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92892761 Armstrong s Handbook of Management and Leadership

92892761 Armstrong s Handbook of Management and Leadership

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Published by: Andrews Dwomoh on Nov 17, 2012
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The framework for successful continuous improvement produced by The Continuous

Improvement Research for Competitive Advantage (CIRCA) Unit at Brighton University

(1998) consists of five elements:

1. Strategy: Clear strategic goals need to be set for continuous improvement, providing ‘sign-

posted destinations’. These goals should be communicated across the whole organization

and translated into specific targets for teams and individual workers.

2. Culture: The culture of the organization should be developed to support continuous

improvement and develop quality awareness. This means defining and communicating

values about the need to persist in making incremental improvements to quality as per-

ceived by customers, and about autonomy and empowerment for those involved in

improvement on a continuous basis.

3. Infrastructure: As recommended by CIRCA, the type of organization-wide framework

necessary for the successful development of continuous improvement includes open man-

agement systems, cross-functional management and structures, teamworking, two-way

communication processes, joint decision-making and employee autonomy and participa-

tion. This framework depends largely on trust: ‘Managers have to trust their workers if

Table 19.1 continued

Continuous Improvement 239

they are going to grant them greater responsibility and authority. Empowered employees,

similarly, have to trust those in senior positions not to take advantage of employees’ ideas

to cut jobs. Information is a key component of the creation of greater trust’ (CIRCA,


4. Process: The processes used in continuous improvement include individual problem-

seeking activities, problem-solving groups, suggestion schemes and company-wide cam-

paigns to promote continuous improvement. Continuous improvement does not simply

happen by itself. It has to be encouraged and facilitated by management action.

5. Tools: Continuous improvement is enhanced by the use of the various problem-solving

tools available for individuals and groups. These include Pareto diagrams and cause and

effect diagrams, as described later in this chapter, and various statistical tools such as

control charts and scatter diagrams. Benchmarking is another important tool used to

establish standards for continuous improvement. Groups can use brainstorming tech-

niques to develop ideas.

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