Mapping the terrain of public service quality improvement:twenty-five years of trends and practices

Marc Holzer (Rutgers University-Newark, USA) etc.




The quality movement in the United States has been characterized as an impetusfor organizational effectiveness and responsiveness since the late 1970s. ‘Quality’can be a subjective term as each organization has its own definition and boundaries.Three emphases are evident in the field of quality improvement: qualitycircles, total quality management, and citizen satisfaction. Practices of qualityimprovement in the public sector have been driven by demands from citizensfor more effective services, outcomes that require the implementation of suitablequality models and standards.


Points for practitioners


This article presents major intellectual trends in the practice of service qualityimprovement. Practitioners will be able to comprehend the most fundamentalconcepts of ‘what is public service quality improvement’. Practitioners will alsoobtain useful insights into defining quality criteria and assessing organizationalimprovement models based on substantive principles of quality management forpromoting organizational effectiveness and responsiveness.


Keywords: citizen satisfaction, performance management, quality awards, quality

circles, quality improvement, TQM



InternationalReview ofAdministrativeSciences


Vol 75(3):403–418 [DOI:10.1177/0020852309341330]