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Department of Marketing & Consumer Studies
COST*3010: Quality Management

COURSE OUTLINE (Winter 2006)

Professor Anne Wilcock
Office: MINS 220C
Ext: 53824

Office hours:
Professor Tom McKaig
Office: MINS B47
Ext: 58517


Office hours:

Teaching Assistants:

Donovan Cox
Office:  MINS 206

Ext: 58567
Wade Zhu
Office:  MINS 206

Ext: 58567



Calendar Description:

Lectures will include general concepts and expectations of quality assurance from consumer, government, managerial and technological points of view and discuss the relationship of national and international groups concerned with quality assurance.  Seminars will provide students with the opportunity to work with the concepts discussed in class.

Course Goals:

This course is an introduction to the vocabulary, management techniques, standards, and statistical methods that apply to quality assurance in modern product and service industries.  The central theme of the course is the great variety of strategies that can be used to meet consumer and government expectations of quality and reliability ("consumer satisfaction") in virtually all segments of the manufacturing, processing and service industries.

Teaching Strategy:

The core concepts of quality assurance are explained in a series of traditional lectures using examples from a variety of "real world" situations. Guest lectures and videos will supplement lectures.  The “seminar” component consists of discussion of a series of case studies which apply the tools of quality management.  A total of 5 cases will be discussed, with students deciding upon which two cases studies conferences/discussions they choose to be evaluated.

1. Cases

In this course, the seminars will be in the form of on-line discussions.  The seminars will be coordinated by a Teaching Assistant, who will monitor the discussions on a regular basis.

Students will be required to discuss case studies, which apply quality management tools to firms involved in various industries.  The case studies, along with specific questions which should be considered for discussion, will be made available on the course website.  A total of 5 cases will be discussed, with students deciding upon which two case study conferences/discussions they wish to be evaluated.  Note that one of these evaluated cases must be from before the Spring Break and the second after Spring Break.

Students will be divided into small discussion groups (6-8 each) for discussion/content communication throughout the course.  To find out which group you have been assigned to, access the "Study Groups" on the course website.  Your online participation and interactions with your group for required conference discussions will be monitored for both quantity and quality as follows:

Grading of Seminar Participation:

Participation is essential for engaging your input into the discussion of the case study of interest and how that study fits into the broader discussion of current issues in the area of quality management.  For this reason, the instructor will generally award higher grades for comments that show some depth of analysis of the topic, originality (not merely re-phrasing of what has been previously stated), and/or other relevant alternative perspectives.  More specifically, the participation grade will be determined based upon following grading scheme:

As noted above, students are permitted to choose for grading the two conference discussions (one prior to Spring Break and one following the Break) to which they believe that they made their most significant contribution.  It is the average of these grades which will form the basis of the ‘Case Study’ component of the final grade.  The form used to indicate which discussions are to be graded can be accessed through the Coursework page.  It must be emphasized however, that although student contributions to only two discussions will be marked, students are expected to actively participate in discussions each week.  All conferencing activities will be monitored.  Students who have not participated sufficiently in all case study discussions will have their mark adjusted to reflect this regardless of their performance in the fully graded case discussions.

Individual Submission to a Group Discussion

Grade (/10) that will be assigned

Quality provided insightful thought that incorporated the course material and relevant material.  Questions to others and follow-up answers to questions were excellent and demonstrated competence in the topic.

Quantity showed good judgment in the length of comments (usually less than half a screen) and appropriate number of comments (usually between two to three per case study, depending on circumstances)

Timing responded accordingly during the scheduled conference time.  Provided questions, responses or comment within a reasonable amount of time.

Etiquette/ Courtesy - respected other viewpoints, didn’t try to dominate the conference, encouraged thought and turn taking.   Participant supported or challenged thoughts in an appropriate fashion.

Added Value provided new material or critical insight or demonstrated reflective thought when necessary.

8 – 10

Participation was good, but comments were insufficient in one or two of the above areas.

4 – 7

Participation was not acceptable or insufficient and/or responses lacked in more than two of the above areas.

0 – 3

2. Statistical Process Control:

Statistical Process Control (SPC) is a method for monitoring, controlling, and improving processes through statistical analysis.  Although full coverage of this topic is well beyond the scope of this course, students will be introduced to this topic and expected to demonstrate how SPC control charts are designed, constructed, and interpreted.  There will be two assignments, each weighted at 10% of the final grade, on statistical process control.


The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the theory and practice of quality management and to demonstrate the important role that quality considerations have in successful business operations.  While an effort has been made to include as many ‘real-life’ examples as possible in the course material, there is no substitute for personal experience.  To that end, it is the objective of the term project to provide you with practical experience into how the topics covered in this course are interpreted, implemented, and maintained in organizations.

Working in groups of about 5 students, your assignment is to write a report which describes your observations, assessment and recommendations to improve the quality management practices of one unit of an organization.  To do this, you are to select an organization and arrange to interview and observe employees in their work.  Material from the course should be used to guide the design of the investigation and to shape your recommendations. 


You must provide the organization with which you work a copy of your final report if it so wishes.  In this way, there will also be benefit to the organization that agrees to act as your host for this project. 


Suggestions for organization choice:

While it is up to you to find an organization upon which to base your research, this task is not as daunting as it may first seem.  Provided below are some suggestions which may be useful to help you narrow your options:

  • You are strongly encouraged to choose an organization in an industry in which you have some experience or are particularly interested.  The organizational unit you select as your host may be purchasing, distribution, sales, marketing, customer service, financial services, public relations, human resources, etc.  As you will learn, attention to the quality considerations of all units is critical to the overall success of a company.
  • Consider choosing an organization with which you presently/have previously worked or volunteered. Alternatively, you might consider choosing a company you are interested in working for or learning more about.
  • Don’t limit yourself to private companies but rather consider also government departments/agencies, third sector (not-for-profit or non-governmental) organizations.
  • In most instances, it will be most useful to you and your host if you choose a small or medium sized organization.  You are likely to have more access to individuals and information which will be useful, and the company is likely to benefit from your final report.  

The final product:
As quality is not measured by volume, there is no specified length to this term assignment.  You should let the relative weight of this assignment serve as your guide.


The final product should have the feel of a company case study.  Your submission should include a Cover Page, a Table of Contents, and an Executive Summary.  An Appendix should also be included at the end of the report which contains: (1) details of each interview conducted (name and position of interviewee, location and date of interview); (2) a copy of the interview questions asked; and (3) a summary of the responses provided.


Issues to consider

The list below is a description of some of the issues you will want to consider as you start your project.  These points are intended to provide only a starting point for your work and are not to be interpreted as a comprehensive list of quality-related considerations.

§         What is the company’s philosophy regarding quality?  What are the organization’s quality practices?  How well aligned are the philosophy and practices of the organization?

§         What is the relationship between the unit you have chosen and other organizational units?

§         What quality programs have been implemented in the unit?  Understand the reasons underlying the selection of these programs.  Be thorough – include consideration of the who, what, where, when, why and how of the introduction of each program.

§         What type of quality programs does the unit use?  Formal external programs such those covered in the course?  Program(s) developed by the company or unit?  If the company is using its own program, how was this developed?

§         Are these programs implemented throughout the organization or in specific units?  If the organization has more than one location, does each location make its own quality decision or are decisions made by a head or regional office?

§         What quality-related regulations must the unit and/or organization adhere to?

§         How well understood and documented are the quality procedures?  When asked, do all staff describe the same procedure for a given task?

§         How realistic is it for organizations to implement and maintain quality programs?   What is the general sentiment of employees towards quality programs and quality initiatives?

§         What practices are used by the organization to involve its people in its quality initiatives?

Compliance with Human Subjects Requirements:

This research project is subject to the University of Guelph’s Human Subjects Regulations.  To comply with these regulations it is important that your research conforms to the following requirements:

  1. Research participants must be drawn from the general population, be capable of giving free and informed consent, and may not include vulnerable participants such as children; persons who re not legally competent to consent; mentally incompetent persons; legal wards or persons dependent upon the researcher for therapeutic care.
  2. Your project must not involve any personal, sensitive, or incriminating topics or questions which could place participants at risk.
  3. Your project must not manipulate behavior of participants beyond the range of ‘normal’ daily life.
  4. Your project must not involve physically invasive contact with the research participants.
  5. Your project must not involve deception.

As part of the Project Proposal Form, you will be required to indicate that you have read and agree to comply with these regulations.   For further information concerning the University of Guelph’s Human Subject policies, you are encouraged to visit their website at:

Project Timeline

The following deadlines have been established to ensure your progress through this project:


Proposal – Monday January 30th

Your project choice must be submitted prior to the start of your research.  Final approvals rest with, and are at the discretion of the course instruction team.  Only one group of students may work with a single unit of an organization; if more than one request is received, the first request received will be the one which is granted approval. 


Details of your project plans are to be submitted by the deadline using the Project Proposal Form.  You are strongly encouraged, however, to submit this form prior to the deadline in order to have as much time and flexibility as possible for completing this assignment.  You will be notified as soon as your project has been approved and you will then be permitted to proceed with your data collection.


Confidentiality Agreement and Consent Form – Wednesday February 8th

As this assignment requires that you interact with individuals outside of the university environment there are a number of guidelines which must be adhered to.  Among these, is the requirement that you ensure that you collect and maintained in a confidential manner, and that the workplace in which you conduct your research is aware and in full agreement with the requirements of this assignment.  To this end, a form must be completed which verifies your awareness and agreement to adhere to these requirements.  This form must be completed and submitted by February 8th


Interview Questions – Wednesday March 1st

During the data collection phase of this project you will are required to conduct a small number of interviews with employees of your host organization.  Again in compliance with university regulations, the questions which you anticipate asking as part of these interviews must be approved by the course instruction team.  As this approval is required prior to conducting any interviews, you are strongly encouraged to submit your questions well in advance of the deadline in order that you have as much time and flexibility as possible for completing this assignment.  As with your project proposal, notice will be sent to you once your questions have been approved; it is only after such approval has been granted that you may commence your data collection.


It is understood that as part of the depth-interview process topics may arise which were not previously anticipated and which you, as the interviewer may want follow up on.   If the topic is related to that which you have previously gained approval, and you adhere to the guidelines listed under the heading ‘Compliance with Human Subjects Requirements’ (above) you may investigate that topic during the interview.  In such instances, you are required only to summarize the questions you asked and the responses received in the Appendix of your final report.  Should the topic or required line of questioning differ substantially from that which was originally approved, submit a list of supplementary questions to the course instruction team for their approval. 


Final Paper – Thursday April 6th

Your term project is worth 30% of your final grade.  Grades for assignments received after the deadline noted above will be adjusted as described elsewhere in the course outline.  Peer evaluations must be submitted with all project assignments.


Behavioural Objectives:

At the end of the course, you will be able to:

1.         Correctly use the vocabulary of quality assurance/management.

2.         Differentiate the terms business excellence, quality management, quality assurance, quality control, reliability and maintainability and also understand their interrelationships.

3.         Discuss the importance of standardization at local, national and international levels, and consumer involvement in standardization.

4.         Explain the basic concepts of service quality.

5.         Evaluate the impact of consumer and government insistence on quality in manufacturing, processing and service industries.

6.         Explain the strategies used by organizations in order to achieve continual improvement.

Textbook (required):

Evans, J.R. and Lindsay, W.M., The Management and Control of Quality, 6th edition, South-Western Publishing (Thomson Learning), 2005.

Use of WebCT:
In this course, case discussions will occur on WebCT.  Notices will be posted on line, but Powerpoint slides used in lectures may not be made available.  Grades will be posted on WebCT as they are available, so you are encouraged to consult the course site regularly throughout the semester.  At the end of the semester, course evaluations will also be available on line.

Method of Evaluation:

            Seminar (Cases & case discussions)                                                      20%1
(Identify cases to be graded by Feb 6 and April 5)

           Statistical Process Control Assignments                                                  20%1
(Due Feb. 15 and March 15)
            Term Project                                                                                        30%1
            (Due April 6)
           Final exam                                                                                             30%
                                             Total                                                                 100%

1 The ability to meet course deadlines is a reflection of quality.  Hence, the following late policy will be strictly enforced.  Marks will be deducted from all assignments submitted without acceptable documentation after the due date. 10% of the assignment grade will be deducted for each class day that an assignment is late, 15% for each weekend or part thereof.

Lecture Schedule

Date                                        Topic                                                                          Readings1                                                 

 Jan. 9-13                                  History/importance of quality                                         pp. 1-31

 Jan. 16-20                                Quality in manufacturing & services                               pp. 49-65; 72-77

Jan. 23-27                                Quality philosophies: Deming, Juran & Crosby  pp. 91-110

Jan. 30-Feb. 3                          Customers & customer satisfaction                                pp. 151-182  

Feb. 6-10                                 Leadership & human resource management                   pp. 203-232; 253-293    

Feb. 13-17                               Basic statistical tests & quality improvement                  pp. 515-526; 687-748 

Feb. 20-24                               SPRING BREAK

Feb. 27-March 3                      Process management & performance measurement        pp. 313-352 

March 6-10                              Process management & performance measurement        pp. 371-408  

March 13-17                            Building & sustaining a total quality organization pp. 431-459  

March  20-24                           Quality regulations, standards & awards                        pp. 113-136  

March  27-31                           Quality regulations, standards & awards                        *

April 3-7                                  Beyond Total Quality    Organizations                            *


* Additional readings will be assigned throughout the semester.

Students are responsible for, and expected to attend, all scheduled lectures and seminars.

University Regulations and Procedures:

Students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with all aspects of Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures.  Particular attention should be paid to the section on Academic Misconduct, and procedures for dropping and adding courses.

University Grading Scheme:

This course follows the University grading scheme outlined in the University Calendar*:



Excellent:  An outstanding performance in which the student demonstrates a superior grasp of the subject matter, and an ability to go beyond the given material in a critical and constructive manner. The student demonstrates a high degree of creative and/or logical thinking, a superior ability to organize, to analyze, and to integrate ideas, and a thorough familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.







Good: A more than adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a thorough grasp of the subject matter, and an ability to organize and examine the material in a critical and constructive manner. The student demonstrates a good understanding of the relevant issues and a familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.







Acceptable: An adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a generally adequate grasp of the subject matter and a moderate ability to examine the material in a critical and constructive manner. The student displays an adequate understanding of the relevant issues, and a general familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.







Minimally acceptable: A barely adequate performance in which the student demonstrates a familiarity with the subject matter, but whose attempts to examine the material in a critical and constructive manner are only partially successful. The student displays some understanding of the relevant issues, and some familiarity with the appropriate literature and techniques.







Fail: An inadequate performance.





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