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Management article
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Reference no. 87603
Authors: David A Garvin
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 1987

Abstract

Traditional programs of quality control in the United States have emphasized mainly defensive action - preventing defects - and even these programs have been pursued halfheartedly. But high quality means pleasing consumers, not just protecting them from annoyances. Therefore, US consumers have become skeptical about the quality of goods and services offered by US corporations, while Japanese electronics, automobile, and semiconductor companies have come to dominate important US markets. In order for a company to compete on quality deliberately and strategically, its managers must first divide the concept into manageable parts - the eight dimensions of quality by which consumers judge products: performance, features, reliability, conformance, durability, serviceability, aesthetics, and perceived quality. Managers should research potential markets and the strengths of their competition to ascertain which of these dimensions they can emphasize.

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Abstract

Traditional programs of quality control in the United States have emphasized mainly defensive action - preventing defects - and even these programs have been pursued halfheartedly. But high quality means pleasing consumers, not just protecting them from annoyances. Therefore, US consumers have become skeptical about the quality of goods and services offered by US corporations, while Japanese electronics, automobile, and semiconductor companies have come to dominate important US markets. In order for a company to compete on quality deliberately and strategically, its managers must first divide the concept into manageable parts - the eight dimensions of quality by which consumers judge products: performance, features, reliability, conformance, durability, serviceability, aesthetics, and perceived quality. Managers should research potential markets and the strengths of their competition to ascertain which of these dimensions they can emphasize.

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