What is Quality? – Different Perspectives

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Quality refers to a set of characteristics expected from products or services. It is a combination of various factors such as design, performance, reliability, safety, efficiency, effectiveness, economy and timeliness. In other words, quality means conformance with specific standards. It also implies a measure of how well a product or service meets its purpose.

KEY Takeaways

  • Each stakeholder looks at quality through their own lens. Each stakeholder considers different aspects while defining quality. 
  • When you ask employees, suppliers, customers and society about quality, they give very different views.
  • There is no one way of defining quality, it depends on who is defining quality.

In this post, we will look at the definition of quality from the point of view of various stakeholders.

1) Employees' perspective

Employees define quality as their perception of the overall value they get from working in an organization. This includes the following aspects:

  • Knowing clearly what is expected of them
  • Feeling proud of the work (job satisfaction)
  • Ability to earn more money than elsewhere.
  • Ability to improve processes and ability to make changes (empowerment)

2) Organization's perspective

Organizations define quality as the level of customer satisfaction, leading to higher profits and market share. They also consider the following aspects when defining quality:

3) Customer's perspective

The customer defines quality as the extent to which they get what they want from the organization. Customers consider the following aspects:

  • Getting a good product or service
  • Low maintenance
  • Free from deficiencies
  • Aesthetics
  • "wow" effect
  • Safety

4) Supplier's Perspective

Suppliers define quality as the degree of conformity between the delivered goods and the required specifications. They consider the following aspects:

  • Technical compliance and acceptance by the buyer
  • Re-orders
  • Reduced variation
  • Doing it right the first time
  • Timely delivery

5) Society's perspective

Society defines quality as the extent of social benefits derived from the organization. It considers the following aspects: 

  • Less waste
  • Durable products
  • Employment opportunities
  • Low pollution
  • Social responsibility
  • Environmental sustainability

Conclusion

It can be concluded that there is no single definition of quality but rather multiple perspectives on the same concept. The above definitions show that quality is not just about delivering high-quality products or services. Instead, it is a complex phenomenon that involves many different stakeholders. There is no one way to define quality. It varies according to the stakeholder involved.


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