The power of quality models: The example of the SIQ model for performance excellence

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Journal Article
Scandinavian Journal of Management, 2007, 23 (4), pp. 445 - 462
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Most contemporary total quality management (TQM) practice is influenced, directly or indirectly, by structured, acontextual and standardized quality models. The present paper focuses on the strategic introduction of one such model, namely the Swedish Institute for Quality (SIQ) model for performance excellence, in a Swedish public-sector organization, which we refer to as 'the Authority.' We take our theoretical stance from Foucault's concept of 'power/knowledge.' In describing the case, we focus on the management team of one of the Authority's ten regions. Our analysis shows the members of the management team using the SIQ model to objectify both the organization and themselves as managers. However, contrary to many critical or managerial accounts, the SIQ model was not totalizing: management subjectivities changed but were not entirely reconstituted, and some resistance to them was generated by the members of the management team, in their role as professionals
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