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The story of product quality and its present day meaning

Mahajan, Deepti; Cooper, Tim; Smith, David

FG Transdisziplinäre Nachhaltigkeitsforschung in der Elektronik

An increase in the uptake of longer lasting products will be more likely if consumers associate longevity with quality, but this relationship has rarely been addressed by academics. To increase understanding in this area, this study explores how companies interpret and implement the concept of product quality. A literature review is used to provide a conceptual analysis of product quality and its evolution in management thinking. To explain the current notion of the concept, the paper discusses initial findings from interviews with informants in companies producing durable consumer goods. An argument is proposed that ideas of product quality have expanded to include aspects such as branding and marketing, and consequently there may be a need to revisit the concept in the light of these new developments. Furthermore, the paper’s purpose is to distinguish the concept of product quality from the quality of processes that build up a product’s quality, and to review the dimensions of product quality. Discussion on quality has evolved from a focus on production processes and employee training to customer satisfaction and delivering value. The paper also captures the influential role of marketing in incorporating the quality of products offered by companies and proposes a definition of product quality that forms a stance through which the concept can be studied further.