The impact of quality circles on employee work behaviors: a cross-organizational study

Buch, Kimberly
Major Professor
Wilbur L. Layton
Committee Member
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The primary goal of this study was to investigate the impact of quality circle (QC) participation on employee work behaviors. Four behavioral outcomes were examined: absenteeism, turnover, productivity, and grievance rates. It was hypothesized that QC participation would have a positive impact on these four variables;A nonequivalent control group design was used to test these hypotheses. Measures of each variable were obtained from organizational records prior to QC implementation and again one year later. Two hundred and fifty members from four Midwestern organizations comprised the treatment group; 221 noncircle employees from the same work groups served as controls;A second goal of the study was a methodological one: to acknowledge the nonindependence of employees within the same work groups. The design, therefore, nested individuals within work groups. Previous studies have failed to consider the issue of nonindependence. The third goal of the study was to utilize a cross-organizational sample, providing the advantage of a larger, more reliable data base and allowing comparisons to be made across organizations;Data analysis was conducted in two phases: Phase 1 treated each organization independently and Phase 2 combined results across organizations. During the first phase, repeated measures analysis of variance was used to analyze all variables for which individual level data were available (absenteeism, performance ratings, grievances). Results of these analyses found no significant (p <.05) effects due to quality circles for the absenteeism variable. Supervisory ratings of work quality were significantly (p <.05) affected by circles, while work quantity ratings were not significantly improved. Significant results were also obtained for the grievances variable;During Phase 2 a chi-square test where x[superscript]2[subscript] 2,k = 2[sigma](-1nP), was used to aggregate the absenteeism results across all four organizations. This test allowed an over-all probability statement, which was significant at p <.05. Overall, the study offered mixed support regarding quality circles' ability to improve employee work behaviors.