Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Quality and learning again.

This could be way off topic for the Safety conference but I think it is still about assurance. I am still trying to make a connection to look at learning as an aspect of a quality system. Looking back at "The Learning Company" McGraw Hill 1991, I find

The history of management is littered with the remains of yesterday's right answers - scientific management......Quality Circles, the search for excellence and so on. So where are they now and what did we learn from these experiments?

My information is that Quality Circles have continued in Asia and there has not been a break. Recently I have had another look at PDCA as described by Ishikawa and the quality circles are a large part of the context. The litter is only in the UK and some other places. So the experience could have been seen as more positive as a contribution to the Learning Company. I wrote a story for OhmyNews in 2005.

Recently Steve Fleetwood has written "A Note on HRM and Performance" arguing against trying to make such a link. What if there was a scope that included quality? There has to be learning for quality to be assured and HRM contributes to this. Quality is about outputs so is easier to relate to performance.

Possibly the fundamental point being made is against any performance judgement at all. Universities should exist to critique society so this is their only relevance.

Yet for some reason it is the HR department that is well represented in learning studies. QA is not part of the scene. Why is this?

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