Use of Quality Control Circles in the Federal Government

FPCD-81-31: Published: Jan 7, 1981. Publicly Released: Jan 7, 1981.

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Quality control (QC) circles are small groups of employees led by their first-level supervisor who meet on a volunteer basis to identify, analyze, and resolve job-related problems. A survey was performed on the use of QC circles in the Federal Government.

The use of QC circles is growing rapidly throughout the Federal sector. However, participating agencies are not routinely establishing systematic methods to evaluate their programs. QC program coordinators have only a limited knowledge of other Federal QC circle programs and cannot benefit from lessons learned elsewhere. In addition, existing training materials on QC circles are structured to private enterprise and are not well suited to the aspects of Federal agency activities. GAO believes that the implementation and expansion of any major productivity initiative should be part of a Government-wide strategy to guide its development. Therefore, there is a need for greater involvement by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in assuring that there is a guiding strategy behind this program expansion. OPM should consider speeding the completion of an existing research contract on Federal QC circles. It should also consider developing training materials that will fit Government operations, and improving the dissemination of the lessons learned in the private and Federal sectors to potential QC circles.

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