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The Impact of knowledge on quality

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By focusing on culture and tools, the literature creates a chicken-and-egg question for empirical researchers studying quality improvement efforts, since the long term use of quality tools is essential for creating a quality culture and a quality culture is needed for effective use of quality tools. We deal with this problem by studying the nature of knowledge used to improve quality. We use Principal Component Analysis to analyze the output of 37 tightly structured projects undertaken by one European firm during the 1980s. We identify four talent characteristics of the output : experience knowledge, formal knowledge, domain knowledge and complexity. We show that these dimensions also describe the output of 15 less structured projects. Regression analysis of the impact of these dimensions on two project level performance indicators shows that the importance of formal knowledge increases as projects become less structured

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