ASQ Influential Voices Contribution: Is Quality Training Part of the Equation?

In his August 5 View from the Q blog post, ASQ CEO, Paul Borawski, asks,  “Who [in your organization] encourages you to pursue professional training?” Paul quotes ASQ’s Global State of Quality research, which states “Organizations that govern quality with a centralized group are roughly 30 percent more likely to provide quality training to staff than organizations where a senior executive governs the quality process” (page 6). Having worked in various organizations I can attest to the fact that those with well-defined, operations quality groups did a far better job of providing quality training to its employees then those organizations where the quality function was decentralized.

Paul indicated he is encouraged by this research which suggests larger organizations do provide quality training. However, this research also shows that quality-related training is fairly narrow in scope and primarily administered only to those staff members directly involved in the quality process. To Paul’s point, “most of us get some training.” 

Does this reflect my experience with my current employer?

Let me preface my answer by stating that my primary employer is a state university. In this institution there is no centralized quality group.  In fact, I could ask 10 of my colleagues in academia if they could tell me who owns quality in the University or from where does quality radiate and I bet I would get a bunch of dumb looks followed by 10 different answers.  There is training, of course. We often have workshops or lunch & learns offered. Seldom is the training mandatory. Education is stressed, as you can imagine.  But never does anyone frame the training as “Quality” training.  But it is Quality training, nonetheless. I took my current position with the University hoping one day I would be in a position to make an organization-wide impact with regard to Quality at the University. I have been told by some very distinguished leaders in education that academia is a “slippery fish” and leading educators is like “herding cats.”  I believe this can change and Quality training will certainly be one small part of the equation. No doubt it will be a quadratic equation!

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