Formal work groups result primarily from the organizing function of management. In other words group of people who report to a supervisor is a formal work group. The role of formal work group is very important in achieving quality and productivity at workplace. There are different team configurations that strive hard to achieve these objectives. One such use of formal work group is the quality circle, which originated in Japan. A quality circle is composed of a group of employees (usually 5 to 15 people) who are members of a single work unit, section, or department. The unit’s supervisor or manager is usually included as member of the quality circle. These employees have a common bond; they perform similar service or function by turning out a product, part of a product, or a service. Membership in a quality circle is almost always voluntary. The basic purpose of a quality circle is to discuss quality problems and to generate ideas that might help improve quality.
A quality circle usually begins by exposing the members to specialized training related to quality. Meetings of a quality circle are normally held once or twice per month and last for for one to two hours. After initial training, a quality circle begins by discussing specific quality problems that are brought up either by management representatives or by circle members. Staff expert may be called upon by circle as needed. As with other forms of participative management, the underlying objective of quality circles is to get employees actively involved.
The success of quality circle is largely dependent on the management team. Management’s commitment and support help create commitment and support from employees. Currently, the concept of quality circles is being used to provide continuous improvement in production and service quality within many organizations by the term, continuous improvement teams.
Source: Supervision: Key Link to Productivity, fifth edition by Leslie W. Rue and Lloyd L. Byars