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Joseph Juran's Theory & Definition of Quality

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Taught by

Shawn Grimsley

Joseph Juran made very significant contributions to the importance of quality control in all aspects of production. In this lesson, you'll learn a little bit about Juran, and his definition and theory of quality. A short quiz follows.


Quality, according to Juran, means that a product meets customer needs leading to customer satisfaction, and quality also means all the activities in which a business engages in to ensure that the product meets customer needs. You can think of this second aspect of quality as quality control - ensuring a quality manufacturing process.

Joseph Juran

Joseph Juran (1904- 2008) was born in Eastern Europe and immigrated to Minnesota in 1912. He was trained as an electrical engineer and worked for Western Electric. He became a quality manager at Western Electric and eventually left to work for AT&T. Juran published Quality Control Handbook in 1951.

Interestingly, he was more influential in Japan than in the United States at first. He visited Japan in 1953 and observed Japanese business practices. He helped train their managers and engineers in 'managing for quality.' Japan eventually awarded Juran the Second Class Order of Sacred Treasure. In the 1980s, the market started to realize the quality in Japanese products due, at least in part, to Juran's techniques and Juran's work became very influential

Theory of Quality

Juran takes a holistic approach to quality and his concept of quality revolves around what is called a quality trilogy. Let's take a look at each part of this trilogy.

Quality planning. Here, you are identifying your customers and their needs. You also are designing the goods and services that meet those needs as well as establishing quality and costs goals.

Quality control. This is the part of quality process where you set the quality standards, which involves identifying the elements of quality and determining how to measure them. Here, you want to make sure that you clearly define what quality is for each product and develop a way to effectively compare the products produced against the quality standard. In other words, you are comparing actual performance against the quality goals.

Quality improvement. Quality is a journey, not a destination. You will want to continually monitor production and identify areas in the production process that can improve not only the quality of the product but the quality of the process used to make the product.


Joseph Juran made important contributions to quality management. Juran was formally trained as an engineer and worked for Western Electric and eventually AT&T. In 1951, he published Quality Control Handbook. His approach to quality first took off in Japan and then became popular in the West in the 1980s. He took a holistic approach to quality that revolves around a quality trilogy consisting of quality planning, quality control and quality improvement.

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