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Quality Control and Continuous Education: Providing Tools for Contractors to Make Ethical Decisions

By Julie E McDonald


Quality Control is a developing field in the building construction industry and successful quality control management relies on the ethical decision-making abilities of the inspectors. Research has identified a connection between personality types and the rationale for decision-making based on their type. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a commonly used personality inventory, identifies personality preferences and how people relate to their environment and situations. In relation to construction projects, poor decision-making and clashing personality types in the field result in unsafe work and low quality of the final product. Companies like DPR Construction Inc., which have a goal of zero defects (Dolezalek, 2003), rely on training and education to develop personnel. When training and education aren’t enough, evaluating personality clashes in the organization can clarify how and why negative results and poor decision-making are occurring. Research by Culp (2001), Giritli (August 2008), Kuprenas (February 20, 2000), and Futrell (1985), examine personality types in management personnel, career fields, and overall desired outcomes for recruiting successful individuals to a firm. Their findings contribute to the idea that one personality preference over another will be successful in the construction industry and contribute to producing quality work can be attributed to the individual’s sound ethical decision-making abilities. Research has shown a lack of publicly available training programs specific to quality control in the industry as compared with safety programs. Quality control is also not given the same attention at the collegiate level as safety nor does it have the same comparable regulating organizations as safety. In addition to few training programs, training that does exist on the jobsite level is conducted by superintendents who, despite their years of solid field experience, do not have a complete focus on quality since they are also responsible for safety and scheduling among other activities. In addition to the need for formalized quality control training programs as an option to increase efficiency and quality on the jobsite, there is a cost savings element that contractors can realize through continuous education. Despite an upfront cost of training, training can help reduce the number of repetitive punchlist items and strengthen the skills of the inspectors while providing them with tools to efficiently do their job. Through further training and continuous education, personality weaknesses may become strengths and personal skills developed to aid quality control personnel in better practical decision-making. Regardless of the size of the organization, those which apply formal quality control training can realize lifetime cost savings and improved productivity on their projects with the use of this packaged training program which provides presentation materials and a start-up guide to help implement a quality control program within their organization

Topics: quality control, training, ethics, total quality management, return on investment, cost savings, compliance
Publisher: Purdue University
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Purdue E-Pubs

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