America had long lost to Japan its dominance in the world marketplace even in America itself because of Japanese quality management philosophy. To illustrate that workers involvement in quality improvement is the core of this management philosophy, the article compared three kinds of firms operating in the U. S.: A companies or strictly American firms, AJ companies or American firms employing Japanese quality control methodologies, and J companies or Japanese firms operating in the U. S. It focused on two areas:
(1) production workers knowledge and use of Statistical Quality Control Tools (SQC tools), and (2) production workers’ quality responsibilities. Of the 17 recognized SQC tools, 7 were noted to be highly employed in the U. S. The findings indicate that (1) SQC tool utilization of U. S. firms classified as AJ and J is higher than that of U. S. firms classified as A, and (2) delegation of responsibility for quality to production workers by U. S. firms classified as AJ and J is higher than that found in U. S. firms classified as A.
Assessment of the Article From the selection of the sample group to the development of the questionnaire and all the way to the analysis of data collected, the research methodology cannot be faulted. I am especially impressed with how exacting the authors were with their definitions. They showed great care in determining exactly what is meant by organizational size as it is related to other organizational functioning, likewise they found fit to define what is exactly meant by production worker as opposed to pure quality control personnel classified as production worker.
However, upon perusal of their two findings, one is led to ask whether or not the first area was sufficiently addressed. The first area was actually composed of two, knowledge and utilization of SQC tools. While their data validly showed that utilization was either high or low, it says nothing of knowledge; specifically how knowledgeable these production workers were with the SQC tools, or are we to assume that usage is the same as knowledge?
Conclusions With the exception on that little confusion as to the distinction between knowledge and usage, the article had shown that the Japanese quality management philosophy entails worker involvement in quality improvement to the extent that the worker is suppose to use the statistical quality control tools and be delegated responsibilities over the quality of the products themselves.