Quality Circle – Features, Organizational Structure and Phases

Techniques used in Quality Circles

Mainly three techniques are used in discussing various problems within the quality circles.

1.Brainstorming
2.Cause and effect diagrams
3.Sampling and charting methods

1.Brainstorming
Brainstorming is a technique to stimulate idea generation for decision making. Under this technique, a free environment is created with a view to stimulate creativity. In this free environment, employee’s ideas are free from criticism. Hence, employees voice all their ideas. All these ideas are recorded seriously. This technique is useful to generate as many ideas as possible. Later, the plus and minus points of each idea are discussed, before taking a decision.

2.Cause and effect diagrams
Members are asked to find out the causes for the identified problem. In this process, members identify one important effect of this cause on the problem. Then, they identify other causes and their effects. Charting out of the causes and effects resembles a fish bone diagram. Hence this technique is also called ‘ fishbone diagram’.

3.Sampling and charting methods
Members of the quality circles observe the events and their consequences in the form of positive or negative results. They chart out all their observations either in sequence or in some other relationship, which gives a clear idea of the problem.

These techniques will work effectively in attaining the objectives only when the organizational structure of QC is sound and systematic.

Organizational Structure of QC

The organizational structure of QC generally consists of four levels :


1.Steering Committee
It consists of representatives of managements from different departments at top level and top representative of recognized unions/federations of employees. Steering committee sponsors QC programmes in the entire organization by defining overall objectives and operating guidelines relating to the identification of the department where the circles are to be formed, provision of training to leaders and members of QC, identification of the problems to be discussed, receiving, discussing and finalizing the suggestions, action plans, budgets etc.

2.Facilitator
The facilitator is an important person between the quality circle and the steering committee. They perform the following functions:
a)Act a s consultant and guide to the QC leaders.
b)Initiate the setting up of QCs by persuading the supervisor.
c)Provide feedback to the steering committee about the proceedings and results of QC.
d)Act as an evaluator and reviewer of QC operations and programmes.

3.QC leader
Each quality circle is headed by an elected leader who coordiantes and streamlines the work of all members. The manager/supervisor of a particular section where the QC is set up may act as leader. He conducts meetings, initiates discussions, motivates members to participate actively and acts as a link between members and the facilitator. He also trains members in problem identification, discussion and problem solving technique.

4.QC Members
Members of single work group form into a quality circle. They join voluntarily or by invitation. They are also free to withdraw from membership whenever they like. Members activities include: attending meetings, participating actively in problems-identification, contributing ideas in developing solutions to the identified problems and the like.

Quality Circle – Features, Organizational Structure and Phases

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