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Harv Bus Rev. 1985 Jan-Feb;63(1):65-71.

Quality circles after the fad.


On the face of it, it makes sense, If you want to involve your employees more in decision making and shift the organization toward a more participative culture, starting suggestion groups called quality circles seems to be a risk-free way to begin. Having studied many quality circles in different organizations, the authors of this article conclude that quality circles have their distinct advantages but that they have inherent in their design numbers of factors that often lead them to self-destruct. Quality circles are also said to be a poor forerunner for more participative approaches to management. Changing a quality circle into an institutionalized participative structure involves making many changes in important features of the organization that do not naturally flow from the implementation of a circle program. The authors describe the stages that quality circles go through, discuss the various threats they must survive, and then outline the most effective uses that managers can make of them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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