FULFILLING SERVICE QUALITY
THROUGH QUALITY'S FIVE DIMENSIONS
by Richard E. Winder
Presented at: Second Annual Service Quality Conference
April 20, 1993
Copyright 1993, Richard E. Winder. All Rights Reserved.
Five distinct, literal, holographic dimensions of quality provide an innovative framework for assessing, planning, and implementing service quality. Service quality, at its very best, is fulfilled through quality's five dimensions: Experience brings vision into reality. Measurement provides knowledge of the system. Relationships and Systems Thinking help an organization become "free of mortal risk." Inter-connectivity and paradigm logic breed innovation, discovery, and cultural change through paradigm shifts. Finally, Value Sharing "delights the customer" and cements long-term relationships.
Significant developments in the past five years have uncovered new dimensions in quality, which provide a solid foundation for understanding service quality. These developments include the movement from "customer satisfaction" to "delight the customer" as the standard for quality; the movement from "total quality management" to "total quality leadership"; and the movement from defining customers as purchasers of goods to understanding customers (internal and external customers) as users of products and services.
Each development has brought fuller use of quality's dimensions and greater integration of the quality function. Each brings quality closer to the central purpose of the organization, rather than keeping quality in its traditional role as a separate function which is deployed only toward outside customers. Quality has now become as essential to internal and external marketing, finance, materials management, and administrative functions as it is to the traditional manufacturing functions. In fact, it is quality which has the power to blend and bind all functions in a common, integrated system.
The recent surge in interest in service quality has opened an entirely new arena in quality query. The fact that traditional quality concepts from the manufacturing environment are perceived to have limited application in administrative and service functions has opened a refreshing new dialogue about what quality is. In a recent survey of its members, the Service Industries Division of the American Society for Quality Control learned that the quality subjects most important to its members include service measurements, case studies of service quality, measuring team effectiveness, managing change, employee empowerment, benchmarking, and process management.(1) What respondents may be saying through these choices is that there are questions about how manufacturing TQM can be applied in the service environment.(2)
This search for meaning in service quality leaves us wondering whether there is a universal quality theory which is as applicable in the service environment as in manufacturing, or whether service quality is truly distinct from manufacturing quality. The advantage of a universal quality theory is that it would provide a common base of learning among service and manufacturing environments. This would permit much faster development and sharing of the body of quality knowledge. It would also make the learning process much more efficient (instead of training two separate groups of students in separate bodies of knowledge, all students could be trained with a common body of knowledge). This would also reduce barriers to crossover of personnel between manufacturing and service environments, because it would reduce the need for retraining for the new environment.
A second major advantage of a universal theory of quality is that it permits manufacturing operations to utilize a common body of knowledge in both its manufacturing and its administrative and service functions. As society moves toward a service/information society, this ability becomes increasingly important as manufacturing functions are replaced by service functions. A common, universal theory will permit a smooth rather than a disjointed transition.
Recent developments in relational economic theory(3), integrative psychology(4), and leadership theory(5) have led to the development of a five dimensional framework for defining a universal quality theory which is as pertinent to the service industry as the manufacturing environment.(6) The integration of these theories provides a solid foundation for integrating the recent quality developments of "delight the customer," "total quality leadership," and "internal and external customer" concepts. In a world which is still searching for a succinct definition of quality which is more than just a stipulation of what quality is,(7) these five dimensions of quality provide a refreshing description of the underlying dynamics of quality. The five dimensions of quality also provide a framework for developing a body of knowledge common to the manufacturing and service environment, permitting most efficient use of resources in training and implementing quality in both environments, and permitting seamless integration of these environments.
Quality theory exists at the intersection of relational economic theory, integrative psychology theory, and leadership theory. Consequently, the higher the integration of these theories, through the use of all five dimensions of quality, the more mature the quality system.(8) On the other hand, the less these theories are integrated in a firm or system, the less mature the quality system. In fact, quality is lacking if there is no integration of these theories.
In the five dimensional structure, quality is defined as the process of helping people and organizations move from a state of punishment, limitation, captivity, or victimization to a state of participation, liberation, captivation, and actualization. This is done through anticipating and fulfilling stated and implied needs. The quality process is effectuated by fulfilling all five dimensions, resulting in "customer delight."
This dynamic definition of quality provides a universal platform for integrating quality with economics (which helps us understand the "delight the customer" dynamics), psychology (which provides the foundation for "paradigm logic"), and leadership (which is the operative model for fulfilling all five dimensions of quality). This framework provides a foundation for understanding service quality. This paper first discusses the five dimensions of quality, then uses these dimensions to elucidate how service quality is fulfilled.
THE FIVE DIMENSIONS OF QUALITY
Quality, in its highest state, exists in five distinct dimensions. These include (1) experience; (2) measurement; (3) relationships and systems thinking; (4) inter-connectivity and paradigm logic; and (5) value sharing. The recent quality movement to "delight the customer" highlights the fifth dimension, value sharing. However, although value sharing provides the foundation for the integration of all other dimensions, it does not exist in a vacuum. "Customer delight" cannot exist or continue on a sustained basis without the utilization of the other four dimensions of quality. In fact, these dimensions are so integrated that they are holographic: each dimension reflects all the other dimensions. Since these dimensions provide the structure for the service quality, a basic understanding of them is essential.(9) The summary of these dimensions below, along with The Five Dimensions of Quality chart at the end of this paper, will provide the background for understanding their role in fulfilling service quality.
1. The experiential dimension. In this single dimension things are actually done. "Vision becomes reality." Unless it is integrated with the other dimensions, it remains a string of incidents, such as a stream of consciousness story. However, when integrated with the other dimensions, it becomes the tool of actualization. Its power is that unless it is fulfilled, plans remain plans and are not put into action.
Experience provides the "footprint" of the system in place. By measuring and understanding that "footprint" we can evaluate whether the system is doing what is needed.
Experience also provides the learning needed for proper implementation of the continuous improvement cycle. It is the "Do" step of Dr. Deming's Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle.(10) If it is left out of the cycle, the learning which it provides never takes place. Some organizations kill innovative projects by studying them to death before the projects have a chance to prove their worth through actual implementation on a test basis (i.e., by ignoring the "Do" step of the experience dimension and moving directly to the "Study" stage).
The learning function of experience is also important in "on-the-job training" [Point 6 of Dr. Deming's Fourteen Points].(11) This "just-in-time" training is provided at the time and place it is needed for most effective learning. Since it is provided in the context of the job function, it has immediate application, increasing long-term retention of the training. In fact, Peter Senge has also recommended use of learning laboratories to permit work groups to practice team skills (much like practice in sports or the performing arts) without the fear of failure that inhibits practice of these skills in the actual work environment.(12) Dr. Deming's recommendation to "drive out fear" [Point 8] would cultivate an environment in which "practice" (and, consequentially, mistakes) is tolerated, permitting effective growth of the experience base of the organization.
2. The measurement dimension. In this dimension, (two dimensions), we recognize not only that something was done, but also how well or how poorly it was done and its impact. This dimension provides us with knowledge of the system. It is knowledge of the system that builds trust in the system and further facilitates "driving out fear" [Point 8] as everyone in the organization understands their role in the system.
The level of measurement is one indication of the level of the extent to which the organization understands and fulfills quality. There are five levels of measurement, which reflect the five dimensions of quality. The basic, first dimension level of measurement is inspection or detection. At the second dimension, performance is measured. Dr. Deming advises transcending beyond these levels of measurement ("Cease dependence on inspection" [Point 3]; "Avoid [performance] slogans such as 'zero defects'" [Point 10]; "Eliminate work standards (quotas)" [Point 11]). It is third dimensional measurement (process measurement based on the system itself) that provides the ability to move beyond reliance on inspection to reliance on the system and then to make improvements to the system. By understanding and assessing underlying paradigms (fourth dimension measurements), an organization can begin to transcend beyond reliance on visible figures and can "remove barriers that rob people...of their right to pride of workmanship" [Point 12]. In addition, new developments in relational economic theory(13) give us the power to measure the strength of relationships so that we can understand the extent to which the organization is "delighting its customers" (a fifth dimension measurement) and helping them become "sustaining members" of the organization.
The measurement dimension is the "Study" stage of Dr. Deming's Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle. It is measurement that gives us the ability to scientifically verify, after implementation on a limited or full basis, whether a proposed improvement should become a valuable part of the system.
3. The relationship and systems thinking dimension. This dimension (three dimensions) permits us to observe a correlation between activities and results of activities. It helps us see the interrelationship among people, plant and equipment, processes, policies and procedures, and environment. It permits us to standardize systems so that organizational learning is retained. It gives us the power to identify leverage points where action can be taken to generate improvements so that we can "improve constantly and forever the system of production and service...and thus constantly decrease costs" [Point 5].
This dimension also utilizes the power of interpersonal relationships to "build a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust" with suppliers (including employees) so that we can avoid "awarding business on the basis of price tag" [Point 4]. It permits us to "break down barriers between departments" [Point 9] internally within our organization so that the entire organization can function as an integrated system, rather than as sub-optimized subsystems.
The relationship dimension is the "Act" stage of Dr. Deming's Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle. It is systems thinking that permits us to standardize policies and procedures which have been implemented, which have been verified through measurement, and which are in alignment with the vision or aim of the organization. This standardization helps the organization become "free of mortal risk"(14) as the organizational learning is retained.
4. The inter-connectivity dimension. This dimension is approached by looking at the same information through a new paradigm, a new set of eyes, a new set of rules, a new frame of reference. This new perception may be inconsistent with the traditional view, but the power of the paradigm shift is that it provides its own logic. Within that new logic, the new paradigm provides a perfectly valid means of understanding and interpreting the information. This ability to "adopt the new philosophy" [Point 2] provides a powerful foundation for innovation and change in an organization. Inter-connectivity is enhanced through a "vigorous program of education and self-improvement" [Point 13], which expands frame of reference and provides a broader pool of knowledge and experience from which the organization can draw.
5. The value sharing dimension. This dimension is illustrated by the phrase, "If I give you something that has more value to you than it does to me, then together we are better off as a result of the trade." This dimension is expressed by "delight the customer" (give the customer more than he or she is paying for, or "consecrate" resources to the customer). This dimension has its foundation in relational economics, which provides the most efficient economic system. It is through the value sharing dimension that a firm is able to "create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service" [Point 1], because the directed focus on fulfilling customer needs provides a constant basis for improvement, particularly as needs of customers change. This dimension is made operational through leadership [Point 7].
Leadership encompasses all five dimensions. It is the only management model which does embrace all five dimensions. Effective use of all five dimensions through leadership can expedite corporate and cultural change to break down barriers and provide a complete foundation for continuous improvement efforts. It is only through leadership that the organization can marshall its human resources to "put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation" [Point 14]. As employees are empowered through their internal desire to delight customers and through provision of the necessary resources to accomplish that desire, they become leaders in their own right in ensuring that the vision of the organization is fulfilled.
The leadership process is simple yet powerful. The leader develops a vision for the organization and shares it with the other participants. Then all participants engage in sharing vision, resources (human/time resources, information/knowledge resources, and financial/capital resources), and value. All of this is bound together by the vision and its logical implementation.
In the leadership model, leadership begins and ends with shared vision. Shared vision becomes the lifeblood of leadership. When vision fades, so does leadership. Vision is driven by the underlying paradigm of the participants, which becomes the logic by which the activities of the participants are understood.
In the value sharing paradigm, the vision of an organization is a description of the common good that is derived from the relationship among its participants. Consequently, the vision cannot be fully defined until an understanding is reached as to who the participants are, since, in the quality process it is the fulfillment of the needs of these participants which drives the quality improvement process.
Vision is directed toward the needs of each and all participants. Vision is the node which binds the participants together. Consequently, in relational economics, if vision is not shared, it does not exist. If the vision does not address the needs of a participant, then the vision is not (and cannot be) shared by that participant.
Anything less than leadership does not have the power to fulfill all the dimensions of quality. For example, management by objective, decried by Dr. Deming, uses only three dimensions. It operates on an incentive system in which ideally the goals of the organization are tied to incentives for the employees. As the employees do the work necessary to achieve the incentive (in the achievement paradigm), the work of the corporation is accomplished. However, if the goals of the corporation change to respond to new market needs, it is very difficult to change the incentives. Yet unless they are changed, the employees continue to work toward the wrong objectives.
Worse yet is the tyranny or autocratic model, which exists only in the experience dimension. The autocrat has no sensitivity to the needs of others and imposes his or her will on them. This breeds the punishment paradigm ("get back" or "get even") or the apathy paradigm ("I'll put in my 40 hours a week, but do not ask me to do anything extra.").
As leadership is implemented, it becomes synonymous with quality. The primary function of quality is in fulfilling the needs of internal and external customers. Fulfilling service quality comes from identifying the participants and the vision, identifying which participants will provide what resources, and identifying how the value will be shared among participants.
FULFILLING SERVICE QUALITY
Service quality does not exist in a vacuum. Rather it exists in relation to the entire environment in which the organization exists. To be effective, service quality must reflect the dynamics of that environment.
Traditional quality thinking, particularly in the manufacturing environment, has a linear rather than a dynamic orientation. It breaks down the organization and its environment into components, makes assumptions about each of those components, and then tries to integrate those pieces. As Dr. Deming notes, this departmentalization is ineffective unless each of the components is integrated with all the others without departmentalization.(15) The departmentalization leads to sub-optimization. It is only when each component understands and believes in its role in the entire system that true integration is achieved. The whole is a dimension of its own.(16)
Since service quality must encompass the dynamics of the entire system rather than focus on the system's components, it is important to understand what that environment is and how and why it is different from the traditional environment. The difference between service quality and traditional quality control is that service quality focuses on cultivating the environment in which the components can freely operate and grow, while traditional quality control focuses on control of the components, much like one would control finances.(17) This is an extremely subtle difference but it has major implications.
What, then, is the environment for the organization's service quality? The service quality environment simply reflects the five dimensions of quality. Its power comes from the manner in which those dimensions are portrayed. The most effective portrayal begins with the highest dimension (value sharing, or "delight the customer") as the foundation or environment in which all the other dimensions flourish, then follows Dr. Deming's Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle for implementation of the other dimensions. Thus, it involves development of the "delight the customer" vision, then using paradigm logic to bring that vision into actualization. Then a constant measurement and standardization process is used to ensure the vision and the performance are efficient and remain consistent with the needs of internal and external customers.
This five-step process is as follows: (1) cultivate a consecration culture in which delighting internal and external customers becomes the driving force; (2) plan the paradigm and let the paradigm drive the behavior (the Plan stage); (3) employ experience in order to bring vision into actualization and to facilitate organizational learning (the Do stage); (4) manage measurement, because "you get what you measure" (the Study stage); and (5) reinforce relationships to help others become "sustaining members" of the organization and to standardize processes that work well (the Act stage).
1. Cultivate a Consecration Culture (Create the Environment for Service Quality). Joel A. Barker says that the quality paradigm is essential to excel in the 1990's, but by the turn of the century will be a necessary condition for even being in business.(18) This is a natural consequence of firm after firm turning its focus to "delighting the customer." This value sharing paradigm is the only paradigm which has the power to build and sustain long-term relationships with customers so that they become "sustaining members" of the organization. As more and more firms adopt the value sharing paradigm, firms which are content with mere "customer satisfaction" will find their support base deteriorating as customers move their loyalty to firms whose total focus is toward not just satisfying, but delighting, their external and internal customers.
A consecration culture is one in which value sharing is the central paradigm. In quality terms, value sharing is expressed in the phrase "delight the customer," or "give the customer more than he or she is paying for," or "consecrate resources to the customer." In relational economic terms, value sharing is expressed as follows: "If I give you something that has more value to you than it does to me, then together we are better off as a result of the trade. If it is worth $10 to you but $3 to me then after the trade we are worth $10 rather than $3, even if I do not receive anything in exchange."
The consecration culture is illustrated by the health care system in Rochester, New York. With the 1992 election year focus on health-care costs, Rochester has been praised for having more comprehensive health care for its residents at a cost of about one-third less than the national average. It is able to do this because the insurance ratings are done on a community base rather than a stratified company base. The major employer, Eastman Kodak, is well aware that it is actually paying more through the community-based rating than it would pay with a company-based rating, but it is willing to pay the extra (and thus consecrate resources to sustaining the system) because it recognizes that the system would break down without its participation.(19)
Although the "consecration" culture is an integral part of the quality movement, it has become better understood recently as President Bill Clinton has called for "shared sacrifice" to meet growing economic needs. However, the consecration environment extends beyond the reactive "shared sacrifice" environment to a proactive(20) environment in which needs are anticipated and fulfilled.
Value sharing, which is the ultimate expression of relational economic theory, provides the link between quality and economics. Value sharing is described as follows: Where there is a relationship, a buyer will pay more and a seller will accept less. This expands the trading range, and increases the likelihood that a trade will take place. But more importantly, the trade takes on a new dimension. The trade begins to flow from the relationship, rather than the relationship existing merely because of the trade. Price becomes a less important consideration, and is adjusted to reflect the needs of the participants. Long-term relationships provide a continuous stream of income as customers become "sustaining members" of the organization. The focus turns from "selling to the customer" to "fulfilling customer needs." The resource base is expanded through more open sharing of human, information, and capital resources among all participants, both customers and suppliers.
Value sharing is exemplified by Visible Changes, Inc. in Houston Texas.(21) Visible Changes spends several hundred thousand dollars every couple of years to redecorate its hair salons to provide an upbeat, professional environment for customers. The average Visible Changes hairdresser earns $33,000 a year, compared to an industry average of $12,000 per year (all figures are 1988 figures). Hairdressers have health and pension benefits, which are extremely rare in the hairdressing industry. Visible Changes spent $1.5 million on a computer system over an eight-year period (beginning with significant expenditures that were "largely a matter of faith" at the time, but which have since shown their value). This computer system supports the hairdressers in building relationships with customers and effectively serving them.
This consecration of resources by Visible Changes is reciprocated by its customers, who pay significantly more for a haircut that they could pay elsewhere. Most of Visible Changes' customers are repeat customers. Visible Changes' salons were averaging $850,000 in sales in 1986, when the industry average was less than $170,000 per salon. All this translates into corporate earnings of about 10% of sales, supported by average sales per customer of twice the industry average, sales of retail products (as a percentage of revenue) of four times the industry average, and employee turnover of one-third the industry average.
There are four conditions necessary for a consecration culture: First, there must be a relationship among the participants such that there is value in sharing value. Second, there must be a level of trust among the participants such that each can depend on the other participants not to abuse or take advantage of the relationship. Third, all participants must engage in mutual consecration of resources such that value sharing is reciprocated. Fourth, there must be no hoarding of resources by any of the participants.
The value of the value sharing paradigm is that as the needs of the participants (the "customers") are anticipated and fulfilled, resources are allocated most efficiently and most equitably because they are placed where they are needed when they are needed, resulting in optimization of value. Long-term relationships are enhanced as the trading flows from the relationship rather than the relationship existing merely because of the trade. Through the resulting long-term relationships, customers become "sustaining members" of the organization, providing a constant stream of income to support the organization.
The consecration culture is driven by vision, which, in the value sharing paradigm is defined as a description of the common good among participants. Thus, vision is directed to the needs of the participants rather than the greed of the organization. For example, Visible Changes' vision is directed to "enhancing the lives of hairdressers and customers" as opposed "making a lot of money" or "beating out its competitors." John McCormack, shareholder of Visible Changes notes "What really drives me is the idea that haircutters will someday be taken seriously, that they're not dingbats but people getting car loans and home mortgages."(22) When the organization's culture is driven by the value sharing paradigm, the higher return on its investment is a natural result of its focus on customers.
In the consecration culture, participants are empowered to do what needs to be done rather than being limited to doing what the system restricts them to doing. For example, Visible Changes' employees are permitted to charge more for haircuts if they are requested 50% of the time. Furthermore, they are actually encouraged to build their own resources so that some day they can become co-owners of a salon. In this environment, innovation is encouraged and mistakes are tolerated (though not condoned) because the value of the information about the mistake is greater to the organization than it is to the individual because of the learning it can provide to the organization in preventing similar mistakes in the future. (If the organization punishes mistakes, then the organization has made the information about the mistakes of more value to the participant than the organization. This inhibits the risk-taking that is required for innovation.) Because of the broadened trading range, the consecration culture creates an environment in which the participants are flexible enough to redefine their relationship (such as the price of product) as their needs change. For example, the customer of a chemical company voluntarily agreed to pay more for the chemical when the price of one of the key components went up dramatically the day after the long-term contract for the chemical was signed.
2. Plan the Paradigm (the Plan step). Paradigm logic is becoming one of the most powerful tools of service quality and cultural change. While a new paradigm may be inconsistent with the traditional view, it provides its own logic. It provides a perfectly valid means for understanding and interpreting behavior. The power of the paradigm stems from the fact that it drives behavior, rather than being driven by behavior. Behavior which appears inconsistent with one paradigm may be fully compatible with another paradigm. Since the paradigm is the source of logic for the behavior, a paradigm which is consistent with the vision of the organization has great power to drive the actualization of that vision.
One firm changed its bereavement policy (which had required extensive documentation to take a three-day leave) to a simple policy (which permitted bereavement leave upon approval of the supervisor) when it assessed that it could trust 95% of its employees to not abuse the policy. This movement from a non-trust paradigm to a trust paradigm resulted in a significant increase in the use of bereavement leave, but a 47% decrease in the number of days actually taken.(23) Thus, by shifting the paradigm the firm was able to accomplish a serendipitous change in behavior. If the firm had simply asked employees to reduce their use of bereavement leave, the firm would have would have only strengthened the "distrust" paradigm. Employees would have felt victimized by the firm's attempt to take something away from them. Through the shift in paradigms, the employees actually felt that they were receiving a new benefit rather than giving up a benefit.
Another firm's move to a responsibility paradigm resulted in less time taken by employees at break time. The firm eliminated the buzzer signaling the beginning and end of the break when there was confusion about what the buzzer meant (should the employees leave the break room or be back at their position when the buzzer sounded?). Had the owner simply requested employees to take a shorter break time, the "irresponsible" paradigm would have been emphasized, and the attempt at behavioral change would have been resisted by employees. As it was, they felt they were receiving a benefit.
There is a universal paradigm associated with each dimensional level. In a one-dimensional world the punishment and apathy paradigms prevail (with focus on "getting back" or "getting even" or "why bother?"). As participants add measurement to experience (two dimensions) they begin to look around at what others are doing, and the competition paradigm emerges ("get ahead of them"). As participants employ three dimensions and begin to understand the power of the system, the focus turns toward the achievement paradigm ("get ahead"). In the fourth dimension, participants begin to understand that "what goes around comes around," and engage in developing partnerships for mutual growth. It is in the fifth dimension, where parties are willing to dedicate resources to assist other participants that the value sharing paradigm emerges, providing the basis for quality's highest fulfillment: "Delight the Customer."
Service quality is most effective when it involves planning the paradigm rather than planning the behavior. If the principle paradigm of the organization is not understood and planned, it will seek an equilibrium level of its own. However, equilibrium will take place around the lower dimensional levels. For example, an organization that refuses to "break down barriers between departments" as advocated by Dr. Deming suffers from competition among its various departments as each department hoards its resources, even though those resources may be more valuable to other departments. Consequently, sub-optimization results, and the competition paradigm is reinforced, and if left unbridled, can even lead to punishment or apathy between departments. Similarly, the achievement paradigm can lead to competition among participants as each seeks allocation of scarce resources (e.g., customer base or capital resources) to achieve its goals. In fact, firms which do not build relationships with their customers often find themselves in win-lose "competition" with their customers as they are constantly negotiating over price. Where there is a relationship, price becomes less of a consideration, and focus turns toward helping each other fill each others' needs.
As noted above, quality is driven by the value sharing paradigm. Unless this becomes the principle paradigm of the organization, the organization will lack the capacity to achieve the dedication of its participants that is necessary to sustain the organization over the long term.
3. Employ Experience (the Do step). Experience is the only dimension through which actualization of the vision is achieved. It is experience that builds the frame of reference of participants and increases the firm's ability to respond to the needs of customers. The attorney who has had experience in handling a particular type of case is, in general, better able to serve clients with similar cases than attorneys without experience in that type of case. Visible changes not only employs people with experience, but engages in a continuous program of training and development, thus providing an ever-expanding experience base.
Experience is employed through utilization of the "Do" step of Dr. Deming's Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. By actually implementing the proposed improvement on a test or full scale basis, the firm gains knowledge that it would not obtain through attempting to logically deduce the results without actually implementing. This is because the success (or failure) of the project may be explained by a new paradigm that would appear illogical under the existing paradigm. The success (or failure) of the project and the new underlying paradigm would not be discovered without actually implementing the project.
4. Manage Measurement (the Study step). In some organizations, measurement is mismanaged, producing results inconsistent with the true needs of the organization. For example, the computer consulting firm that began measuring "quality" by the number of lines its computer programmers wrote in a day were actually encouraging longer, more memory consumptive programs which were actually inconsistent with the needs of their customers. Similarly measurement of performance, with the implication that the participant has control over the performance when 85% of the control belongs to the system and not the participants, can lead to sub-optimization which is inconsistent with the needs of the firm. One manufacturer found that its incentive pay program encouraged its employees to work on projects tied to the incentive system at the expense of critical current customer needs. Some organizations waste their time measuring everything and, as a consequence, create an environment in which measurement is not taken seriously, or worse yet, encourage behavior inconsistent with the true vision of the organization.
Although they are more difficult to obtain, measurements of the higher dimensions of quality provide better information for fulfilling service quality. For example, process control measures (third-dimension measurements) are far more effective at reducing defects and improving quality than simple inspection of the completed product (a first-dimension detection method). This is particularly true of service quality, in which the product is normally produced at the time of delivery, so there is no chance for rework prior to delivery.
Measurements of paradigms (fourth dimension measurements) can provide significant leverage for shifting corporate culture, as illustrated by the bereavement policy example. In contrast, measurement and control of behavior (a first dimension measure) can actually be counter productive.
Value sharing is measured through measurements of the strength of relationships (fifth dimension measurements of "social capital"). There are three measures of the strength of relationships: first, the level of consecration; second, the level of repeat business; and third, the level of referral business. The level of consecration is measured by the degree to which the participants are willing to give more than is required (e.g., the extent to which they are willing to pay more to this organization than they are willing to pay to a competitor). For example, Visible Changes' customers are willing to pay significantly more for hair care than they might pay elsewhere because of the service environment Visible Changes has created. The level of repeat business is an indication of the extent to which customers have become "sustaining members" of the organization. The level of referral business reflects the extent to which the customer has truly become a participant in sharing the vision of the organization by seeking other participants to contribute resources to (and to share value with) the organization. One successful computer software firm has a need for only two paid sales representatives because of the word-of-mouth its customers provide.
5. Reinforce Relationships (the Act step). Since it is long-term relationships that provide the sustaining lifeblood of the organization, these relationships need to be constantly nourished and reinforced. These relationships are built and strengthened through the firm's willingness to share value with its internal and external participants.
Another type of relationship which must be reinforced is the delivery method or system which is developed for serving internal and external customers. There is a direct relationship between a successful process and "customer delight." This relationship is reinforced by standardizing the process and making it part of the system. Full application of the Act stage of Dr. Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle does not take place until any improvements generated through the Plan and Do portion of the cycle are verified through measurement and are made a part of the system. All the innovation in the world will be meaningless if the firm does not have the ability to see how the innovation fits into the system and the ability to incorporate the change into the system. It is this standardization step which assists the organization in retaining its learning, which would otherwise be lost upon the death or termination of the employees who developed the improved processes. It is through this standardization that the organization becomes "free of mortal risk."
Another relationship that must be understood and reinforced is the relationship of the organization in its socioeconomic environment. The firm that understands the dynamics of its environment and its own role in those dynamics can more effectively use those dynamics for its benefit. The firm which does not understand the dynamics or its role will be "tossed to and fro" by those system dynamics.
By assessing its utilization of experience, measurement, systems and relationships, paradigm logic, and value sharing, the organization can gain a clear understanding of its level of quality development. Then it can use this understanding to assess and formulate its vision, to identify and involve its participants, and to create an environment (supported by its experience, measurement, and systems) in which its total focus is directed toward delighting internal and external customers. This becomes the heart and soul of service quality.
Significantly, as we move more and more toward implementation of service quality, survival become less significant as the driving force. Instead, service quality is driven by the internal desire to delight internal and external customers. This is a fifth dimension motive which is supported and enhanced by all the other dimensions of quality as vision is driven into actualization (through paradigm logic) and as the system of service is constantly measured and standardized for greatest efficiency.
1. Bruneli, Kateri, "Charter Membership Survey Results," Competitive Advantage, January, 1993, pages 2-3.
2. Lack of TQM experience among the survey respondents may account in part for this lack of clarity in the application of TQM to service quality (on average, respondents had one to three years experience with TQM). Id., p. 2.
3. Robison, Lindon J., and A. Allan Schmid, "Interpersonal Relationships and Preferences: Evidences and Implications," Handbook of Behavioral Economics, Vol. 2, Roger Frantz and Harinder Singh, eds., J.A.I. Press, 1989.
4. Judd, Daniel K., "Agentive Theory as Therapy: An Outcome Study," Dissertation, Brigham Young University, 1987.
5. Winder, Richard E., Lindon J. Robison, and Daniel K. Judd, The Quality Leadership Plan, Leadership Press, 1991.
6. The five dimensions of quality (which are distinct, literal dimensions) are different from the five dimensions of service quality developed by Valarie A. Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman, and Leonard L. Berry as outlined in the excellent work Delivering Quality Service (New York: The Free Press, 1990). The five dimensions of service quality (tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy) are aspects of service quality which relate to the performance of the firm in relation to customer needs. Integration of the service quality dimensions with the five dimensions of quality is beyond the scope of this paper, other than to say that Delivering Quality Service provides an excellent framework for reviewing a service quality system (a third dimension function) and identifying specific things that can be done to implement the five dimensions of quality.
7. In response to the question, "How many of you have found a definition of quality with which you feel comfortable?" asked by the author to over 300 people at various quality conferences (about half of them who classified themselves as "quality professionals") only seven indicated they have found such a definition.
8. The International Quality Study of the American Quality Foundation identifies three distinct levels of quality development in a firm, and the characteristics of the quality system at each of these levels. These levels correspond to the first three, first four, and all five dimensions of quality.
9. A detailed discussion of each of these dimensions is included in Winder, Richard E., "The Five Dimensions of Quality," Quality and Productivity Conference Transcripts 1992, Kitchener Ontario, November 17-18, 1992; and Winder, Richard E., "Fulfilling Quality's Five Dimensions," 47th Annual Quality Congress Transactions, May 24-26, 1993.
10. Deming, W. Edwards, Out of the Crisis, Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Center for Advanced Engineering Study, 1986, page 88.
11. References from Dr. Deming's Fourteen Points and Seven Deadly Diseases are from Deming, W. Edwards, Out of the Crisis, Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Center for Advanced Engineering Study, 1986, Chapters 2 and 3.
12. Senge, Peter M., The Fifth Discipline, New York: Doubleday/Currency, 1990, page 257.
13. See Robison, Lindon J., "Deductive Implications of Social Distance Models," Appendix B, in Richard E. Winder, Lindon J. Robison, and Daniel K. Judd, Value Sharing: A Foundation for Value Building, (Haslett, Michigan: Leadership Press), 1991.
14. Dr. Eugene Jennings of Michigan State University has developed the concept of becoming "free of mortal risk" through cross-training and standardization of processes in the firm.
15. Deming, page 62.
16. Michael Beck of GM Powertrain illustrates this by cutting up a Nerf ball into pieces representing each department (e.g., finance, manufacturing, marketing, or quality) and then asks each department to improve itself. The true function of the nerf ball is destroyed when it is broken down into pieces.
17. Juran's Quality Control Handbook, 4th ed., p. 2.8.
18. Barker, Joel A., Future Edge.
19. CNN News, October 26, 1992.
20. Proactivity is Habit 1 of Stephen R. Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
21. Posner, Bruce G., and Burlingham, Bo, "The Hottest Entrepreneur in America," Inc., January, 1988, pages 44-58.
22. Posner, Bruce G. and Burlingham, Bo, page 50.
23. Scholtes, Peter R., "Teamwork in the Quality Era," televised broadcast on April 14, 1992 in cooperation with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, George Washington University, and GW National Satellite Network.
Barker, Joel A., Future Edge, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1992.
Brown, Paul B., "The Real Cost of Customer Service," Inc., September, 1990, pages 49-60.
Bruneli, Kateri, "Charter Membership Survey Results," Competitive Advantage, January, 1993 pages 2-3.
CNN News, October 26, 1992.
Covey, Stephen R., The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, New York: Fireside (Simon & Schuster), 1990.
Deming, W. Edwards, Out of the Crisis, Cambridge, Mass.: Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Center for Advanced Engineering Study, 1986.
Judd, Daniel K., "Agentive Theory as Therapy: An Outcome Study," Dissertation, Brigham Young University, 1987.
Juran, Joseph M., ed., and Frank M. Gryna, assoc. ed., Juran's Quality Control Handbook, 4th Edition, (New York: McGraw-Hill), 1988.
Robison, Lindon J., "Deductive Implications of Social Distance Models," Appendix B, Richard E. Winder, Lindon J. Robison, and Daniel K. Judd, Value Sharing: A Foundation for Value Building, Haslett, Michigan: Leadership Press, 1991.
Posner, Bruce G., and Burlingham, Bo, "The Hottest Entrepreneur in America," Inc., January, 1988, pages 44-58.
Robison, Lindon J. and A. Allan Schmid, "Interpersonal Relationships and Preferences: Evidences and Implications, Handbook of Behavioral Economics, Vol. 2, Roger Frantz and Harinder Singh, eds., J.A.I. Press, 1989.
Scholtes, Peter R., "Teamwork in the Quality Era," televised broadcast on April 14, 1992 in cooperation with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, George Washington University, and GW National Satellite Network.
Senge, Peter M., The Fifth Discipline, New York: Doubleday/Currency, 1990.
Winder, Richard E., Lindon J. Robison, and Daniel K. Judd, The Quality Leadership Plan, Leadership Press, 1991.
Winder, Richard E., "The Five Dimensions of Quality," Quality and Productivity Conference Transcripts 1992, Kitchener Ontario, November 17-18, 1992.
Winder, Richard E., "Fulfilling Quality's Five Dimensions," 47th Annual Quality Congress Transactions, May 24-26, 1993.
Zeithaml, Valarie A., A. Parasuraman, and Leonard L. Berry, Delivering Quality Service (New York: The Free Press, 1990).