIRCLES: CONCEPT AND APPLICATIONS
Quality circles were first developed in the 1960s by a man named Kaoru Ishikawa in Japan. The Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) were the ones who paid for the research that put the theories about behavior science and quality control together.
A quality circle is a participatory management technique that enlists the help of employees in solving problems related to their own jobs. Circles are formed of employees working together in an operation who meet at intervals to discuss problems of quality and to devise solutions for improvements.
"A quality circle is a small voluntary group of employees and their supervisor(s), comprising a team of about 8 to 10 members from the same work area or department".
Quality circles are useful because the members of the team are from the same workplace and face similar problems. This concept is a management tool that has many benefits for their own work environment. Some examples of those benefits are control and improvement of quality, more effective company communication, using employee problem solving capabilities, and more job involvement. Ron Basu and J. Nevan Wright, in their book Quality Beyond Six Sigma (another quality management technique) specified seven conditions for successful implementation of quality circles. These are summarized below: 1. Quality circles must be staffed entirely by volunteers. 2. Each participant should be representative of a different functional activity. 3. The problem to be addressed by the QC should be chosen by the circle, not by management, and the choice honored even if it does not visibly lead to a management goal. 4. Management must be supportive of the circle and fund it appropriately even when requests are trivial and the expenditure is difficult to envision as helping toward real solutions. 5. Circle members must receive appropriate training in problem solving. 6. The circle must choose its own...
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