Spirit of change : a quest for the heart of quality

Garrod, Jean Pearl

April 2001

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© 2001 Jean Pearl Garrod. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Why do quality initiatives work in some organisations but not in others? In a quest to discover the heart of quality, this thesis sets change programmes within the context of a turbulent global environment, where learning to adapt is the key to survival. The research explores how individuals, organisations and government use learning to promote change, as well as respond to it. Two case studies demonstrate how management style can influence learning, and hence the changes needed to achieve 'real' quality.

Seeking to achieve quality through systems and procedures provides only nominal quality. This research suggests that, for some people at least, work is used for self-fulfilment, and in the quest for 'real' quality, aspirations for self-fulfilment within the workplace must be addressed. By using the metaphor of 'work as part of the heroic quest' for self-fulfilment, links are made between Maslow's concept of self-actualisation and the new literature on organizational 'soul' and spiritual intelligence.

The conclusion is that if 'real' quality is the goal, self-fulfilment is the path. By establishing a community of learners in the workplace, tremendous energy - the spirit of change - is released and that energy leads straight to the heart of quality.

Institute for Learning, The University of Hull
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