روش و دیدگاه های زمینه در یادگیری و ایجاد دانش در مدیریت کیفیت
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|4408||2007||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8684 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 25, Issue 4, June 2007, Pages 918–931
This research develops a framework of learning and knowledge-based quality improvement by integrating the two perspectives of learning and knowledge creation. One perspective focuses on adhering to a prescribed methodology while the other emphasizes managing the context. By conceptualizing a comprehensive quality program as comprising basic contextual and methodological elements, we develop theoretically how a comprehensive quality program such as Six Sigma can produce dissimilar types of learning and knowledge, and how a quality advantage can become more sustainable.
Quality improvement is inherently a learning and knowledge-based activity that emphasizes learning (MacDuffie, 1997 and Sitkin et al., 1994) and knowledge creation (Mukherjee et al., 1998 and Osterloh and Frey, 2000). Learning and knowledge creation in quality improvement relate to how an organization manages the cognitive processes of its members (MacDuffie, 1997, p. 501). The relationship with organizational cognition is critical because how a quality program successfully change practices in an organization depends on how the cognitive processes of its organizational members are managed (Reger et al., 1994). Organizational cognition research can be categorized into two streams—computational and interpretive: “ (the) computational stream of research examines the processes by which managers and organizations process information and make decisions … (the) interpretive approach investigates how meaning is created around information in a social context” (Lant and Shapira, 2001, p. 2). In this paper, we develop two perspectives of learning and knowledge creation for quality improvement – method and context – that parallel these two views of organizational cognition. The method perspective stresses using a formal problem-solving method which promotes rationality and sound decisions by allowing an organization to systematically capture, generate, and apply knowledge (March and Simon, 1958). Having a method provides an efficient process and cumulative experience can be built by repeatedly applying a structured process or method (Nelson and Winter, 1982 and Zollo and Winter, 2002). On the other hand, the context perspective emphasizes the importance of a social environment in knowledge creation (Brown and Duguid, 2000 and Nonaka, 1994). Organizations are better managed by designing and enabling a creative environment for their organization members (Amabile, 1996). Context, then, also can be a driver of learning and knowledge creation. These two perspectives reflect the dual emphasis of quality practices as technical and social—the technical part has been studied as core practices and the social part as infrastructural practices (Flynn et al., 1995, Powell, 1995 and Samson and Terziovski, 1999). Past studies focus on examining the effects of practices on performance metrics such as customer satisfaction, quality and financial (Kaynak, 2003 and Sousa and Voss, 2002). Although operations scholars have studied quality from both a technical and social point of view, some management scholars have viewed quality as predominantly technical, focusing on the use of techniques and scientific methods (e.g. Manz and Stewart, 1997 and Winter, 1994). They found that, despite the core technical content of quality, social processes shape most of how quality is practiced within the organizations (e.g. Boiral, 2003, Detert et al., 2000, MacDuffie, 1997 and Zbaracki, 1998). Overall, despite the work on quality as technical and social, there is insufficient understanding on how the technical and social components of quality practices lead to learning and knowledge creation. Furthermore, most literature studies quality implementation and its impact on performance. There is little insight into how a quality advantage can become more sustainable. This paper attempts to bridge these gaps by developing a framework of basic elements underlying a comprehensive quality program such as Six Sigma and examines how learning and knowledge creation can be facilitated. In particular, conceptualizing a comprehensive quality program as comprising basic contextual and methodological elements allows us to develop a framework for how a comprehensive quality program can generate dissimilar types of learning and knowledge. And subsequently, how a quality advantage can become more sustainable. To illustrate some current quality practices that are consistent with our framework, we use those from the widely implemented quality initiative, Six Sigma. Overall, our framework contributes to the quality field by offering a theoretical lens to explain sustainability of quality advantage from the knowledge and learning perspective. In the following sections, we first develop the methodological and contextual elements. Next, we present propositions on how these two sets of elements can lead to different learning (exploratory and exploitative) and knowledge (tacit and explicit). Following that, we examine how contextual and methodological elements can complement each other in maintaining sustainability of quality advantage and finally, we discuss the implications of this study.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Prior quality studies have considered the role of quality management with knowledge (Choo et al., in press and Linderman et al., 2004) or leaning (Anderson et al., 1994). This paper focuses on comprehensive quality programs such as Six Sigma and conceptualizes them as consisting of basic elements categorized into contextual and methodological. By studying these two sets of elements separately, we develop propositions for explaining how different types of learning and knowledge can occur in a comprehensive quality program. Next, by considering methodological and contextual elements together, we argue that loose coupling between these two groups of elements facilitates developing a heterogeneous knowledge base and balancing of exploratory and exploitative learning. We then propose that knowledge heterogeneity and ease of balancing exploratory and exploitative learning form the basis of sustainability of quality advantage. Sustainability of quality advantage is the key implication derived from the consideration of learning and knowledge creation in quality. Based on the knowledge-based view of firm, knowledge is the most strategic resource from which the firm builds its competitive advantage (Grant, 1996 and Kogut and Zander, 1992). Recent research suggests that characteristics of knowledge are mainly valuable for defending existing advantages, while processes of accumulating and leveraging knowledge are more important in creating new sources of advantages (Chakravarthy et al., 2003). Our work is in line with this research in that knowledge types (explicit and tacit) and learning processes (exploratory and exploitative learning) represent two key aspects of sustainability of quality advantage. That is, knowledge heterogeneity helps in defending the existing quality advantage while balancing of exploration and exploitation creates new quality advantage. Prior research has focused on the sustainability of a quality program which is often related to implementation failures (e.g. Beer, 2003 and Zbaracki, 1998). Our study extends this line of research by focusing on the sustainability of quality advantage and we argue that it is related to the firm's ability to defend its advantage and create new ones. This is especially relevant to companies that had previously won prestigious quality awards, such as Motorola, Xerox, and AT&T, but have since lost their quality advantage ( Crockett and Reinhardt, 2003 and Dervitsiotis, 2003). Loose coupling of contextual and methodological elements in a comprehensive quality program suggests a dual role of quality with regard to producing dissimilar types of learning and knowledge. The dual effect of a comprehensive quality program on learning and knowledge implies that quality improvement would likely be more effectively executed in an ambidextrous organizational form. An ambidextrous structure provides support for concurrent activities in relatively diverse, and even contrasting, set of goals and tasks in an organization. This is consistent with prior work on quality about innovation and learning with regard to balancing of exploration and exploitation (Choo et al., in press, Douglas and Judge, 2001 and Sutcliffe et al., 1999) and managing this tension using an ambidextrous organizational structure (Benner and Tushman, 2003). Our theoretical framework also suggests that the methodology should be loosely coupled with the context to maintain the flexibility and effectiveness of a comprehensive quality program. According to the literature of social context of creativity, formal structure such as the methodological elements can be an impediment to creativity (Amabile et al., 1996, p. 1162). Structure is perceived as controlling and it decreases the intrinsic motivation that is necessary for creativity (Amabile, 1996). In our paper, we suggest that it is possible to buffer the negative effect of structure on creativity by having methodological elements loosely coupled with contextual elements. As such, buffering of the structured (methodological elements) from the unstructured (contextual elements) provides another potential rationale for loose coupling between methodological and contextual elements in a comprehensive quality practice. From the organizational cognition literature, the computational and interpretive approaches (Lant and Shapira, 2001) parallel our methodological and contextual approaches to learning and knowledge creation. According to March (2001), there are two important aspects in the pursuit of intelligence in organizations—ignorance and ambiguity. Ignorance is a problem of computation, as intelligent action requires information and prediction, while ambiguity is a problem of interpretation, because to assess intelligence one needs to know the useful possibility with regard to what outcomes are desired and when they have been achieved (Lant and Shapira, 2001, p. 7). Similarly, managing ignorance and ambiguity are equally important in quality. In this sense, a comprehensive quality program can become more “intelligent” by considering the methodological elements (problem of computation) and the contextual elements (problem of interpretation) from a learning and knowledge creation perspective. In conclusion, our framework of methodological and contextual elements in a comprehensive quality program can inform the quality literature and enhance our understanding about learning and knowledge creation in quality and the sustainability of quality advantage for future studies.