Sustaining High Quality Performance in Organizations

Project: Research project

Project Details


Sustaining high levels of product quality in a dynamic environment is a dynamic, complex problem that matters enormously to competitiveness. Drawing from the multi-disciplinary literature on Quality, Operations Management, Economics and Organization Theory, this research team will test a theory about what enables a firm to sustain high quality performance. The theory centers upon organizational adaptation and change and upon a firm''''s ability to anticipate the complex consequences of change, some of which are outside its control.

While much is known about how to gain a position of quality preeminence in the first place, far less is known about how to sustain it once achieved. Therefore, this project asks two primary research questions: 1. What are the key factors, conditions and principles that influence sustained quality performance? 2. How do changes in sustained quality performance unfold over time, with an emphasis on identifying antecedents and consequences?

Three companies will participate in this research project. In each company one division is studied that has maintained high quality products and services over a long period of time and a comparison division is studied that has had high quality but lost it. In each of these divisions, 10 years of archival data about factors that are theorized to affect quality sustainability (such as changes in executive leadership, strategy, quality programs and external conditions) will be gathered. The same factors in the same divisions will also be studied in real-time for the three-year period of the grant. Statistical analyses will be conducted on the resulting thirteen years of panel data to determine what major factors and configurations are related to sustainability of high quality products and services.

The results of this study should provide practical insights about how to sustain high quality performance, which is important to financial stability and competitiveness.

Effective start/end date9/1/078/31/11


  • National Science Foundation: $430,705.00


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