Improving Management Globally

In the most recent ASQ Influential Voices post, Bill Troy, ASQ CEO, asks: Why Should Quality Go Global?

ASQ’s mission statement talks about increasing the use and impact of quality in response to the diverse needs of the world. Are we doing enough, throughout the world, to accomplish that mission?

I have discussed a serious shortfall in this effort numerous times including in a reply to the ASQ blog before I was an ASQ Influential Voice – ASQ has a long way to go in promoting quality. ASQ is not doing enough. If “increasing the use and impact of quality” is indeed the mission then ASQ should make all quality articles they have published open access. If ASQ is mainly an organization focused on maximizing its revenue then selling articles that were written by authors (not paid by ASQ) and published by ASQ years and decades ago may be sensible.

ASQ has made a very small percentage of such articles available, as far as I can tell.

Not making articles open access is bad enough when all your users are in the USA. It is much worse when you aim to influence a global audience.

On the matter of the importance of promoting better management practices worldwide I agree there is a huge amount of work to be done. And there is a huge vacuum of resources for managers looking for information on how to do better.

ASQ can help fill that need. They are doing some things, including their blog and the ASQ Influential Voices program, but need to do much more to make much of a difference, it seems to me. I think they need to make the articles open access as the most important sign ASQ is changing to put the mission first; to have the organization designed to support that mission instead of the support of the organization itself as the primary focus.


Other than that, I would also create much better and deeper content on quality topics that are posted online. I would create systems that support the ability of members to do podcasts on topics (probably working through divisions – though that members could also use directly). I would look at how to use technology to connect members to knowledge (and knowledgable experts) they need.

In my version of ASQ it would be a catalyst for quality worldwide and a support structure to allow members to be catalysts for quality. It would also be a professional association for quality professionals – helping connect them to jobs, helping them find the knowledge and skills to grow during their careers etc..

I have serious issues with the American Customer Satisfaction Index (also see Search Share Data – Checking the ACSI). I am not sure if it can be done usefully. But if it could be it is the kind of catalyst for quality I would support. Thinking systemically and designing systems that may well build support in ways that are not direct is one thing ASQ should be doing.

To me the survey is a much more obvious success from an ASQ branding perspective than really be any kind of catalyst, but maybe I am wrong. In any event I support trying to find opportunities like that and continuing to focus on making them work. I also think it is far to easy to let programs drift instead of continually focusing on how to make sure they are effectively addressing the mission of ASQ on a weekly and monthly basis.

For example, making sure press reports don’t encourage very poor statistical thinking (as those I have read from the ASCI seem to do) is something that should be done. The current web site is supporting all sorts of bad data thinking, showing no understanding for variation, showing no understanding for what is significant and what is not, merely picking data points to make an interesting claim in a story. That isn’t surprising, that is how most such things play out. But if ASQ is involved for some quality management purpose they seem to be allowing much more misinformation than useful information to be the end result of their efforts.

It is much harder to actually deliver than to criticize. I understand that. I think the criticisms her are valid but I understand it isn’t easy to have ASQ pursue the mission. I think ASQ should do better, but I do believe ASQ does good things now.

Frankly, right now, the most important globally accessible resources for those interested in pursuing quality practices are blogs, websites and podcasts created by individuals (often consultants and practitioners themselves). There is also some good content from organizations like ASQ, the Lean Enterprise Institute and The Deming Institute (including many of Dr. Deming’s published papers).

Related: How to Accelerate Quality Management PracticesMIT Faculty Open Access to Their Scholarly ArticlesToward a More Open Scientific CultureThe Problem is Likely Not the Person Pointing Out The Problem

2 thoughts on “Improving Management Globally

  1. This is a great post and it holds ASQ to account! I am encountering first-hand the competing priorities of ASQ-business from ASQ-society objectives, and Open Access reveals that fault line. While the business interests of ASQ are protected by restricting IP access to paid subscribers, it comes at the expense of the long-term value ASQ offers as part of a professional membership. As an ASQ Fellow, I receive the benefit a free annual subscription to an ASQ professional journal. As an alternative, I would prefer to be able to select up to 20 journal articles from the ASQ journal portfolio for Open Access.

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  2. Pingback: February Roundup: Is Quality “Global”? | A View from the Q

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