The role of quality managers in contemporary organisations
Journal article, 2011
A key question for firms nowadays is how to organise work with quality management. This naturally includes the role of the quality managers and it appears as if the profession of quality managers is at a crossroads. Alternatives are that the role of a quality manager broadens to include quality at a strategic level in the firm and that Six Sigma specialists and Lean Production managers drive the development of quality management in the future. In this paper, we present the results from a survey of 212 quality managers in Swedish organisations. The purpose is to contribute to an understanding of how the management of quality is designed and practised in contemporary organisations. This study shows that a quality manager's operational responsibility is quite narrowly defined. The agenda of the quality manager is mainly related to quality standards, such as ISO 9000 and environmental management systems. These programmes frame the work of the quality manager, which in many cases leaves other programmes, such as Six Sigma and Lean Production, to other departments or parallel improvement structures.