DEFINITION OF QUALITY- TRANSFORMATIVE
One can find a number of definitions of quality. Definition of the quality will be influenced by how well numerous aspects of performance are able to provide satisfaction of multiple wants and further distinguished by the subjective importance attached by the individual. This transformative notion of quality is well established in Western philosophy and can be found in the discussion of dialectical transforms in the works of Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and Marx.
Transformative view of quality:
Harvey and Green suggested the transformative view of quality as follows:
The transformative view of quality is rooted in the notion of ‘qualitative change’, a fundamental change of form.
Ice is transformed into water and eventually steam if it experiences an increase of temperature. Whilst the increase in temperature can be measured the transformation involves a qualitative change. Ice has different qualities to that of steam or water. Transformation is not restricted to apparent or physical transformation but also includes cognitive transcendence.
Transformation in Western philosophy:
- This transformative notion of quality is well established in Western philosophy and can be found in the discussion of dialectical transforms in the works of Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and Marx.
- It is also at the heart of transcendental philosophies around the world, such as Buddhism and Jainism.
- More recently it has been entertainingly explored in Pirsig’s (1976) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
- This notion of quality such as transformative raises issues about the relevance of a product-centred notion of quality such as fitness for purpose.
- The measurement of value added, for example of input and output qualifications, provides a quantifiable indicator of ‘added value’ but conceals the nature of the qualitative transformation.
- The second element of transformative quality is empowerment (Harvey and Barrows, 1992).
- This involves giving power to participants to influence their own transformation. This is much more than the accountability to the consumer which is found in customer charters.
- Consumerist charters essentially keep producers and providers on their toes, but rarely affect the decision-making process or policy.
- The control remains with the producer or provider.
- Empowering the employee in order to capitalize on their knowledge and skill is a well-established strategy in the business world (Stratton, 1988).