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Dr Kaoru Ishikawa

1915 - 1989

Dr Kaoru Ishikawa, amongst other things, gave his name to the Ishikawa diagram. The Ishikawa diagram is also known as the “fishbone diagram” or “cause and effect diagram” and is a problem-solving tool used in Quality Circles.

Kaoru Ishikawa received many esteemed quality awards including the Deming Prize. He led the “Total Quality Control” movement with focus on statistical quality control techniques such as control charts and Pareto charts.

Quality Circles

Kaoru Ishikawa led the concept and use of Quality Circles. The intended purpose of a Quality Circle is to;

  • Support the improvement and development of the company
  • Respect human relations in the workplace and increase job satisfaction
  • Draw out employee potential

He believed quality must be company wide – including the product, service, management, the company itself and the people. Quality improvement must be company wide in order to be successful and sustainable.

Many, including Juran and Crosby, consider Kaoru Ishikawa’s teachings to be more successful in Japan than in the West. Quality circles are effective when management understand statistical quality management techniques and are committed to act on their recommendations.

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By Lyndsay Swinton
Owner, Management for the Rest of Us

Citation Information: Swinton, Lyndsay. "Dr Kaoru Ishikawa - Quality Circles." December 2004. < >.

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