Quality is an elusive term that gets fuzzier the closer you look at it. In organizational matters, it has two dimensions: a technical meaning that reflects the degree to which a product or service satisfies stated or implied needs and, more recently, a second “emotional” dimension that has gained prominence, as research shows that there are distinctive cultural meanings that can overwhelm technical meanings. This research shows that in general, quality is associated with perfection in Japan, up to specifications in Germany, luxury in France, working better than last time in the United States, and personal identification in Australia and New Zealand. This means that quality in Japan means getting it right the first time, whereas in the United States it implies continuous improvement (i.e., ...

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