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Planning and reorganising quality management organisations – An empirical analysis of current practice

: Behmer, F.; Jochem, R.; Hanke, H.


Total quality management & business excellence 27 (2016), No.7-8, pp.963-978
ISSN: 1478-3363
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IPK ()

In order to successfully compete in a high cost environment, enterprises must be highly adaptable to increased market dynamics and customer expectations, as well as shortened product lifecycles. Environmental changes have an immediate effect on organisational structures, making it more and more difficult to master the three basic organisational challenges: granting stability, efficiency and flexibility to put strategy into practice. This results in an organisational problem for quality management, namely that in order to assure high-quality products as a main competitive factor, quality management organisation must be planned and implemented according to dynamic surrounding conditions. Thus, planning and implementing quality-related processes and organisational structures has developed into an essential managerial discipline. This paper presents challenges, motives and success factors of planning and reorganising quality management organisations. An online survey on this topic was conducted between 20 November and 3 December 2014 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Overall, 411 answers were collected. The survey primarily included questions with alternative or selectable answers and, where suitable, a five-stage Likert scale was additionally applied. The gathered data were analysed with descriptive statistical methods and hypothesis testing. A long-term-oriented, pro-active planning approach towards quality structures was found to have a significant impact on appropriate QMO capabilities. However, a gap was discovered between the valuated importance of this active planning approach and current corporate practice. Divisional QMO structures were found superior over functional or matrix structures in terms of capability, planning, and reorganisation. Enterprises that aimed to improve product quality, as well as process quality, and to reduce interface were more successful in their QM reorganisations than those that aimed for cost cutting. The use of certain planning tools also increased success in this matter. Novel technologies and products as well as corporate growth were found to be the biggest challenges. Existing studies focus on general organisational structures. Due to the comparably high number of interfaces and strong product relation of QMO, planning and implementation activities pose a distinct challenge that requires specialised attention. Digitisation will increase the future number of reorganisations in manufacturing. As quality is one of the most important factors for contemporary entrepreneurial success, quality managers must be scientifically supported in order to close the gap between the importance of long-term planning and current practice. This paper contributes with an in-depth analysis.