The effectiveness of quality control systems in Australia and Japan : a comparative analysis

McGown, Valerie (2010) The effectiveness of quality control systems in Australia and Japan : a comparative analysis. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis undertakes a comparative analysis of quality control practices in Japan and Australia in the 1980s and the 1990s. The methodology employed consists of two main components. The first is a comparative analysis of the literature in Japanese and in English, to highlight the differences in the interpretation of quality management systems. The second is the analysis, through extensive interviews, of five case studies (including Japanese firms in Japan, Japanese subsidiaries in Australia and Australian firms) to identify the differences in actual practice in the two countries. One aim is to define the characteristics of the ‘mature’ system of Japanese quality control in place around 1990, as a basis for comparative analysis. Three important aspects of the Japanese approach are a reliance on formal structures, procedures and data, the key role played by engineering staff and an emphasis on the technical rather than the social aspects of quality control systems in Japan. By contrast the Australian practice focused on people issues, labour-management relations and achieving cultural change, but formal structures, data and the role of engineering staff were generally inadequate. Some evidence is found of a ‘reverse effect’, that addressing technical production problems contributes to a positive experience of work, but the converse is unlikely to be an effective approach to installing a quality management system.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES)
Keywords TQM, total quality management, Canon, Bridgestone, NEC, GMH, Holden, Australia, Japan
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