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Q - S



The concept of the ongoing match of products and services to a need with the customer defining the characteristics for matching.

Quality as a Business Strategy


An approach to make the concepts and methods of quality integral to the function of the organization. The aim of this strategy is to enable the organization to produce products and services that will be in demand and to provide a place where people can enjoy and take pride in their work. The foundation for this strategy is ongoing matching of products and services to a need and viewing the organization as a system.



(or measure of quality) a trait, preferably measurable, of an input or an outcome of a process, or a measure of the performance of a process. They provide measures of the success of the improvement activity. Examples included dimensions, color, taste, shelf life, timeliness, completeness, cost, or grade.


Quality Circle


A small group of people doing similar work and meeting regularly to identify, analyze, and solve problems and improve quality in its work area. This is also called an Employee Involvement Team.


Quality Function Deployment (QFD)


A tool for relating quality characteristics to controllable factors within the organization.

Quality Management


An approach that incorporates the concepts and methods of quality into the planning, directing, and controlling of an organization.


Radar Chart


Sometimes called a spider graph, presents information on more than one variable. The different variables emanate from a common origin and are evenly spaced in a polygon.


Reactive Change


Reactive changes can be characterized by the following attributes:
– Solve problems or react
– Return the system to prior condition
– Tradeoff among measures; increasing quality while increasing costs.
– Short-term impact



An available supply of manpower and budget that can be drawn upon when needed. People and time are the main resources under consideration in planning for improvement.


Response Plot

A method for showing the effects, including interactions, of two factors on a response variable.

Rules for Special Causes

A single point outside the control limits.

  • A run of eight or more points in a row above (or below) the centerline.

  • Six consecutive points increasing (trend up) or decreasing (trend down).

  • Two out of three consecutive points near (outer one-third) a control limit.

  • Fifteen consecutive points close (inner one-third of the chart) to the centerline.

Run Chart

A graphical record of a quality characteristic measured over time. That is, a measure of quality from a work process plotted on a graphso its variation can be studied and improvements made in the process.

Scatter Plot

A tool for showing relationships between two variables. Pairs of data are plotted together on scales set at right angles to each other.


An intangible outcome of a process or system performed for a customer.

Seven Value Drives

There are seven types of innate drives that through socialization become our emotionally charged needs and values, which Maccoby has called value drives: survival, relatedness, mastery, information, play, dignity, meaning.

Shared Identity

An effective leader recognizes the importance of creating a shared identity that not only communicates a philosophy with a purpose that inspires people, but that leader also describes and practices the values essential to achieve that purpose. These values, such as quality care, efficiency, collaboration, will connect with the values of people in the organization.

Sigma (σ)

A symbol used to indicate the process standard deviation.

Single & Double Loop Learning

Single loop learning occurs when the results of our practice don’t fit the theory and we interpret this as a need to change or fine tune our practice. An example would be a physician making a diagnosis, and finding that the indicated treatment did not produce the expected result. The physician does not question the theory in single loop learning, but assumes that he or she didn’t perform the treatment correctly. With double loop learning, the physician questions the diagnosis and treatment and is open to new information that can lead to changing the underlying theory and assumptions.

Social Character

That part of a person’s value drives and personality shared with others born in the same era and culture. The social character adapts people to survive economically and emotionally in that culture. Fromm’s concept expanded Freud’s largely intra-psychic model of personality, and Maccoby applied it to the shift from the bureaucratic to interactive social character now occurring in society and organizations.

SPC (Statistical Process Control)

Usually philosophy and a set of methods for improvement with its foundation in the theory of variation. SPC incorporates the concepts of an analytic study, process thinking, prevention, stratification, stability, capability, and prediction. Tools such as run charts, control charts (also run charts), flow diagrams, histograms, Pareto charts, scatter-plots, and cause and effect diagrams are typically associated with SPC. Kaoru Ishikawa, at the time an associate professor at the University of Tokyo called these the Seven Basic Tools of Quality Control.

Special Cause

Those causes not part of the process (or system) all the time or do not affect everyone, but arise because of specific circumstances. The elimination of special causes allows a system to become a predictable and stable system.

Spider Graph

see radar chart.

Sponsor Report

A one-page report used by the team or individual making an improvement to communicate to the sponsor. The sponsor of the improvement project is kept in the communication loop by receiving regular updates on the sponsor report.


A system is stable when it has only common causes affecting the outcomes, or it is in a state of statistical control. A stable process implies only that the variation is predictable from the data displayed on a control chart.


A person or group that has a stake in an organization. Stakeholders include the community, employees, professional associations, unions, Boards, and governments, among others.

Standard Deviation

A statistical measure of variation in data which can be used instead of the range.

Stem and Leaf Chart

A variant of the histogram in which the scale is placed vertically on the left and the data is entered to the right.

Strategic intelligence

A type of intelligence, or understanding, first described by Michael Maccoby. It is a conceptual system consisting of foresight, visioning (with systems thinking and idealized design), motivating, and partnering. Each of these elements is interdependent with the others. Like any type of intelligence there is a genetic basis or inherent talent at birth. No matter the extent of this inherent gift, it can be developed to some extent through learning and practice. A leader’s effectiveness in applying strategic intelligence is affected by his or
her leadership philosophy, personality intelligence, and analytical, creative, and practical intelligences. Strategic Intelligence is strengthened by Profound Knowledge.

Strategic leader

A person who is followed because he or she defines purpose and vision, aligning people, processes, and practical values so they support and further the organization’s purpose. While effective strategic leaders may not have all the qualities of strategic intelligence, they partner with others so that these qualities exist among members of their leadership team. A strategic leader can be at any level of an organization. Ideally, the top executives are strategic leaders.


The separation and classification of data according to selected variables or factors. The objective is to find patterns that help in understanding the causal mechanisms in a process.


The practice of attempting to optimize the various parts of the system resulting in a poorer performance of the system as a whole.

Support Process

Those processes that are necessary to support the mainstay and driver processes in the organization viewed as a system. Examples typically include accounting processes, maintenance, hiring, traveling and scheduling.


Definition of a system with the Four Ps as a foundation: a collection of interdependent processes and other elements with people working interactively guided by practical values to accomplish the purpose of the system.

Systems Map

The graphic depiction of the levels of the organization that shows the linkage of processes for the whole organization. These maps typically include three types of processes; mainstay (delivery system to the customer), support and driver processes.

Systems Thinking

The ability to understand the dynamics between the parts of a system and aligning them so they interact to achieve the system’s purpose; using systems thinking principles such as system boundaries, bottlenecks, constraints, leverage and appreciating that all work is a process.

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