Quality culture (with link to video of Coca-Cola on the topic)

January 30, 2012


Quality culture is essential not only to implement and establish quality management in an organization but also to sustain it.  A Quality culture is an organizational value based system that results in an environment that is conducive to the establishment and continual improvement of Quality.  To attempt the implementation of quality without creating a quality culture is to invite failure.

Gryna (2001) and Juran and Godfrey (1999) stated that to foster a quality culture, a company must have five behaviors.

1. It must create and maintain an awareness of quality.

2. It must provide evidence of management leadership on quality.

3. The company must encourage self-development and empowerment.

4. The company must provide opportunities for employee participation to inspire action.

5. The company must provide recognition and rewards

Once established the process and the people of the company will sustain that culture. As always with Quality it is critical that the leader champion and drives the culture that sustains it. “The leader has the responsibility to improve the system, i.e. to make it possible, on a continuing basis, for everyone to do a better job with greater satisfaction.” (Deming 1986)

The Global Innovation 1000 Study, Why Culture is Key (Strategy+Business, Winter 2011, Issue 65)  concluded that “there may be no more critical source of business success or failure than a company’s culture — it trumps strategy and leadership…………Companies with unsupportive cultures and poor strategic alignment significantly underperform their competitors.”

Here is a link is to a great series of video interviews by ASQ with Coca-Colas, Chief Quality & Product Integrity Officer discussing amongst other issues, culture and its alignment with quality.


Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.


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