Quality Circles

Quality circles are quality-improvement study groups composed of a small number of employees (10 or fewer) and their supervisor. Quality circles were developed in Japan during the 1960s, influenced by the work of Edward Deming (one of the originators of Total Quality Management). They were based on the error correction principles of “plan-do-check-act” but also promoted the idea of worker involvement in decision-making processes. Widely adopted in North America and Europe, especially in the manufacturing industries, they were in some ways the forerunner of the broader concept of self-managed teams. The use of quality circles has declined in recent years, primarily because they have been replaced by broader management initiatives or more centralized quality management approaches.

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