What Defines and Differentiates Leadership in Quality Management

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What defines and differentiates leadership in quality management? What is 'Quality Leadership'? The fundamental foundations of Quality, the teachings of the Gurus, are all based on organizational leadership with an ethical core focusing on people, social responsibility and quality of work life. In 2005 a national study of 1,374 individuals regarding US leadership conducted by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University, found that “66% of Americans agree that we have a leadership crisis in the country today.” (National Leadership Index, 2005, p10) Business leaders were ranked second lowest in regard to confidence level out of all categories studied. This resulted in the fact that “nearly three quarters of Americans (72%) believe that unless the country’s leaders improve, the United States will decline as a nation.” (National Leadership Index, 2005, p11) This aligns with a study by ASQ in 2006 in which 70% of Americans stated that they did not trust big companies. (ASQ, 2006)

The reports revealed a nation that felt that there was a lack of integrity in leadership and that public confidence in business leadership was low. There was also a desire for strong leadership to fill this void and it was seen as essential for the future of America. Therefore, the topic of leadership is timely and provides the opportunity for quality in regaining public confidence in business and its leadership.

Quality and Leadership
The importance of leadership as an integral part of quality management is well documented. (Saraph, Benson and Schroeder, 1989, Anderson, Rungtusanatham, and Schroeder, 1994, Black and Porter, 1996, Ahire, Golhar and Waller, 1996) “Leadership, which includes management commitment, is contained in virtually every definition of total quality and every prescriptive model on how to achieve it.” (Grandzol and Gershon, 1997, p46) Indeed “any individual or organization that wishes to take their initial steps on their journey toward...
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