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Defining Quality and Sustainability – Looking for Synergies
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management. Luleå Tekniska Universitet.
2013 (English)In: 16th QMOD−ICQSS Proceedings Quality Management and Organizational Development Conference 4th—6th September 2013 Portorož, Slovenia / [ed] Su Mi Dahlgaard-Park Jens J. Dahlgaard Boštjan Gomišček, 2013, 833-843 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]


Both quality and sustainability are frequently used and positively loaded words. On the overall level most people agree that we should both have quality and sustainability in the processes we are working with. Logically there should be synergies in improving quality and sustainability but there could also be conflicts. When assessing how well our processes are performing, it becomes more complicated to find a consensus since there are many and partly conflicting views and definitions on what quality and sustainability mean. What we cannot measure, we cannot improve and what we cannot define we cannot measure. 


This paper reviews definitions for quality, sustainability and sustainable development with the purpose of highlighting synergies. Definitions and measurement principles combing quality and sustainability are proposed.


Quality and sustainability are discussed and some working definitions are proposed. Garvin’s (1984) five approaches to define quality are applied on the working definitions for quality and sustainability. The approaches are reviewed and exemplified with some products to test the feasibility of the approach. The development of quality and sustainability is studied based on a chosen change process. The resulting categorisation of quality, sustainability, quality development, sustainability development and sustainability development are reviewed for identifying synergies. 


Findings indicate that there are more of synergies than differences and that it is possible to define an operational definition combining quality and sustainability that can be used for assessing and improving performance.


The results provide help for an operationalization of combined quality and sustainability performance.

Originality/Value of paper

The paper proposes a practical interpretation of how to work with quality and sustainability development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. 833-843 p.
Keyword [en]
Defining quality. Defining sustainability. Sustainable Development. Stakeholder. System.
National Category
Environmental Sciences Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in industrial engineering and management
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-213975ISBN: 978-961-232-269-4OAI: diva2:683722
16th QMOD−ICQSS; 4th—6th September 2013; Portorož, Slovenia
Available from: 2014-01-06 Created: 2014-01-06 Last updated: 2014-01-09Bibliographically approved

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