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Quality and the National Culture

Quality and the National Culture

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Published by foxes_lover
Juran's Quality Handbook
Juran's Quality Handbook

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Published by: foxes_lover on Oct 09, 2009
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SECTION 36
QUALITY AND THENATIONAL CULTURE
J. M. Juran
INTRODUCTION
QUALITY IN CAPITALISTIC ECONOMIES
Competition in Quality
Direct Access to Marketplace Feedback
Protection of Society
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
MULTINATIONAL COLLABORATION
REFERENCES
INTRODUCTION 
The goal of high quality is common to all countries. This common goal must compete with othernational goals amid the massive forces—political,economic,and social—which determine thenational priorities. This section examines these forces and their effect on the problems of attainingquality.The growth of international trade and of multinational companies has required that attention bedirected to understanding the impact of national culture on managing for quality. To aid in this under-standing,the subject is organized under the following general subdivisions:
 Developing economies:
The special problems of managing for quality in such economies arediscussed in Section 37,Quality in Developing Countries.
Other economies:
Other sections discuss the problems of managing for quality in specificeconomies:
G
38:Quality in Western Europe
G
39:Quality in Central and Eastern Europe
G
40:Quality in The United States
G
41:Quality in Japan
G
42:Quality in the Peoples Republic of China
G
43:Quality in Latin AmericaIn all types of national economy,there are natural resources and limitations which influence thepriority of goals. However,an even greater force is that of human leadership and determination.Historically,these human forces have been more significant than natural resources in determiningwhether goals are attained.The words “capitalistic,“socialistic,and “developing”are simple labels for some very complexconcepts. The broad definition of “capitalism”is private ownership of the means of production anddistribution,as contrasted with state ownership under socialism. Yet all self-styled capitalistic coun-tries include a degree of state ownership,e.g.,in matters of health,education,transport,and com-munication. Similarly,the self-styled socialistic countries contain,in varying degrees,some privateownership of enterprises for production of goods and services. In like manner,countries which are
36.1
 
“developing”in the industrial sense may be highly developed in terms of other aspects of nationalmaturity,e.g.,political or social. The reader is urged to keep in mind that the words “capitalistic,“socialistic,and “developing”are used in a relative sense and cannot be considered as absolutes.The subject matter of this section and of the companion Sections 37 through 43 are of obviousinterest and importance to those engaged (or contemplating engagement) in operations of an inter-national nature. Such operations are becoming ever more extensive as trade barriers are progressivelyremoved. However,removal of governmental barriers has little effect on cultural barriers. Theseremain as a continuing problem until the cultural patterns (and the reasons behind them) are under-stood,appreciated,and taken into account.In the economic sense,the capitalistic developed countries are the “vital few.The developingcountries are the most numerous,occupy most of the land surface,and include most of the humanpopulation. However,it is the capitalistic developed countries which produce the bulk of the world’sgoods and services. This great importance (in the economic sense) suggests that those who engagein international trade should acquire a working knowledge of the cultures which prevail in therespective countries.
QUALITY IN CAPITALISTIC ECONOMIES 
All capitalistic economies exhibit some basic similarities which influence the importance of qualityin relation to other goals in the economy.
Competition in Quality.
Capitalistic societies permit and even encourage competition amongenterprises,including competition in quality. This competition in quality takes multiple forms.
Creation of New Enterprises.
A frequent reason for the birth of new enterprises is poor quality of goods or services. For example,a neighborhood has outgrown the capacity of the local food shop orrestaurant,so the clients must wait in long queues before they can receive service. In such cases,entrepreneurs will sense a market opportunity and will create a new enterprise which attracts clientsby offering superior service.The ease of creating new enterprises is a far greater force in quality improvement than is gener-ally realized. All economies,whether capitalistic or socialistic,suffer poor quality during shortagesof goods. Creation of new enterprises is one means of alleviating shortages,and thereby of elimi-nating an invariable cause of poor quality.
 Product Improvement.
A common form of competition in quality is through improving productsso that they have more appeal to the users and can therefore be sold successfully in the face of com-petition from existing products. These product improvements come mainly from internal productdevelopment carried on by existing companies. In addition,some product improvements aredesigned by independents who either launch new enterprises or sell their ideas to existing compa-nies.
 New Products.
These may be “products”or even new systems approaches,e.g.,designs whichminimize user maintenance. The industrial giants of today include many members founded on newsystems concepts. As with product improvements,the new products may originate through develop-ment from within or through acquisition from the outside.Competition in quality results in duplication of products and facilities. Such duplication is regard-ed as wasteful by some economists. However,the general effect has been to stimulate producers tooutdo each other,with resulting benefit to users.
Direct Access to Marketplace Feedback.
In the capitalistic economies,the income of theenterprise is determined by its ability to sell its products,whether directly to users or through an
36.2
SECTION THIRTY-SIX
 
intermediate merchant chain. If poor quality results in excessive returns,claims,or inability to sellthe product,the manufacturers are provided with the warning signals which are a prerequisite toremedial action.This severe and direct impact of poor quality on the manufacturers’income has the useful by-product of forcing manufacturers to keep improving their market research and early warning signals,so as to be able to respond promptly in case of trouble.Direct access to the marketplace is not merely a matter of receiving complaints and other infor-mation about bad quality,important though that is. Even more important is the access to the mar-ketplace
before
products are launched and sales programs are prepared. In the capitalistic economies,the autonomous companies all make their own forecasts on how much they expect to sell. Their abil-ity to thrive depends on how well they are able to realize their forecasts. The potential benefits anddetriments force the companies to pay attention to the needs of the marketplace,since it providestheir income.
Protection of Society.
The autonomy of capitalist enterprises enables them to misrepresenttheir products,sell unsafe products,damage the environment,fail to live up to their warranties,andso on. The extent of such practices has been large enough to generate extensive preventive legisla-tion. In this connection,see Section 35,Quality and Society.
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES 
There are many of these,including:
 Language:
Many countries harbor multiple languages and numerous dialects. These are a seri-ous barrier to communication.
Customs and traditions:
These and related elements of the culture provide the precedents andpremises which are guides to decisions and actions.
Ownership of the companies:
The pattern of ownership determines the strategy of short-termversus long-term results,as well as the motivations of owners versus nonowners.
The methods used for managing operations:
These are determined by numerous factors such asreliance on system versus people; extent of professional training for managers; extent of separa-tion of planning from execution; careers within a single company versus mobile careers.
Suspicions:
In some countries,there is a prior history of hostilities resulting from ancient wars,religious differences,membership in different clans,and so on. The resulting mutual suspicionsare then passed down from generation to generation.It is clearly important to learn about the nature of a culture before negotiating with members of that culture. Increasingly,companies have provided special training to employees before sendingthem abroad. Similarly,when companies establish foreign subsidiaries,they usually train localnationals to qualify for the senior posts.
MULTINATIONAL COLLABORATION 
Collaboration across cultures is a many-faceted problem. For example,a system may be designed incountry A but the subsystem designs may come from other countries. In like manner,companiesfrom multiple countries may supply components,carry out manufacture,marketing,installation,maintenance,and so on.Numerous methodologies have been evolved to help coordinate such multinational activities.Those widely used include:
QUALITY AND THE NATIONAL CULTURE
36.3

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