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Quality Evaluation Conflicts

There is a lengthy discussion in business administration about what quality consists of and how it can be measured and judged. Is it then, when the buyer/customer is satisfied? But who is that, exactly? The boss? The Inspectorate? The shareholder? The paying customer? The internal customer? Who has relevance? Is there a relevance hierarchy? Who can decide this? How could one get agreement here? What should be done when there are several customers and they have opposing demands about the quality of the product or performance? And very many more!

These questions are common in organisations and are literally calling for decisions, which could go astray in the complexity of the question jungle listed above. If one looks at the state of research, then the simple fact remains: ‘Integrating’ or uniting rational concepts, conflicting quality norms and criteria into a ‘holistic’ or integrated concept, have all failed. Thus, in the midst of assumed technical logic in the production of products or the offering of services, there is the paradox that there cannot be a ‘holistic’ quality focus. It remains dependent upon the viewpoint, or, as classical economics likes to say, it is relative. This then, as a general rule, leads to “Optimise everything!” or to obligations of prioritising (see the countless tips in the magic triangle). Usually the idea of consensus is hovering in the background.

Our conclusion from this theory position is: quality must be seen as the unit of difference between speed and thoroughness on the basis of limited resources. Therefore, a quality measurement must always make invisible that which ultimately was too slow or not perfect enough. Here, too, this applies: those who measure something, make themselves blind in other respects.