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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quality Audit

Quality audits are typically performed at predefined time intervals and ensure that the institution has clearly-defined internal quality monitoring procedures linked to effective action. This can help determine if the organization complies with the defined quality system processes and can involve procedural or results-based assessment criteria.
Several countries have adopted quality audits in their higher education system (New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Norway and USA) Initiated in the UK, the process of quality audit in the education system focused primarily on procedural issues rather than on the results or the efficiency of a quality system implementation.
The processes and tasks that a quality audit involves can be managed using a wide variety of software and self-assessment tools. Some of these relate specifically to quality in terms of fitness for purpose and conformance to standards, while others relate to Quality costs or, more accurately, to the Cost of poor quality. In analyzing quality costs, a cost of quality audit can be applied across any organization rather than just to conventional production or assembly processes.
An evaluator can use the six steps below to do the audit for a specific organization, group, committee, task force, etc.

1. Look at the organization (group, committee, task force, etc.)
Assess the mission and goals of the organization, what it is supposed to produce, and the overriding principles by which it operates.
2. Examine the jobs
Examine each job in the organization. Ask whether the job is necessary, whether it makes full use of the employee’s capabilities, and whether it is important in accomplishing the mission and goals of the organization.
3. Assess employees’ performance
Evaluate each employee’s performance in relation to the organization’s mission and goals. For each job being performed, ask if the employee is doing what should be done, is using his or her skills effectively, likes his or her job, and has enthusiasm and interest in performing the job.
4. Evaluate how employees feel about their manager or leader
Good organizational climate requires good leadership. Determine whether each employee within the group likes his or her manager, whether they follow or ignore the requests of their manager, and whether they attempt to protect their manager (i.e., make their manager look good).
5. Create a dialog with the members of the group
Interact with each employee asking a series of hypothetical questions to identify the employee's true feelings toward the organization. Questions such as, “do you feel theorganization supports your suggestions”, can help draw out the true feelings of each employee.
6. Rate organizational climate
Based on the responses to steps 1-5, evaluate the climate on the following five-point scale:
Ideal (5 points)
A fully cooperative environment in which managers and staff work as a team to
accomplish the mission.
Good (4 points)
Some concerns about the health of the climate, but overall it is cooperative and
Average (3 points)
The organizational climate is one of accomplishing the organization's mission and
goals, but no more.
Below average (2 points)
The individuals are more concerned about their individual performance, development, and promotion than accomplishing the organization’s mission.
Poor (1 point)
There is open hostility in the group and a non-cooperative attitude. As a result, the
mission and goals are typically not met.

A negative climate of three points or less often results from individuals having too much responsibility without the authority to fulfill those responsibilities, or management’s failure to recognize the abilities of the employees. Negative organizational climates can be improved with the following:
Develop within the organization a shared vision of what needs to be changed. Get feedback from the employees, and through discussion and compromise agree upon the mission and goals for the organization.
Change the organization's procedures, as the climate rarely improves without procedural changes. Develop a plan for accomplishing the organization's mission that is understood and acceptable to its members. This is normally accomplished if the members help develop the plan.

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