Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – March, 2017

Welcome to March, 2017 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

We will commence our episode with an article on Quality, in general, in our daily life.

Trends That Are Affecting the Future of Quality Management by Debra Kraft – From a total quality management standpoint, trends include broader adoption of quality management principles across industries and an increasing importance placed on sustainability.,, Quality management concepts should apply to everything every business does.

Let us now pick up a different topic in this category of sustainability – The tragedy of the commons (TOTC).

The tragedy of the commons is an economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting that resource through their collective action.

Tragedy of the Commons  – This animated series of short videos acts as a video glossary to define specific scientific terms or concepts in a fun, easy to understand way.  –

Part 1

Part 2

The Tragedy of the Commons  – In this video, we take a look at common goods. Common resources are nonexcludable but rival. For instance, no one can be excluded from fishing for tuna, but they are rival — for every tuna caught, there is one less for everyone else. Nonexcludable but rival resources often lead to what we call a “tragedy of the commons.” In the case of tuna, this means the collapse of the fishing stock. Under a tragedy of the commons, a resource is often overused and under-maintained. Why does this happen? And how can we solve this problem? Like we’ve done so many times throughout this course, let’s take a look at the incentives at play. We also discuss Nobel Prize Winner Elinor Ostrom’s contributions to this topic.

A common thread throughout Garrett James Hardin‘s work is an interest in bioethics. Trained as an ecologist and microbiologist and a Professor of Human Ecology at the University of California for more than thirty years, he is best known for his 1968 essay, The Tragedy of the Commons. Garrett Hardin’s writings enable us to responsibly assess our surroundings to optimize the quality of life for present and future generations.

In an interview, on the Tragedy of the Commons, Garrett Hardin states that “What I meant by writing The Tragedy of the Commons is to call people’s attention to the fact that the problem of dividing the resources has to be done in a way that fits in with human nature. We shouldn’t expect too much of it.”

Victor M. Ponce has presented a critical analysis of  Hardin’s classic piece “The Tragedy of the Commons,”. He states that “ a commons is a natural resource shared by many individuals. In this context, “shared” means that each individual does not have a claim to any part of the resource, but rather, to the use of a portion of it for his/her own benefit. The tragedy is that, in the absence of regulation, each individual will have a tendency to exploit the commons to his/her own advantage, typically without limit. Under this state of affairs, the commons is depleted and eventually ruined…. Societies that want to remain sustainable have no choice but to regulate the use of the commons. Regulation is the price to pay for sustainability; it is the least undesirable strategy, since an unregulated commons eventually marches itself toward tragedy.

Here is the test of our understanding of commons’ theory with a multiple-choice question.

Assume that there are several people on a boat in a lake or ocean. All of a sudden, one of them goes crazy, pulls out a drill and starts drilling a hole in the hull. The rest have three choices:

  1. Watch the drilling and examine how fast the driller makes a hole in the hull,
  2. Grab a lifejacket and jump out of the boat, because it is obvious that the boat is going to sink eventually, or
  3. Stop the culprit and throw the drill overboard to avoid the repetition of such an unfortunate incident.

If the answer is A, you do not know that the boat is actually a commons, so you fail the test. If your answer is B, you know that the boat is a commons, but you do not know that it is “your” commons, so you fail too. If your answer is C, you know that the boat is a commons and you are ready to defend its integrity, because your security and comfort (to say nothing about your life!) depends on it. I think most people would agree that the most sensible answer is C.

In conclusion, the rights of the individual are seen to end where the rights of the commons start; conversely, the rights of the commons end with the rights of the individual. Thus, an appropriate balance between these two rights is the only sustainable course to take if we are to avoid a repetition of “The Tragedy of the Commons.”

To sum up our present discussion on the subject of TOTC, I have picked up three leads that present the topic in the current day perspective of environmental sustainability.

Strengthening Sustainability in Urban Communities. Exchanging Transatlantic Best Practices articulates the good vision for a “world-class” sustaining city

Tragedy of the Commons – a true story from Bangalore  – Dell employees fix a HUGE UGLY dump right outside Bagmane Tech Park, Bangalore!

We will now turn to our regular sections:

I have picked up the question relating to key deliverables and processes of a quality Manager  under ISO 9001:2015. The answer states that with the adage of Risk Based Thinking to the new standard, the Quality manager and the QA department would be responsible for the deliverables of their department and its processes. They would also be responsible for discerning any risks to the company’s goals and objectives.

ASQ CEO, Bill Troy has presented March Roundup with a question – How can we prevent quality professionals from being perceived as a “thing of the past”? What adaptations need to occur in the quality industry as a whole and on the individual level to revitalize the industry and attract  the next generation of quality professionals?- and a round of discussion thereon.

We now watch two of the latest ASQ TV  episode:

Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems for the month of February,2017:

Solving Problems Effectively: Resolving root cause is as fundamental as ABC – Rooting out the reasons for internal and/or external failures is fundamental to customer satisfaction, cost of quality improvement, and even a matter of survival in the marketplace. The classic approach to root cause analysis of a problem is to ask why? (or why not?) a number of times. It is important to know how deep is ‘deep enough’ before probing deeper.….The focus of the investigation needs to be on the quality system. How did the system allow the problem to occur in the first place? Where is the weakness in the system? The goal is developing more system-based improvements as opposed to finding someone to blame.

I look forward to your active participation in enriching the blog carnival as we pursue our journey in exploring the happenings across quality management blogs…………

Note: The images depicted here above are through courtesy of respective websites who have the copyrights for the respective images.

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Author: ASHOK M VAISHNAV

In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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