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Title:An Analysis of Selected Elements of Quality Circles in Midwestern United States Firms
Author(s):Smith, Carol
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:This research investigated the elements of quality circles (QCs) operating in four midwestern American companies. A content analysis was used to extrapolate and categorize the elements of QCs including the experiences of participants in QCs consisting of white and blue collar employees. Data were collected in two unionized and two non unionized companies located in Chicago and east central Illinois during 1982-83.
Three research questions were posed: What is the nature of quality circles? What are the effects of quality circles? What is the evidence of a relationship between quality circle functioning and organizational support for the concept. Three methods were used to secure data: document analysis, on-site observations, and interviews with QC participants.
Five areas of QC related company documents were analyzed: formation, structure, objectives, problem development and rewards. Twenty six items representing seven categorical areas including formation, structure, meetings, group interpersonal interaction, task dimension of groups, leadership, and rewards/reprimands, constituted the areas of observation. Fourteen items representing seven areas comprised the interview categories of: objectives, training, other influences, rewards/benefits, solicitation, problem development and disadvantages. Data were presented in two major divisions: observations (which included all document analysis and on-site observances) and interviews. From the categorical construction and analyses, nineteen specific findings and four anomalous findings were presented. Anomalous findings described the focus of hourly employees upon the tangible benefits of QCs, and the focus of managers/supervisors on intangible benefits of QCs. Also, males responded most favorably to the interpersonal dimensions of QCs while females were most enthusiastic about the task or achievement potential which the QCs afforded them.
Four major conclusions were drawn: (a) employee's ability to deal with job dissatisfaction shifts as a result of QCs, (b) employee isolation changes as a result of QCs, (c) elements which determine the development and success of QCs are comprehension of and adherence to the QC process, competent program and circle leadership, and, meaningful results, and (d) participants in QCs have new access to work planning and management. Three recommendations intended for QC professionals and nine recommendations for further research were included.
Issue Date:1984
Description:267 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8409836
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1984

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