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Ishikawa Research Paper

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Ishikawa Research Paper

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Background 1 Ishikawa Philosophy 1 Conclusion 3 Works Cited 4


This paper is geared towards outlining the primary Total Quality Management principles promoted by Kaoru Ishikawa. Most of these TQM strategies are aimed at improving the quality management process in the modern (post World War II) workplace. This paper will highlight the contributions and the positive impact that Kaoru Ishikawa made on the Japanese quality movement and towards the overall TQM process.


Born in 1915, Ishikawa was raised in Tokyo, Japan where he later when on to attend the University of Tokyo in the 1930’s and after a brief stint in the Japanese Navy, he became a Professor of Engineering at that same university in the late 1940’s. By the early 1960’s, he held an executive position at the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE). During his lifetime Ishikawa received various awards and wrote numerous articles and over 30 books. However his two most significant literary works are: “Guide to Quality Control” which was released in 1976. And his second and most notable book “What is Quality Control: The Japanese Way” was released in 1985. Ishikawa continued his contributions to the Total Quality Management philosophy until his death in 1989.

Ishikawa Philosophy

“Throughout his career, Ishikawa worked on very practical matters, but always within a larger philosophical framework. In its broadest sense, Ishikawa's work was intended to produce what he called a ‘thought revolution’ new ideas about quality that could revitalize industry.” (American Society for Quality (ASQ)) Ishikawa focused on utilizing statistical data such as Pareto charts and histograms when working with various organizations / industries. Ishikawa’s focus was on company-wide quality. “Ishikawa built on Feigenbaum’s concept of total quality and suggested that all employees have a greater role to play, arguing that an over-reliance on the quality professional would limit the potential for improvement.” (Quality Gurus, 2010) Thus, Ishikawa was focused on the contributions of the organization as a whole and believed that the overall quality buy-in required involvement from all levels of the organization (senior management down to the entry-level worker). Other key elements of Ishikawa’s philosophy are as follows: 1. Quality begins with education and ends with education. 2. The first step in quality is to know the requirements of customers. 3. The ideal state of quality control occurs when inspection is no longer necessary. 4. Remove the root cause, not the symptoms. 5. Quality control is the responsibility of all workers and all divisions. 6. Do not confuse the means with the objectives. 7. Put quality first and set your sights on long-term profits. 8. Marketing is the entrance and exit of quality. 9. Top management must not show anger when facts are presented by subordinates. 10. Ninety-five percent of problems in a company can be solved with simple tools for analysis and problem solving. 11. Data without dispersion information (i.e., variability) are false data. (Evan, Lindsay, 2010)
In his book Guide to Quality Control, Ishikawa defined the following seven basic tools: 1. Check sheet 2. Graph 3. Histogram 4. Pareto chart 5. Scatter diagram 6. Control chart 7. Cause and effect diagram (Ishikawa, Kaoru 1976)

These tools / diagrams / visuals were intended to be visual aids which could transcend various cultures and languages and help to identify the root causes of quality issues within an organization garnered such names in the industry as an Ishikawa diagram or a Fishbone diagram. As a result of these efforts, Ishikawa was given various awards during his career. Most notably: the Deming prize for his contributions in quality control. He was also awarded the industrial standardization prize for his contributions in improving quality control. His final prize was the American Society for Quality Control Grant award for his education programs on quality control and management techniques.


Ishikawa’s enormous influence on quality is often unrecognized simply because his contributions have become so ingrained that they seem a natural part of things. He brought customers into the quality equation, redirecting focus to them rather than the methods of production.” (Rose, 2005) Ishikawa's Total Quality Management principles have helped to remove the barriers to effective quality management in the business environment. As a processional effect, his Total Quality Management techniques have resulted in a quantifiable reduction in waste, increased team cohesiveness, and improved product reliability. Most notably, Ishikawa brought an industry focus on training, customers, as well as getting the employee completely involved in the total quality process.

Works Cited

Evans, Lindsay. (2010) Managing for Quality and Performance Excellence, 8th Edition. South Western Educational Publishing.

Ishikawa, Kaoru. (1976) Guide to Quality Control. Asian Productivity Organization

Rose, Kenneth H. (2005) Project Quality Management: Why, What and How. J. Ross Publishing.

Kumar, Sandeep. “List of Gurus.” Retrieved January 22, 2013 from:

American Society for Quality. “Kaoru Ishikawa, Developing a Specifically Japanese Quality” Strategy"” Retrieved January 23, 2013 from:

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