Refication and representation in the implementation of quality improvement programmes

Lynne F. Baxter, Constanze Hirschhauser

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    The object of this paper is to explore superficiality in implementing improvement programmes. The reported lack of success of some quality improvement programmes in realising stated objectives is recognised, but what constitutes the superficial attempts at implementation may well be highly complex symbolic forms of representation and reification which have a multiplicity of meanings for the individuals involved. The project managers try to implement and the tools and activities used to do so are superficial and trivial, and very difficult for observers to associate with improving operations. However, for the managers themselves the superficial has a high degree of significance for their own progression in the organisation and, curiously enough, the means of convincing some outsiders of the organisation's competence. The dominant community of practice was not that of performance improvement, but creating the impression of doing so.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-224
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • Employees involvement
    • Quality improvement
    • Total quality management


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