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QCs' effectiveness factors in public & private enterprises in India.

Introduction

Major environmental changes in late 1980s and early 1990s, such as liberalization policy, encouraged many Indian organizations to explore and experiment with work innovations and quality improvement initiatives in order to improve productivity and quality as well as to satisfy the psychological growth needs of people better. One such initiative is the Quality Circles (QCs). Hutchins (1985) observed, "Quality Circles are the most exciting and profound approach to have been established in the world since the advent of scientific management". As an approach to participative management, QC philosophy incorporates the idea that employees at all organizational levels want to be involved in decisions that affect their work, and, that those closest to a given job are in the best position to evaluate its problems and suggest potential solutions. Presently, QCs represent the dominant form for involving employees in improving manufacturing performance in various types of enterprises, irrespective of Public Sector Units (PSUs) or Private Sector Enterprises (PSEs), all over India including Kolkata and suburbs.

Though originally developed in the USA in the 1940s, the QC movement was formally introduced in Japan way back in 1962. In India, the QC movement was started in 1981 in the Ramchandrapuram Unit of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) (Udpa, 1986). Since then, QCs have spread to many types of organizations all over India. In Eastern India, QC movement came into force with its successful implementation in Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP), Durgapur in 1991-92. Some other notable PSUs and PSEs from Kolkata and suburbs practicing QC philosophy include National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd., Farakka; Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) Ltd., Kolkata; Exide Industries Ltd. (EXIDE), Haldia; Mitsubishi Chemical PTA India/MCC PTA India Corporation Pvt. Ltd. (MCPI), Haldia; West Bengal State Electricity Board (WBSEB), Kolkata; Kolkata Port Trust; etc. But QC's implementation does not guarantee effectiveness. It is therefore necessary to assess the factors responsible for the effectiveness of this organizational tool individually for PSUs and PSEs and comparatively in between such organizations.

The sample industrial enterprises in and around Kolkata selected for this study include three PSUs (DSP, Durgapur; GRSE Ltd., Kolkata and NTPC Ltd., Farakka) and two PSEs (EXIDE, Haldia and MCPI, Haldia). All of them have a history of successful and effective implementation of QC philosophy and QC practices for the last ten years. Many of the sample QCs have also been working for many years now.

Objectives of the Study

This empirical comparative study has the following objectives:

* Determine the criteria for assessing QCs' effectiveness based on literature survey and develop a model relevant for both PSUs and PSEs.

* Use the QCs' effectiveness model to develop a questionnaire and conduct a survey among the selected PSUs and PSEs in and around Kolkata.

* Extract the factors by using Principal Components Analysis (PCA) under Factor Analysis (FA) separately for PSUs and PSEs. This would help to find out the factors that have been responsible for QCs' effectiveness in such organizations as studied.

* Compare the model developed with the separately extracted factors for effectiveness.

* Recommend the requisite factors indispensable for QCs' effectiveness and suggest necessary steps for sample PSUs and PSEs to develop the QCs and QC movement further.

Methodology

The literature on workers' participation and QCs was surveyed extensively to develop the QCs' effectiveness model relevant for both PSUs and PSEs of twenty-five factors. Thereafter, primary and secondary data were collected from 2004 to 2009 in three phases from sample PSUs and PSEs in and around Kolkata, using a range of techniques- focused oneto-one interviews, group interviews, observations, survey questionnaires (both pilot and final) and verification (or checking) of the documentary sources/evidence in regard to the QCs in operation.

Based on the primary data collected and the observations on the prevalent QCs activities in sample PSUs and PSEs in phase I, the questionnaire was developed for pilot survey in phase II. During phase II, the pilot survey questionnaire was administered among the QCs' members and leaders/deputy leaders (50% of sample QCs and its members were included) comprising 118 statements. Thereafter, a thorough analysis of the responses of pilot survey questionnaire was used to eliminate the less important statements for the final questionnaire survey in Phase III. In Recommendations of Guilford (1952) have been followed that at least three statements representing each factor of the QCs' effectiveness model (as developed initially) should be kept in the final survey questionnaire balanced with reliability estimation.

In phase III, the final questionnaire (comprising 96 statements and other general questions, totaling 100 questions) survey was conducted among 236 (214 from PSUs and 22 from PSEs) respondents (representing 118 QCs, i.e., two members from each QC, selected on a stratified basis and as per their availability) for further investigation and analysis of the QCs' effectiveness model. Only those active QCs which were more than two years of age (i.e., the honeymoon effect has gone) and solved at least two problems were selected. The questionnaire used a 5-point Likert Scale, ranging from 'Strongly Disagree' (= 1) to 'Strongly Agree' (= 5), to obtain primary data from the respondents. In this study, PCA under FA has been taken to find out the most significant (principal components) and influential factors as prevalent separately in sample PSUs and PSEs for making their QCs effective.

Literature Review

The literature on QCs has been largely non-empirical in nature involving successful and unsuccessful stories from varied organizational settings all over the world. Many formal studies on QCs deal with selected aspects of their implementation, outcomes and success or failure factors. This study has focused mainly on success or failure factors of QCs in the works of Dale (1984); Dale & Lees (1985); Ingle (1982); Lawler & Mohrman (1985); Mento (1982); Park (1991); Sen (2010); Sillince, Sykes & Singh (1996); Sodhi & Joshi (1995); Udpa (1986); White & Bednar (1983); etc.

In Indian context, QC implementation process and activities in different organizations (Dwivedi, 1987; 1987a; Jha, 1997; Mathew, 1985; Srinivasan, 1991; Udpa, 1985) and QCs' effectiveness evaluation in industrial settings (Dwivedi, 1987b; Khan, 1986; Vijaya Banu, 2007) were studied. However, no regional study of this kind in and around Kolkata was found. Hence, this study would be one of pioneering nature within this region. But many of the findings could as well be true of other regions or organizations in India.

The QCs' Effectiveness Model

In Japan, it has been reported that only 40 percent of organizations having QCs have been able to claim 100 percent effectiveness in QCs' working. In case of failure, causes must be identified and remedial measures should be taken to reactivate dormant QCs. It is also imperative for industrial enterprises (including the sample ones) and their managers to know and avoid these causes. Also, in case of success, the factors present and responsible should be identified and standardized. With this objective in mind, a model of QCs' effectiveness factors has been developed for further investigation and analysis.

The QCs' effectiveness model [twenty-five factors] includes:

* Top management commitment and support

* Organizational requirements and support

* Middle management commitment and support

* Employees' attitude and objectives in joining QCs

* Facilitators' commitment and support

* No resistance from trade union

* QCs members' commitment and support

* Provision of comprehensive training

* A minimum level of education, skills and knowledge of QC philosophy

* Main focus on voluntary participation approach

* Strong group dynamics

* Effective leadership in QCs

* Satisfaction with job and non-job factors in the workplace

* Adequate number of suitable problems/projects for QC

* Selection of simple problems/projects for QCs

* Regularity of QCs meetings and QCs activities

* Free-flowing and effective communication system

* Clear-cut QC objectives and logical expectations from QC groups

* Publicity and recognition by management

* Suitable reward schemes/system

* Maintenance of initial enthusiasm and spirit in spite of age of QC

* Taste of success with existing QCs

* Supportive national, local and social culture

* Continued presence of key personnel

* Procedural effectiveness in implementing QCs' solutions/recommendations

Empirical Study & Findings

In this study, PCA and Varimax Rotation with Kaiser Normalization methods (under FA) were applied to the responses of the sample respondents from PSUs and PSEs separately. Tables 1 and 2 contain the twenty one and eleven 'Factors' respectively for the three PSUs and two PSEs.

The FA procedure automatically identifies factors that explain more variance than individual statements. The twenty one and eleven 'Factors' respectively in Tables 1 and 2 have accounted for 82.7 percent (for three PSUs) and 100 percent (for two PSEs) of the total variance among the statements, which have been quite satisfactory. Using the criterion of Eigenvalues greater than one, followed by varimax rotation and a screen-test, those twenty one and eleven 'Factors' have been identified. Due to the sample size, only variables (each represent a particular statement in the final questionnaire) with a factor loading of.600 or higher have been selected.

With regard to three PSUs, where employment is more or less secure, it was found that lesser work-pressure, free mind in workplace, independence of thinking and working, achievement of the basic needs (as per the different Motivation Theories), etc. have prompted grass-root and middle level workers, as well as the middle level managers to work whole-heartedly for the QCs and maintain the initial enthusiasm and spirit in spite of age of QC [Factor 1 with the highest variance of 28.15% (Table I)], mainly for the purpose of self and mutual development. The PSUs-specific effectiveness factors, such as, 'Keeping the Main Focus on Voluntary Participation Approach'; 'No Regular Rotation of QCs Members'; 'QCs' Members Psychological Development'; 'Active Involvement and Commitment from the Departmental Heads/Supervisors'; 'Successful QCs' Leadership Tenure'; 'Continuous Technical Support from the Departmental Heads/Supervisors for QCs activities'; 'QCs' Members Communicational Ability and Skills Development' and 'Free-Flowing and Effective Communication System in QCs' can be cited as evidence for the above fact.

The sub-factor (representing statement no. 89) under Factor 1 with the highest factor loading of. 863 in Table I points towards the fact that QCs have been thriving in three PSUs as the members have been running the whole process without any type of management interference in line with the essence of the QC philosophy. The sub-factor (representing statement no. 93) under Factor 1 with the second highest factor loading of. 818 in Table 1 points towards one of the most critical findings of this research (and also a suggestion for other enterprises to implement it). The QC philosophy has been integrated into the mainstream of organizational policy framework in three PSUs, which makes the QCs more successful and effective than their private counterparts. However, on the basis of observations, it could be pointed out that except DSP, Durgapur, no other sample organization has been fully successful in this regard till December, 2009. The sub-factor (representing statement no. 59) under Factor 1 with the sixth highest factor loading of. 763 in Table I indicates that the QC philosophy has become an indispensable part of daily work-life and family life of QCs' members. This has made QCs effective in three PSUs.

The sub-factors (representing statement no. 46 and 44) under Factor 1 with the third and fifth highest factor loadings of. 806 and. 793 respectively in Table I indicate the importance of the inspirational and mentor-role of QCs' facilitators at all times in maintaining the initial enthusiasm and spirit in spite of the age of QC. Another sub-factor (representing Statement No. 58) under Factor 1 with the fourth highest factor loading of.801 in Table I indicate the strong belief the top and middle management have about the successes and effectiveness of the QCs. This point was clearly observed by the researcher during his visits to the sample PSUs. The initial failures of many QCs were ignored and continuous encouragement was given to QCs for future improvement. This ultimately caused the number and stature of the successful and effective QCs to grow over time.

Another very important factor [Factor 6: Participative Leadership Style of the Top Management (Table I)] which has been quite unique to PSUs in this region was also actually observed in the three sample PSUs. The sub-factor (representing statement n. 16) under Factor 6 with the highest factor loading of.757 in Table I indicates that top management in the three PSUs has been quite liberal in their leadership style and approach which has helped QCs become effective and retain stability in the long-term.

Factor 14 (Table I) is labeled as the 'Taste of Success with Existing QCs', since it measures the successes and recognition out of successful QCs' efforts which encourage and motivate others to join QCs. The sub-factor (representing statement no. 71) under Factor 14 with the highest factor loading of. 758 in Table I points out to the above fact. Some other PSU-specific QCs' effectiveness factors such as, 'Existence of Other Quality Improvement Programs in the Past and/ or in Present'; 'QCs' Stability Throughout Their Tenure' and 'Selection of Simple Problems/Projects for QCs' are pointers to the organizational and QCs'-specific effectiveness factors for the three sample PSUs.

With regard to the two sample PSEs, along with the common 'Factors', some indispensable organization-specific factors were also observed. One such critical factor has been the 'Supportive National, Local and Social Culture' (Factor 5, Table 2). The sub-factor (representing statement no. 92) under Factor 5 with the highest factor loading of. 860 in Table 2 points to the prevalence of supportive local and social culture within this region (i.e., Haldia, as both EXIDE and MCPI are from this region) which has made QCs effective. Local people have been very committed to their work and to any new intervention or approach. The sub-factor (representing statement no. 59) under Factor 5 with the second highest factor loading of .820 in Table 2 also points to the commitment and support of QCs' members from the two PSEs as they followed the QC philosophy in their regular work-life and family life. It was obvious that they have been getting the active support of family members in this task. This is in itself evidence of the rightly-named Factor (i.e., Factor 5).

Another very critical factor in the IR scenario of West Bengal and especially in Haldia, has been the 'No Resistance from Trade Union' (Factor 7, Table 2). The sub-factor (representing statement no. 47) under Factor 7 with the highest factor loading of .861 in Table 2 points to that the union members have been actively participating in QCs and in the QC movement in the two sample PSEs of this study. It was also found that the QC philosophy had never roused any suspicion or resistance from the trade unions of those enterprises. This helped to make the QCs effective and the movement easy in those sample PSEs. It was also found that the top management of these enterprises had been continuously supporting the QCs and their members in all regards (Factor 2 with 13.703% variance, Table 2) which helped them become effective. This allowed QCs' members to participate regularly in the QCs' activities.

Seven 'Factors'

* Regularity of QCs Meetings and QCs Activities

* Facilitators' Commitment and Support

* Provision of Comprehensive Training

* Middle Management Commitment and Support

* Effective Leadership in QCs

* Employees' Attitude and Objectives in Joining QCs

* QCs Members' Commitment and Support

These have been found in the separately extracted 'Factors' for the three PSUs and two PSEs respectively (Tables 1&2). So, it can be concluded that these 'Factors' have been the most indispensable ones for QCs' effectiveness in the sample industrial enterprises. It can be seen from Table 3 that most of the factors of QCs' effectiveness model have matched (partially or fully) with that of separately extracted 'Factors' for the sample PSUs and PSEs. This itself points to the relevance of the model proposed in this study.

The Cronbach Alpha estimate is appropriate for the reliability (Henson, 2001). This estimate was found to be.8778 and .6294 for the three sample PSUs and two PSEs respectively. The standard thumb rule is that the Cronbach Alpha must be greater than .60 to conclude that the scale is reliable. Thus, in case of total items (statements), the scale has been found to be reliable in both the cases.

Conclusion

It was found that QCs' effectiveness was variable across the sample organizations and QCs. In most of the sample organizations (except DSP and EXIDE), the overall QC movement shows a declining momentum. There is evidence that QCs' effectiveness is conditional on and/or influenced by the overall organizational culture, wider participative structures, management intentions and so on. Also, neither employee loyalty and commitment nor employee satisfaction with QCs has been uniform even in the same organization.

In two of the sample organizations, i.e., DSP and EXIDE, it was found that the members as well as non-members are very excited and enthusiastic with the QC philosophy and activities. In some other sample organizations, i.e., NTPC Ltd., Farakka and MCPI, Haldia, excessive work pressure is causing less time available for QCs' activities.

The primary contribution of this study has been to develop a new organization-oriented QCs' effectiveness model which is also time-tested. It has tracked the responses of the respondents to QCs-participation over time (during three phases). It has used the FA logically and reliably for extracting 'Factors' based on the primary data. It has employed a comparative analytical study (QCs' effectiveness model vs. the separately extracted 'Factors'). This study was also not a mere narrative of some organizational participants or self-reported by either the management or the unions.

Limitations

This study is not free from limitations. Time and resource constraints make this study limited in numbers and dimensions. Future research should include self-reported and other types of primary data (including questionnaire study) in examining QCs' effectiveness in terms of the QCs' problem solving and QCs' productivity. Future research could also cover inter-regional studies making a comparative analysis of QCs' effectiveness factors in PSUs vs. PSEs in other regions of the country.

The following are suggested and recommended as indispensable prerequisites/factors as essential for the sustained long-term success and effectiveness of individual QCs and the overall QC movement in different organizations (irrespective of their nature):

1. The QC philosophy should be integrated in to the basic organizational structure and policy framework. Also, the organizations need to capture and follow the true spirit of the QC philosophy in all regards.

2. The commitment and positive attitudes of the immediate boss, acting as facilitator, and the wholeheartedness and drive of the respective QCs' members are most crucial in making the QCs effective.

3. Prior to the introduction of the QCs, comprehensive training schedules should include awareness sessions, skills-development sessions and practical sessions.

4. A separate QC Cell should be developed (possibly under the aegis of the TQM/Quality Control/any other Department, as in DSP, Durgapur) to look after QC efforts in the organization.

5. QCs' success and effectiveness should not be judged only from performance in different QCs competitions, but, rather from the importance of the solutions/recommendations for problems in their respective work-areas. More and more emphasis should be put on regular visits by management (top and middle) to QCs' work-areas to verify the progress of QCs activities and obtain necessary feedback from QCs members.

6. Lucrative monetary reward schemes/ systems based on a percentage of the total money saved (post-audit) should be offered to QCs members to motivate them further, though, this violates the basic QC philosophy. This would be much more logical, scientific and attractive than the existing one-time 'Cash Award' schemes as generally prevalent in the sample PSUs and PSEs.

7. The top and especially middle management should be responsible and accountable for the all-round arrangements necessary for QCs' effectiveness and should show keen interest and drive to make the QC movement successful and effective in the respective organizations.

8. The leadership provided to individual QCs and to organizational QC movement is also very critical for and influential in maintaining the initial enthusiasm and regularity of QCs' meetings and activities for achieving QCs' effectiveness.

9. All organizations practicing and wanting to introduce/launch the QC philosophy should be focused on improving the QWL and social and family life of the QCs members as a priority.

In conclusion, when properly implemented in the right industrial culture, QCs could help create a competitive drive quite beyond the experience of anyone who has not seen them in operation. However, when badly managed, QCs result in failure, disappointment and cynicism and distrust of the concept of QC (Hutchins, 1985) and could become a management fad (O'Donnell & O'Donnell, 1984).

References

Dale, B.G. (1984). "Quality Circles in UK Manufacturing Industry- A State of the Art Survey", Occasional Paper No. 8402, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST)

Dale, B.G. & Lees, J. (1985), "Factors Which Influence the Success of Quality Circle Programs in the United Kingdom", International Journal of Operations and Production Management (UK), 5(4): 43-54.

Dwivedi, R.S. (1987), "Quality Control (QC) Circles in an Engineering Enterprise", Abhigyan, Spring: 53-70.

Dwivedi, R.S. (1987a), "Quality Circles For Effective Performance- A Pioneer Public Sector Experiment", Prabandh, Jan.-Mar.: 10-28.

Dwivedi, R.S. (1987b), "Effectiveness of Quality Circle and Its Determinants in a Large Industrial Organization in India", Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 22: 355-68

Guilford, J.P. (1952), "When Not to Factor Analyze", Psychological Bulletin, 49: 26-37.

Henson, R. K. (2001), "Understanding Internal Consistency Reliability Estimates: A Conceptual Primer On Coefficient Alpha", Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34: 177-89.

Hutchins, D. (1985), Quality Circles Handbook, Pitman, London.

Ingle, S. June, (1982), "How To Avoid Quality Circle Failure in Your Company", Training & Development Journal, 36(6): 54-59.

Jha, V. (1997), "Quality Circle Implementation in Indian Organization: An Alternative Viewpoint", Decision, 24 (1-4): 79-92.

Khan, S. (1986), "Quality Circles in India: a Review and Assessment of the Participative Management in Indian Industry", Quality Circles Journal, 9(3): 51-55.

Lawler, E.E. & Mohrman, S.A. (1985), "Quality Circles After the Fad", Harvard Business Review, 63 (1);65-71.

Mathew, M., (1985), "Quality Circles- Key To Organisation Development", The Economic Times. May 23

Mento, A.J., (1982), "Some Motivational Reasons Why Quality Circles Work in Organizations", Transactions of the 4th Annual Conference of the International Association of Quality Circles (IAQC): 75-88.

O'Donnell, M. & O'Donnell, R.J. (1984), "Quality Circles- The Latest Fad Or A Real Winner", Business Horizons, May-June : 48-52.

Park, S.J. (1991), "Estimating Success Rates of Quality Circle Programs: Public and Private Experiences", Public Administration Quarterly, Spring : 133-46.

Sen, R. (2010), Industrial Relations: Text And Cases, MacMillan, New Delhi.

Sillince, J.A.A., Sykes, G.M.H. & Singh, D.P., (1996), "Implementation, Problems, Success and Longevity of Quality Circle Programs-A Study of 95 UK Organizations", International Journal of Operations & Productions Management, 16(4),: 88-111.

Sodhi, J.S., Joshi, R., Chellappa, H.V.V., Maslamani, S., Kalia, S.A. & Sandhu, H., (1995), In Search of Participation, Sri Ram Centre for Industrial Relations, New Delhi.

Srinivasan, A.V. (1991), "Quality Circle Movement In India: A Status Report", ASCI Journal of Management, 21(1),: 56-75.

Udpa, S.R. (1985), "Quality Circles for Diverse Types Of Organizations", The Hindu, September 18

Udpa, S.R. (1986), Quality Circles- Progress through Participation, Tata McGraw Hill, New Delhi.

Vijaya Banu, C. (2007), "The Effectiveness of Quality Circles at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Tiruchirapalli: A Study", Icfaian Journal of Management Research, 6(3): 31-43.

White, D.D. & Bednar, D.A. (1983), "Quality Circles Procedures & Problems: A Survey of U.S. Firms", Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the Southern Management Association : 282-84

Ranjan Dasgupta is Associate Professor, MBA Department, Institute of Engineering & Management (IEM), Kolkata. e-mail: dasgupta_ranjan@rediffmail.com
Table 1 The QCs' Effectiveness Factors (in respect of three PSUs)
Based on PCA under FA

ITEMS (COMPONENTS)                                  LOADINGS

Factor 1: Maintenance of Initial Enthusiasm         (28.151%)
and Spirit in spite of Age of QC

89. Still now our QC is a 'staff/QC members'        .863
  expectation' not 'management expectation'.
93. The QC philosophy has been integrated into      .818
  the main stream of organizational policy
  framework in our organization.
46. Our QC facilitator is the main driving          .806
  force/inspiration behind our QC's successes
  and effectiveness.
58. Our top and/or middle management always         .801
  has/have a strong belief in our QC's successes
  and effectiveness.
44. Our QC facilitator is a mentor/guide to us      .793
  at all points of time (both difficult and
  easy).
59. I think that the QC philosophy has now          .763
  become an indispensable part of our daily
  work-life and also family life.

Factor 2: Regularity of QCs Meetings and QCs        (6.676%)
Activities

13. We have a written QC Code of Conduct to         .771
  follow for all QC activities.
81. Our QC meetings and all other QC                .746
  activities are held as per the framed QC Rules
  and written QC Code of Conduct.

Factor 3: Provision of Comprehensive Training       (5.678%)

4. I think that such formal QC training has         .912
  developed our general knowledge-base and
  skills (such as, technical, work-related,
  group dynamics, leadership, communication,
  etc.) level than before joining the QC
  activities.
2. We have been provided suitable and adequate      .785
  training in all the steps of QC activities and
  QC philosophy.
5. I think that such suitable and adequate          .777
  training is absolutely essential to be
  successful and effective in QC activities.

Factor 4: Keeping the Main Focus on Voluntary       (4.878%)
Participation Approach

96. In our organization, we have volunteered        .904
  to participate in the QCs' activities and also
  have selected our leader/leaders without any
  type of management interferences.

Factor 5: No Regular Rotation of QCs Members        (3.841%)

51. I think that regular rotation of members        .842
  is absolutely essential to make the QC
  problem-solving process successful and
  effective.
49. Our QC members are regularly turned over/       .793
  transferred.

Factor 6: Participative Leadership Style of         (3.696%)
the Top Management

16. Our top management always takes our             .757
  suggestions/recommendations in most of the
  activities in relation to our work-area/unit/
  department.

Factor 7: Active Involvement and Commitment         (3.157%)
from the Departmental Heads/Supervisors

21. Our departmental head/supervisor, may or        .788
  may not be acting as the facilitator of our
  QC, but is present in most of our QC meetings.

Factor 8: QCs' Members Psychological                (2.983%)
Development

70. After joining QC my commitment towards          .830
  productivity and regularity in work has been
  enhanced.
54. I have become much more motivated and           .807
  satisfied after joining QC than earlier.

Factor 9: Continuous Technical Support from         (2.526%)
the Departmental Heads/Supervisors for QCs
activities

25. Our departmental head/supervisor, may or        .724
  may not be acting as the facilitator of our
  QC, but always help in the preparation of
  speeches and PowerPoint presentations for all
  types of QCs Competitions.

Factor 10: Free-Flowing and Effective               (2.388%)
Communication System in QCs

63. We freely discuss all QC matters in formal      .612
  (QC meetings) and informal discussions in our
  QC.

Factor 11: Successful QCs' Leadership Tenure        (2.338%)

34. I enjoy the power status,                       .883
  authority-responsibility position and
  recognition in my QC leadership tenure.
35. The success as a QC leader has given me         .857
  the necessary boost and experience to tackle
  future situational problems anywhere.

Factor 12: Facilitators' Commitment                 (2.232%)
and Support

43. If we have any doubt about the QC               .720
  philosophy, activities, steps, etc., we first
  go to our QC facilitator.

Factor 13: Middle Management Commitment             (2.119%)
and Support

19. We get regular and continuous training and      .801
  suggestions to improve ourselves in QCs
  activities from our middle
  management/departmental head/supervisor.
18. I have joined the QC activities because of      .791
  the active involvement and inspiration of our
  middle management/departmental
  head/supervisor.

Factor 14: Taste of Success with Existing QCs       (1.831%)

71. The successes and recognition of earlier        .758
  QCs and their members through QCs activities
  and movement have encouraged and motivated
  employees like me to join a QC.

Factor 15: QCs' Members Communicational             (1.714%)
Ability and Skills Development

85. My active participation in QC activities        .758
  all these years has improved my communication
  ability and skills individually and within
  groups in QC.

Factor 16: Effective Leadership in QCs              (1.651%)

66. Our QC leader is supportive, non-directive      .983
  and non-evaluative.
67. We always approach our QC leader first          .982
  whenever we face any problem in QC activities
  for his/her suggestions/advice and mostly
  he/she listens to us carefully.

Factor 17: Existence of Other Quality               (1.487%)
Improvement Programmes in the Past and/or in
Present

14. Our organization had/has Quality                .877
  Improvement Programmes, such as, Work
  Councils, Suggestion Schemes/Systems, other
  WPM Programmes, TQM, Quality Assurance/
  Control, etc. in the past or currently working
  simultaneously with the QCs.

Factor 18: QCs Members' Commitment and Support      (1.448%)

57. We maintain all the QC-related records          .632
  (such as, Minutes Book of QC meetings, QC-
  Records Book, etc.) on our own.

Factor 19: Selection of Simple Problems/            (1.361%)
Projects for QCs

78. The complex nature of QC-selected problems      .740
  which require inter-departmental, inter-work-
  area assistance has never stopped the
  functioning of our QC or made us demotivated
  to continue the QC activities.

Factor 20: QCs' Stability Throughout Their          (1.317%)
Tenure

95. In the past, on one/some/many occasions,        .746
  our QC had/has been split to form new QCs.

Factor 21: Employees' Attitude and Objectives       (1.237%)
in Joining QCs

32. I think that the QC is a medium to show my      .900
  creativity and other intrinsic qualities, such
  as, intelligence, organizational and
  leadership abilities, decision/making skills,
  etc. before the management/superiors.

Table 2 The QCs' Effectiveness Factors (in respect of two
PSEs) Based on PCA under FA

ITEMS (COMPONENTS)                                   LOADINGS

Factor 1: Regularity of QCs Meetings and QCs         (21.318%)
Activities

13. We have a written QC Code of Conduct to          .934
  follow for all QC activities.

Factor 2: Organizational and Top Management          (15.872%)
Support for QCs Activities

9. Our QC regularly participates in different        .972
  intra-organizational, local, zonal, national
  and international (if selected) QCs
  Competitions.
10. For and during all such QCs Competitions         .972
  (of all types), the expenses for participation,
  journey, hospitality, recreational tours,
  additional D.A.--if any, etc. are fully borne
  by our organization.
69. Our QC success stories are regularly             .926
  publicised in notice boards, in-house journals,
  local media, etc.

Factor 3: Middle Management Commitment and Support   (15.049%)

19. We get regular and continuous training and       .966
  suggestions to improve ourselves in QCs
  activities from our middle
  management/departmental head/supervisor.
21. Our departmental head/supervisor, may or         .958
  may not be acting as the facilitator of our QC,
  but is present in most of our QC meetings.

Factor 4: Provision of Comprehensive Training        (11.374%)

2. We have been provided suitable and adequate       .939
  training in all the steps of QC activities and
  QC philosophy.
4. I think that such formal QC trainings have        .939
  developed our general knowledge-base and skills
  (such as, technical, work-related, group
  dynamics, leadership, communication, etc.)
  level than before joining the QC activities.
5. I think that such suitable and adequate           .939
  training is absolutely essential to be
  successful and effective in QC activities.

Factor 5: Supportive National, Local and Social      (9.652%)
Culture

92. I think that the local and social culture        .860
  supports the QC philosophy in our organization.

59. I think that the QC philosophy has now           .820
  become an indispensable part of our daily
  work-life and also family life.

Factor 6: Facilitators' Commitment and Support       (7.521%)

44. Our QC facilitator is a mentor/guide to us       .772
  at all point of time (both difficult and easy).
46. Our QC facilitator is the main driving           .772
  force/inspiration behind our QC's successes and
  effectiveness.

Factor 7: No Resistance from Trade Union             (5.897%)

47. Union members actively participate in our        .861
  organizational QC movement from the initial
  stages (acting as QC members in some/many QCs).
* Factor 8: Regular Active Participation of All      (4.496%)
  QCs Members in QCs Activities
* 64. All of us regularly participate in all         *.567
  the QC activities.

Factor 9: Employees' Attitude and Objectives in      (3.936%)
Joining QCs

77. At the beginning of our QC tenure we were        .948
  much more interested in solving our personal
  grievances (such as canteen, restroom
  facilities, etc.) in the work-related areas.

Factor 10: QCs Members' Commitment and Support       (2.658%)

36. I think that the QCs develop our group,          .771
  departmental and organizational unity and
  cohesiveness.
57. We maintain all the QC-related records           .752
  (such as, Minutes Book of QC meetings,
  QC-Records Book, etc.) on our own.
39. I believe that rotational leadership             .675
  approach is best suited for the QC philosophy.

Factor 11: Effective Leadership in QCs               (2.228%)

66. Our QC leader is supportive, non-directive       .990
  and non-evaluative.
67. We always approach our QC leader first           .990
  whenever we face any problem in QC activities
  for his/her suggestions/advice and mostly
  he/she listens to us carefully.

* Though the factor loading is less than 0.60, this
researcher has taken it as a 'Factor' discretionally for its
assumed importance in the overall analysis.

Table 3 The Proposed Indispensable Factors under the QCs'
Effectiveness Model Vs. The Extracted 'Factors' based on PCA
under FA Results for PSUs and PSEs

25 Proposed Indispensable Factors      21 Extracted
under the QCs' Effectiveness Model     "Factors' Resulting
                                       from the PCA under
                                       FA for PSUs

Factor 1:    Top Management            Present Partly
               Commitment and            (under Factor 6)
               Support
Factor 2:    Organisational            Present Partly
               Requirements and          (under Factor 17)
               Support
Factor 3:    Middle Management         Present (Factor 13),
               Commitment and            Present Partly
               Support                   (under Factor 7 & 9)
Factor 4:    Employees' Attitude       Present (Factor 21)
               and Objectives in
               Joining QCs
Factor 5:    Facilitators'             Present (Factor 12)
               Commitment and
               Support
Factor 6:    No Resistance from        Not Present
               Trade Union
Factor 7:    QCs Members'              Present (Factor 18),
               Commitment and            Present Partly
               Support                   (under Factor 8),
                                         Present Partly
                                         (under Factor 15)
Factor 8:    Provision of              Present (Factor 3)
               Comprehensive
               Training
Factor 9:    A Minimum Level of        Not Present
               Skills, Education and
               Knowledge of the QC
               Philosophy
Factor 10:   Keeping the Main          Present (Factor 4)
               Focus on Voluntary
               Participation
               Approach
Factor 11:   Strong Group Dynamics     Not Present
Factor 12:   Effective Leadership      Present (Factor 16)
               in QCs
Factor 13:   Satisfaction with Job     Not Present
               and Non-Job Factors
               in the Workplace
Factor 14:   Adequate Number of        Not Present
               Suitable Problems/
               Projects for QCs
Factor 15:   Selection of Simple       Present (Factor 19)
               Problems/Projects for
               QCs
Factor 16:   Regularity of QCs         Present (Factor 2)
               Meetings and QCs
               Activities
Factor 17:   Free-Flowing and          Present Partly
               Effective                 (under Factor 10)
               Communication System
Factor 18:   Clear-cut QC              Not Present
               Objectives and
               Logical Expectations
               from QC Groups
Factor 19:   Publicity and             Not Present
               Recognition by
               Management
Factor 20:   Suitable Reward           Not Present
               Schemes/System
Factor 21:   Maintenance of            Present (Factor 1),
               Initial Enthusiasm        Present Partly
               and Spirit in spite       (under Factor 20)
               of Age of QC
Factor 22:   Taste of Success with     Present (Factor 14),
               Existing QCs              Present Partly
                                         (under Factor 11)
Factor 23:   Supportive National,      Not Present
               Local and Social
               Culture
Factor 24:   Continued Presence of     Not Present
               Key Personnel
Factor 25:   Procedural                Not Present
               Effectiveness in
               Implementing QCs'
               Solutions/
               Recommendations

25 Proposed Indispensable Factors      11 Extracted
under the QCs' Effectiveness Model     "Factors' Resulting
                                       from the PCA under
                                       FA for PSEs

Factor 1:    Top Management            Present Partly
               Commitment and            (under Factor 2)
               Support
Factor 2:    Organisational            Present Partly
               Requirements and          (under Factor 2)
               Support
Factor 3:    Middle Management         Present (Factor 3)
               Commitment and
               Support
Factor 4:    Employees' Attitude       Present (Factor 9)
               and Objectives in
               Joining QCs
Factor 5:    Facilitators'             Present (Factor 6)
               Commitment and
               Support
Factor 6:    No Resistance from        Present (Factor 7)
               Trade Union
Factor 7:    QCs Members'              Present (Factor 10),
               Commitment and            Present Partly
               Support                   (Factor 8)

Factor 8:    Provision of              Present (Factor 4)
               Comprehensive
               Training
Factor 9:    A Minimum Level of        Not Present
               Skills, Education and
               Knowledge of the QC
               Philosophy
Factor 10:   Keeping the Main          Not Present
               Focus on Voluntary
               Participation
               Approach
Factor 11:   Strong Group Dynamics     Not Present
Factor 12:   Effective Leadership      Present (Factor 11)
               in QCs
Factor 13:   Satisfaction with Job     Not Present
               and Non-Job Factors
               in the Workplace
Factor 14:   Adequate Number of        Not Present
               Suitable Problems/
               Projects for QCs
Factor 15:   Selection of Simple       Not Present
               Problems/Projects for
               QCs
Factor 16:   Regularity of QCs         Present (Factor 1)
               Meetings and QCs
               Activities
Factor 17:   Free-Flowing and          Not Present
               Effective
               Communication System
Factor 18:   Clear-cut QC              Not Present
               Objectives and
               Logical Expectations
               from QC Groups
Factor 19:   Publicity and             Not Present
               Recognition by
               Management
Factor 20:   Suitable Reward           Not Present
               Schemes/System
Factor 21:   Maintenance of            Not Present
               Initial Enthusiasm
               and Spirit in spite
               of Age of QC
Factor 22:   Taste of Success with     Not Present
               Existing QCs

Factor 23:   Supportive National,      Present (Factor 5)
               Local and Social
               Culture
Factor 24:   Continued Presence of     Not Present
               Key Personnel
Factor 25:   Procedural                Not Present
               Effectiveness in
               Implementing QCs'
               Solutions/
               Recommendations
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:quality circles
Author:Dasgupta, Ranjan
Publication:Indian Journal of Industrial Relations
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Apr 1, 2014
Words:6157
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