Understanding quality – conceptualization of the fundamental concepts of quality

Juhani Anttila, Kari Jussila*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to challenge bridging the gap between the problems of the existing quality profession and the existing and emerging challenges of quality with regard to people, organizations and societies, hence broadening the traditional coverage of quality from the organizations to these three hierarchial societal levels. Design/methodology/approach: Through professional involvement with researching, developing and practicing quality principles, methodologies and solutions in practice for decades, the authors became convinced that the prevailing conceptual thinking of quality is not based on the valid scientific basis and contains the problem of superficiality. Hence also the practical quality applications are fragmented and vague. As a reaction to the situation, the authors clarify the conceptual essence of quality, its historical background and usage in today’s everyday and professional contexts. Findings: In this article, the authors present a solid scientific baseline for the ontological fundamentals of the quality discipline, on which also the epistemological pondering can be built, hence establishing the robust foundation for the practical quality management applications. Originality/value: This conceptual article is an original research and review paper, contributing to the revival process of the quality profession in its entirety, including quality research, education and practices. The study is based on the authors’ multidisciplinary experience, theoretical reflecting and recognized references.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-268
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Service Sciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Conceptualization
  • Quality
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality improvement
  • Quality management
  • Scientific approach


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