The Future of Work for Quality Management – Challenges in the Digitalized Era
Conference contribution, 2018
Digitalization provides both challenges and opportunities for Quality Management (QM). The purpose of this paper is to identify challenges induced by digitalization on current QM practices, in order to uncover the potential of how QM may support digitalization in organizations. This issue is addressed through an analytical framework that stresses two dimensions: first exploration and exploitation of digitalized QM processes and second value creation, which is performed by the customer or in interaction facilitated by the provider.
This paper is based on a cross-case study design with interview data collected from 33 quality management professionals in four large Swedish organizations.
Six different challenges and corresponding roles are proposed for QM: The gardener involved in the design of the many different currently utilized technologies; the bridge-builder - a role that connects implemented digitalized solutions that enable the movement from human-to-human to a human-to-digital interface; the assistant a contributor to better value in the customer sphere for already implemented digitalized solutions; the architect including planning, designs, and reviews together with many different stakeholders; the connector focusing on the continuous management of value-in-use and open up for opportunities for continuous interaction and value-adding; and explorer drawing attention towards the challenges of the existing power structures.
This paper contributes with empirical evidence on challenges induced by digitalization, an area often discussed but not as often studied empirically. Further, the study identifies challenges of digitalization affecting both exploitative and explorative practices throughout an organisations value-creation process.