What are Quality Circles?

Continuous Quality Improvement
Knowledge Center


New Topic

Luis cupenala
CEO, South Africa

What are Quality Circles?

In short, a quality circle (QC) is a participatory group of employees, aimed at solving problems related to their own jobs. They are normally found in manufacturing environments.
Definition of quality circle:
In their book Japanese Quality Circles and Productivity, Joel E. Ross and William C. Ross define a quality circle as: "...a small group of employees doing similar or related work who meet regularly to identify, analyze, and solve product-quality and production problems and to improve general operations. The circle is a relatively autonomous unit (ideally about ten workers), usually led by a supervisor or a senior worker and organized as a work unit".
The 2 main strengths of quality circles are:
1. Participating employees can make better suggestions for improving work processes than managers
2. Employees are motivated by their participation
Thus, implemented correctly, quality circles can help reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve employee morale, leading to greater operational efficiency, reduced absenteeism, improved employee health and safety, and an overall better working climate.
Quality circles were first established in Japan in 1962 by Ishikawa at the Nippon Wireless and Telegraph Company. They are based on Deming's PDCA cycle, hence also the name 'quality circles'.
Formation of quality circles:
A quality circle typically starts as a volunteer group of employees under the leadership of the supervisor. Sometimes a team leader is elected. The group is trained to identify, analyze and solve work-related problems and present their solutions to management in order to improve the performance of the organization, and motivate and enrich the work of employees. After some time, true quality circles become self-managing, having gained the confidence of management.
Topics in quality circles:
Typical topics are improving occupational safety and health, improving product design, and improvement in the workplace and manufacturing processes.
Tools used in quality circles:
The main tools used in quality cycles are the Ishikawa Diagram, the Pareto Chart and Brainstorming. Brainstorm can be understood as a quality circle tool whereby members with diversified skills and knowledges from different functional or business areas interact diagnosing problems and provide alternative solutions. Such groups act as innovative teams with a common motivation and synergy that enables an organization to mantain continuously improving the level of quality of goods and services.

  David Jean-Francois
Owner, France

Quality Circles Philosophy, Quality Improvement Teams

The background of QC - and a real choice for organ (...)

  Md. Shahriar Hussain
Management Consultancy, Bangladesh

Quality Circles based on Continuous Improvement

QC encourages creativity of one's thought and inte (...)

Student (University), United Kingdom

Quality Circles should be used more Frequently

In my opinion, many more organisations should impl (...)

  Bob Strasser

Quality Circles Require Preceeding Training

The biggest mistake a company can make is starting (...)

  David Jean-Francois
Owner, France

Quality Circles Education

@Bob Strasser: You're right. Education about metho (...)

  Homer Ferguson
United States

Quality Circles Give Bottom-up Synergy

@Dino: you and the other responders are spot on. T (...)

  Antonio Cacheux

Quality Circles and Market, Suppliers and Enviroment

The question is: what kind of impact does the QC p (...)

  Jack Birnbaum

Quality Circles Can Have a Great Impact

My first contact with quality circles was an intro (...)

  Louis Norman COX
Management Coach, Consultant, Trainer, Mauritius

Quality Circles in Hotel Industry

I've been training and developing the QC philosoph (...)


Quality Circles in Education

It was nice to read valuable comments from various (...)

Interim Manager, Belgium

Quality Circles for Employee Onboarding

Next to all input above, it is also a great tool t (...)

Manager, Zimbabwe

Quality Circles in NGOs

I found QC being a useful tool that can also be us (...)

Student (MBA), Nigeria

A Disadvantage of Quality Circles

The QC is indeed a very important management tool, (...)

Manager, India

Everything about Quality Circles is Here...

Nice details available on this super-site, got det (...)

Manager, Ghana

Quality Circles Concept in Gold Mining

The concept is a very effective tool for ensuring (...)

  Douwe Slot
Management Consultant, Netherlands

QC Powerful if Tooled Well

Valuable article and discussion! If the QC is used (...)


The Power of Quality Circles in Companies

Having had the opportunity to participate in quali (...)

  Rakhi Mukherjee
Teacher, India

More Information on Implementing Quality Circles in School

Dear Sir, I am a School Principal and would want t (...)

Start a new topic


More on Continuous Quality Improvement:
Special Interest Group

Do you have a keen interest in Continuous Quality Improvement? Become our SIG Leader

Continuous Quality Improvement
Knowledge Center

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
2022 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 17-1-2022. All names of their owners.