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Production management -- Quality control, Quality assurance


In many business sectors today, focus on quality as a competitive tool is being replaced by a focus on innovation. Research exploring connections between quality management, innovation, and company performance suggests that quality is ‘necessary but insufficient’ in business today. In short, managers need to know how to adapt their quality management practices to achieve innovation performance in addition to quality performance. West coast U.S. forest products manufacturers were surveyed about their quality management practices and performance with respect to both quality and innovation. Results were analyzed to identify two categories of high-performing firms: those achieving primarily quality outcomes and those achieving both quality and innovation outcomes. Executives from firms in each category were interviewed to provide detail on management practices. Results suggest firms must first change how they view innovation; firms that were primarily focused on quality rather than innovation viewed innovation as an end rather than the means to some other business goal. The most significant finding is related to how firms interact with customers – firms focused on innovation proactively seek to identify and meet customers’ needs whereas quality-focused firms primarily emphasize reacting to customer complaints. Findings suggest several areas where managers can focus to improve innovation performance.


This is an author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by Taylor & Francis and can be found at:



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