Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – April 2020

Welcome to April 2020 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

For the year 2020, we have chosen the core subject of Revisiting Basic Quality Concepts w.r.t. the sustained success of the organization As of now we have visied

We take up Understanding Needs and Expectations of the Interested Parties as our core concept this month–

It is an undisputed fact that  the past, present and future course of organization’s strategic direction to attain sustained success is affected by the ever, rapidly changing issues within and around the organization and by the dynamic relationship of these issues with the organization have far reaching impact. Similar far reaching impact is also attributed to the needs and expectations of the interested parties from the organization and their intra-dynamics of relationships and the individual and collective dynamics of relationship(s) these multiple forces with the organization.

The classic definition of a stakeholder according to Freeman is “an organization… [or] any group or individual who can affect or be affected by the achievement of the organization’s objectives” [7]. While Freeman’s ground-breaking book “Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach” in 1984 started the wider discussion and elaboration of stakeholders and their importance, an earlier concept of stakeholders had already emerged in the 1960s. In 1963, academics at the Stanford Research Institute stated that a firm also needs to be responsible – in addition to shareholders – to a number of stakeholders without whose support the organization would cease to exist [5]. Some scholars have even proposed that the roots of stakeholder thinking dates as far back as the 1930s [8].[1]

The process or framework for identifying, understanding, monitoring and reviewing interested parties is normally matrixed in terms of:

  • Level of interest (Relevance)
  • Level of influence (Significance)[2]

In the power/interest matrix there are two important sets of questions to be assessed. According to the classification proposed by Johnson and Scholes, the question “If we were to pursue this strategy with disregard to the views of this particular stakeholder, could/would they stop it?” assesses the power of the stakeholder. The interests of the stakeholder is assessed with the questions “How high is this approach on their priorities?” and “Are they likely to actively support or oppose this approach, or will their interest be short-lived?” [32].

The power dimension indicates the level of influence a stakeholder has in either supporting or resisting a strategic initiative. Stakeholders may exercise their power in many ways, for example through a legal position, possession of knowledge and key resources or even informal networking with other decision makers. The interest dimension depends on how high a priority this strategy is. Interests can be open or hidden, which makes their assessment challenging. Interests may be based on a stakeholder’s anticipated economic gain, brand value or power position. The level of interest can be estimated by assessing whether a stakeholder has a long-term commitment to the strategy [32].

Table depicted here above shows power / interest matrix and the corresponding strategies according to stakeholders.

Another major challenge that an organization has to face is the conflict of interest among differing needs and expectations of the interested parties.

Conflict is a natural and healthy part of a group behavior. An engaging and inclusive process of resolution of the conflicts of interests of the different parties, as well as the conflicts of infested parties needs and expectations from an organization should yield win-win outcomes, wherein the feelings of having compromised one’s interests is replaced by the spirit of mutual collaboration.[3]

The 2012 changes in the ISO Management system standards have clearly mandated Understanding the Needs and Expectations of Interested parties as a key enabling input to the design, implementation and improvement of the relevant discipline management system standard.[4]

Whereas the specific discipline ISO Management system standards look at the understanding the needs and expectations of the interested parties from its relevance to the respective discipline, ISO 9004: 2018 – “Quality management – Quality of an organization – Guidance to achieve sustained success”. – views the impact of needs and expectations of the interested parties on the organization’s ability to achieve sustained success. This is the stage for an excellent review and the starting point to understand the potential depth of examination of who is most involved – from the point of view of the power and the interest – in the issues identified as having contextual relevance and influence on the organization’s purpose and strategic direction.

In as much as understanding the needs and expectations of the interested parties is a key ingredient to the process of planning for the sustained successor an organization, it is also a vital tool to help in the implementation of the process and a key enabler for checking the outcomes achieved on the continual journey for higher, sustained, success.. [5]

 [N.B. – Detailed note on Understanding Needs and Expectations of the Interested Parties can be read / downloaded by clicking on the hyper link.]

We will now turn to our regular sections:

In the series the Organizational Culture, we have attempted to look at The Organizational Culture – Understanding the purpose of organization.. In its simplest form, purpose is the organization’s reason for being. It is a combination of vision, mission, and values.

We now watch ASQ TV, wherein we look at a recent video:

  • Navigating Through Change and Ambiguity– Matt Meuleners, Executive Partner at FOCUS Training, discusses change and ambiguity, and the best practices an organization can use to lead through ambiguity.

Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems posting for March 2020 –

  1. Why employees leave – Common Sense Management Can Reduce Employee Turnover-

There are a lot of reasons good employees leave, including:

    • Rude behaviour: Feeling mistreated is not an enticement for a good work environment.
    • Work-life imbalance: Increasing with economic pressures, organizations continue to demand that one person do the work of two or more people.
    • The job did not meet expectations: When a job to significantly vary from the initial description and what was promised during the interview stage,.it can lead to mistrust. When trust is missing, there can be no real employee ownership.
    • Job and the employee misalignment: Organizations should never hire employees unless they are qualified for the job and in sync with the culture and goals of the organization. Managers should not try to force a fit.
    • Feeling undervalued: Everyone wants to be recognized and rewarded for a job well done. It’s part of our nature. The most effective recognition is sincere appreciation.
    • Coaching and feedback lacking: Effective managers know how to help employees improve their performance and consistently give feedback to all employees.
    • Decision-making ability lacking: Organizations need employees to have ownership and be empowered! An organization should give employees latitude to do their jobs by placing trust in them; employees, in turn, should accept that responsibility and embrace that trust with enthusiasm.
    • People skills inadequate: Many managers were promoted because they did their jobs well and got results. However, that doesn’t mean they know how to lead. People skills can be learned and developed, but it really helps if a manager has a natural ability to get along with people and motivate them.
    • Organizational instability: Management’s constant reorganization, changing direction, and shuffling people around disconnects employees from the organization’s purpose. Employees don’t know what’s going on, what the priorities are, or what they should be doing.
    • Raises and promotions frozen: Studies have shown that money isn’t usually the primary reason people leave, but it does rank high when an employee can find a job earning more elsewhere. Organizations better pay competitive wages and benefits while making their employees feel valued! This is a critical combination.
    • Faith and confidence shaken: When employees are asked to do more and more, they see less evidence that they will ultimately share in the fruits of their labor. Employees know when a company is doing well and they expect to be treated as critical enablers of that success. Organizations need to stop talking about employees being their most important asset while treating them as consumables.
    • Growth opportunities not available: A lot of good talent can be lost if the employees feel trapped in dead-end positions. The most successful organizations find ways to help employees develop new skills and responsibilities in their current positions and position them for future advancement within the organization.

I look forward to your views / comments / inputs to further enrich the subjects of Basics of Quality and Organizational Culture and their role in Creating and Maintaining Sustained Success.

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

[1] Understanding the Stakeholders as a Success Factor for Effective Occupational Health Care – Ari-Matti Auvinen

[2] “Interested Parties” and Their “Needs and Expectations”

[3]  Fundamentals of Sports Management, Pp. 14 – Robert E Baker, Craig Esherick . 2013

[4] Understanding needs & expectations of interested parties in ISO 9001:2015Mark Hammar

[5] Business Sustainability: Going Beyond ISO 9004:2018–  Alka Jarvis, Paul C. Palmes