Research and Quality Management
One of the most controversial concepts relating to academic institutions today is that of ‘quality management’. It is a concept and practice important to researchers primarily because it is important to funders, is that indirect funders like government or direct funders like a corporate sponsor. The result is what may be seen as a blend rather than an either/or in organisation addressed by a wider notion of quality management called Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM proposes that a narrow view of manufacturing quality assurance was no longer effective when there were separate, expert, professional functions dealing with broad specialisations. Therefore, the only way to achieve a ‘total quality’ orientation is by tapping into belief systems around some unifying values. The rationale of that school runs thus: quality is not defined simply as ‘fitness for purpose’ or ‘zero defects’. Quality is therefore about simplicity and ‘designing out’ potential mistakes from the beginning.