Quality Circles LO29830

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@postino.up.ac.za)
Date: 01/22/03

Replying to LO29810 --

Dear Organlearners,

Bob Williams <bobwill@actrix.co.nz> writes:

>Sorry about the cross posting to OD Net, but I've just
>been asked to write a short piece on "quality circles".
>It got me thinking. What has actually happened to them?
>Have they died out, morphed into something else, or
>merely changed names.

Greetings dear Bob,

Thank you for reminding us of Quality Circles (QCs).

QCs were invented by the Japanese in the early sixties, perhaps as a
result of the work of Dr Deming. QCs can be compared to some extend with
the LO discipline Team Learning. Both make provision for diversity. In
both supervising plays a minor role. However, the emphasis in a QC is on
mutual observation and accountability rather than on learning. The
feadback cycle in a QC consists of four phases: Plan-Do-Check-Act. In team
learning it would rather be something like:

You are right -- QCs are not so much a fad as a dozen or so years
ago because of having to compete with other structures like Open
Spaces and World Cafes. But they are still employed in many
organisations, especially where the motive is to improve on creativity
by means of improving on quality. This is not surprising to me since
   otherness ("quality-diversity")
is one of the 7Es (seven essentialities of creativity).

Perhaps the real reason why QCs have faded, is that although diversity
is a key feature of it, there was in my opinion too little sensitivity to
   wholeness ("unity-associativity")
It is another one of the 7Es. In fact, using Google's advance search
engine, and
   quality circles
in the 2nd window, i got 15 800 hits. But by adding in the 1st window
i got merely 57 hits. However, by using openness (another one of the
7E) rather than wholeness, the number of hits increased substantially
from 57 to 708.

>"Only Connect ..... " E. M. Forster

Yes, fruitfulness ("connect-beget") is yet another one of the 7Es. By
the way, using connect rather than openness gave 657 hits!

To summarise, i think that the LO concept is gaining ground over the
QC concept because it is capable, formulated in thems of the five
disciplines, to deal with a far greater complexity in organisations.
Nevertheless, much can be learned from QCs to improve on
Team Learning.

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <amdelange@postino.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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