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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

Strategic quality: a software engineering approach

Van Staden, Roelof Johannes 27 February 2009 (has links)
M.Ing. / Software engineering organizations face a struggle for daily survival in an extremely volatile climate. Numerous times it has been shown that the quality of a service or product could make the difference between an organization existing or closing down. The way in which quality is approached in any organization is part of a strategy; unbeknown to the managers and employees in many instances. Even though there are numerous books, articles, internet sites and other sources devoted to the subject of quality, total quality management, and strategic planning, not many of these information sources link quality and the strategy of the organization in such a way as to consider the quality of the organization’s products and services to be a major factor of strategic survival – or even the very existence of the organization. Quality is known under various names and terms in organizations, these terms and definitions will be investigated to grasp the true meaning of software quality and strategy as it concerns modern software engineering organizations. The tools and techniques required to improve and measure strategy and quality will also be scrutinized. One dominant factor about quality and strategy should be borne in mind, and that is that these programs depend on teamwork and management support as the major underlying framework. There are many tools and techniques that leaders and members of software teams can employ, but one of the most important factors is to gain a picture of the total process of continuous improvement and measurement. For this reason the author has included a large section on Jack Welch, who managed to use continuous improvement techniques to create one of the best, and biggest international organizations in recent years. It is vital that all people realize that they need an improvement and measurement model, and they need guidance in using such a model. This dissertation investigates the reasoning behind implementing strategic quality processes in software engineering organizations. Following the investigation into the necessity for a quality strategy, the methods, processes, tools and techniques that are required for a strategic quality framework (improvement and measurement model) for software engineering organizations will be researched to provide a basic framework and guidance in implementing such a model.

Die bestuur en opleiding van SABS ISO 9000 reeks

Gerber, Gert Robert Stephen 08 May 2014 (has links)
With the lifting of sanctions, South African businesses are faced with a new challenge to compete against their international counterparts on the international and domestic markets. Competing on the international markets is dependant on conforming to a recognised quality management system standard such as ISO 9000 (ISO International Standards Organisation). The South African equivalent for this standard is SABS ISO 9000. (SABS - South African Bureau of Standards). It is thus important for South African companies to conform to the requirements of the recognised quality management system and to deliver quality goods by adopting a quality improvement plan. The subject of quality has been studied and put into effect the early 1950's. The four most well known gurus on this subject are Deming, Juran, Crosby and Ishikawa. All of them have different philosophies on how to implement quality. Deming has developed fourteen points for management; Juran concentrated on the planning for quality based on the needs of the customers; Crosby has been the father of the cost of quality, but has since changed his stance to the cost of non-eonformity; Ishikawa, a student of Deming, has developed the cause and effect diagram for determining the root cause of problems. The importance of the above is to evaluate the organisation to determine the .quality needs and then to adopt a philosophy which can be used. The quality needs of an organisation can be determined by means of this diagram. Based on these results a usable philosophy can be adopted. The implementation of quality and a quality management system should take place simultaneously. Both these systems are dependant on each other for successful functioning. Both should be managed as a unit to ensure total quality management. The implementation of a total quality management system is a four step process. These steps are: 1. Awakening 2. Involvement, 3. Commitment, 4. Ownership. The different aspects of the implementation of quality and a quality management system must be addressed in each of the above steps to ensure the success of the quality management system. An important aspect which needs to be addressed when implementing quality management system, is training. This should take place during each of the above mentioned steps. Training for quality is related to on-the-job training and training with regard to new technology. Training for a quality management system should be directed to the development of quality documentation such as procedures and work instructions.

Perceptions of rural consumers and the quality of mutton at purchase points in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Rani, Zikhona Theodora January 2012 (has links)
The objective of the study was to determine perceptions of rural consumers on mutton quality, and the quality of mutton at purchase points in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The study was conducted in five different municipalities (Buffalo City, Nkonkobe, Ngqushwa, Lukhanje and Amahlathi). A survey was conducted where a sample of 215 consumers were randomly selected and interviewed, either at point of purchase or as they left the shops. The survey was not limited to the shoppers only but also extended to households from the villages. Questions on some of the most important meat quality cues were compiled. The physico-chemical quality of mutton purchased from different shops was also determined. Forty different shops and butcheries selling mutton from all the selected municipalities were visited. Different parts of mutton samples were bought. Physico-chemical qualities of mutton such as colour (L* - lightness, b* - redness and a* - yellowness) and meat pH measurements were taken at points of purchase. Cooking loss and tenderness evaluations were later done at the Meat Science laboratory at the University of Fort Hare. The results indicated that price was one of the major factors affecting the purchasing decisions of consumers. Thirty four percent of the consumers preferred mutton as compared to other protein sources, even though they were not buying this type of meat because it was not affordable to them. Both male and female consumers suggested that more sheep farmers need to be established in order to reduce the levels of imported mutton into South Africa. They also highlighted that selection programmes that will result in efficient sheep production and reduced mutton prices need to be implemented. Meat at points of purchase was affected by season resulting in lower lightness (L*24.7±0.49) values in winter and higher (L* 32.2±0.49) in Spring. The class of shop did not have an effect on meat quality attributes. Trotter had high values of lightness (L*30.4±2.78a), redness (a*30.4±2.78a), yellowness (13.1±1.08a), pH (6.3±0.12a), tenderness (24.9±3.69b) and cooking loss (39.5±4.38ab). The number of days from when the meat was put on the shelves to the time when it was purchased for consumption (days to purchase) had a significant (P<0.05) negative correlation with the Warner Braztler Shear Force (WBSF)values and lightness of the meat. Significant negative (P < 0.05) correlations between pH and colour of the meat (L*, a* and b*) were also observed. It was concluded that rural consumers perceive the quality of mutton as the best and that the physico-chemical quality of meat purchased from different shops was different, largely based on the part of meat, meat storage conditions and not necessarily on the class of the shop.

Strategic firm behavior and entry deterrence: three essays

Yong, Jong-Say 11 1900 (has links)
This thesis consists of three independent chapters on entry deterrence. The first two chapters consider the use of contracts as a barrier to entry, while the final chapter examines the possibility of firms expanding their product lines to deter entry in a vertical differentiation model. In Chapter 1, the role of exclusive dealing contracts in the liner shipping industry is investigated. It is shown that if the entrant is capacity-constrained, exclusive dealing contracts can be an effective entry barrier, even if the entrant has a lower cost. Chapter 2considers an industry with two stages of production. It is shown that an upstream incumbent is able to deter the entry of a more efficient producer by establishing long-term contractual relations with downstream firms, provided the downstream firms are in direct competition against each other. Chapter 3 considers the question of entry deterrence in a one-dimensional market where goods are differentiated by quality. It is shown that an incumbent firm may decide to produce several products solely for the purpose of deterring entry. Again, it is possible that a lower-cost entrant is deterred. In all three chapters, the welfare consequence is clear: social welfare is lower, since more efficient entrants are excluded from the market. / Arts, Faculty of / Vancouver School of Economics / Graduate

Essays on Regulatory Design

Thompson, David January 2021 (has links)
This dissertation consists of three essays on the design of regulatory systems intended to inform market participants about product quality. The central theme is how asymmetric information problems influence the incentives of customers, regulated firms, and certifiers, and the implications these distortions have for welfare and market design. The first chapter, Regulation by Information Provision, studies quality provision in New York City's elevator maintenance market. In this market, service providers maintain machines and are inspected periodically by city inspectors. I find evidence that monitoring frictions create moral hazard for service providers. In the absence of perfect monitoring, buildings rely on signals generated by the regulator to hold service providers accountable, cancelling contracts when bad news arrives and preserving them when good news arrives. Regulatory instruments, such as inspection frequency and fine levels, can therefore influence provider effort in two ways: (i) by directly changing the cost of effort (e.g. fines for poor peformance); (ii) by changing expected future revenue (through building cancellation decisions). Using a structural search model of the industry, I find that the second channel is the dominant one. In particular, I note that strengthening the information channel has two equilibrium effects: first, it increases provider effort; and second, it shifts share towards higher-quality matches since buildings can more quickly sever unproductive relationships. These findings have important policy implications, as they suggest that efficient information provision --- for example, targeting inspections to newly-formed relationships --- is a promising avenues for welfare improvement. The second chapter, Quality Disclosure Design, studies a similar regulatory scheme, but emphasizes the incentives of the certifier. In particular, I argue that restaurant inspectors in New York City are locally averse to giving restaurants poor grades: restaurants whose inspections are on the border of an A versus a B grade are disproportionately given an A. The impact of this bias is twofold: first, it degrades the quality of the information provided to the market, as there is substantial heterogeneity in food-poisoning risk even within A restaurants. Second, by making it easier to achieve passing grades, inspector bias reduces incentives for restaurants to invest in their health practices. After developing a model of the inspector-restaurant interaction, counterfactual work suggests that stricter grading along the A-B boundary could generate substantial improvements in food-poisoning rates. The policy implications of these findings depends on the source of inspector bias. I find some evidence that bias is bureaucratic in nature: when inspectors have inspection decisions overturned in an administrative trial, they are more likely to score leniently along the A-B boundary in their other inspections. However, it's not clear whether this behavior stems from administrative burden (a desire to avoid more trials) or a desire to avoid looking incompetent. Pilot programs that reduce the administrative burden of giving B grades are a promising avenue for future research. The last chapter, Real-Time Inference, also studies the incentives of certifiers, namely MLB umpires charged with classifying pitches as balls or strikes. Unlike in \textit{Quality Disclosure Design}, I find that umpire ball/strike decisions are remarkably bias-free. Previous literature on this topic has noted a tendency for umpires to --- for a fixed pitch location --- call more strikes in hitter's counts and more balls in pitcher's counts. I propose a simple rational explanation for this behavior: umpires are Bayesian. In hitter's counts, such as 3-0, pitchers tend to throw pitches right down the middle of the plate, whereas in pitcher's counts, they throw pitches outside the strike zone. For a borderline pitch, the umpire's prior will push it towards the strike zone in a 3-0 count and away from the strike-zone in an 0-2 count, producing the exact divergence in ball/strike calls noted in previous work. While implications for broader policy are not immediately obvious, I note several features of the environment that are conducive to umpires effectively approximating optimal inference, particularly the frequent, data-driven feedback that umpires receive on their performance.

Essays in Industrial Development

Guillouet, Louise January 2022 (has links)
Firms are the unit cells of the economy. Understanding how they create value is key todesigning policies that promote sustainable growth. In this dissertation, I study how two major trends: globalization and rising inequality, affect the causes and consequences of firm growth. Chapters 1 and 2 focus on the interaction of multinational firms and domestic firms in developing countries, while chapter 3 looks at the unequal distribution of consumer gains from the expansion of a firm in the United States. Specifically, in Chapter 1, I study how the presence of multinational firms affects how domestic firms grow. I investigate the hypothesis that uncertainty about product quality, a distinctive feature in developing countries, leads consumers to prefer products made by multinational firms headquartered in high-income countries, as opposed to domestic firms. Combining barcode-level consumption data from Mexico with information about the origin of the producers of the goods, I measure a precise foreign price premium of at least 16%. While the availability of foreign goods increases consumers’ welfare, the dominance of foreign firms may also hinder the growth of domestic firms. I then document the following novel facts about the consumer packaged goods industry in Mexico: 1) domestic firm sales growth is driven by older goods rather than new goods; 2) domestic goods have slower and longer life-cycles than foreign goods; 3) the extensive customer margin is key to growth for both types of firms; 4) domestic firms depend relatively more on the intensive margin for customer growth; and 5) new customers of older domestic goods are poorer than those of new goods. I estimate a demand model, showing that the price premium elicited in the raw data can be attributed to consumers’ relative preference for foreign goods. Importantly, this preference fades over time. I show that this is consistent with consumers learning about product quality, and provide consumer-level empirical evidence for this mechanism. Demand-side policies may be useful complements to classic industrial policy tools. Chapter 2 looks inside multinational firms to understand how contextual factors may affect the probability of spillovers from multinationals to the domestic sector. A distinct feature of multinationals is a three-tier hierarchy: foreign managers (FMs) supervise domestic managers (DMs) who supervise production workers. Surveys suggest that language barriers impede interactions between FMs and DMs. An experimental protocol that offers DMs free English language courses confirms that lowering communication costs increases their interactions with FMs. A second experimental protocol that asks human-resource managers at domestic firms to rate hypothetical resumes reveals that multinational experience and, specifically, DM-FM interactions are valued in the domestic labor market. Taken together, the protocols suggest that reducing language barriers can improve transfers of management knowledge to domestic workers, and a longer-run survey indicates treatment DMs’ improvements in soft skills. We further examine why MNCs and DMs may under-invest in language training. Complementary policies such as language subsidies can increase the probability of positive spillovers from Foreign Direct Investment. In Chapter 3, I study the expansion of a large, high-quality firm in the United States and itsimpact on the competitive landscape. The arrival of high-end grocery stores in neighborhoods is a harbinger of gentrification. However, economic theory generally predicts that the entry of firms is good for consumer welfare. This paper combines barcode-level retail data with a newly collected dataset on the opening dates of Whole Foods, a high-end grocery chain in the United States, in new neighborhoods, to estimate the effect of entry. I show that Whole Foods’ entry causes prices to rise by three percent for households in the bottom half of the income distribution, while prices don’t change for households in the top half of the income distribution. This finding is robust to changing the sample of stores and the set of control variables and to a falsification test using announcement dates instead of entry dates. Building on differentiated competition models, I show that this unexpected effect of entry can happen because incumbent stores catering to high-income households are closer to Whole Foods’ assortment and therefore behave pro-competitively when Whole Foods arrives, while incumbent stores catering to low-income households are quite differentiated and are able to raise their prices. Policies seeking to address gentrification should take the business side of this phenomenon into account.

The Production of Acceptable Baked products in the Electronic Oven

Knudsen, Lois Irene 01 May 1971 (has links)
The purpose was to find the adjustments needed to make acceptable pies, cookies and muffins baked in the electronic oven. The products were evaluated by a taste panel and by objective tests. The results of both tests supported each other. The best bottom pie crust had an extra tablespoon of liquid added to the pastry and was precooked before the filling was added. It was both flaky and tender. No leavening and one-fourth more liquid produced the most acceptable cookies. They were more like standard cookie in height, texture, moisture and tenderness. It was found that one-half the amount of egg and two tablespoons more liquid made the best muffins. No treatment of the muffins as used in this study resembled the standard, but were half way between a standard muffin and cake in their texture, flavor and appearance.

Consumers' perceptions of extended service contracts: an empirical analysis

Caudill, Donald W. 05 February 2007 (has links)
This study was designed (1) to empirically distinguish between buyers and non-buyers of an extended service contract according to eight groups of variables, and (2) to develop a profile of consumers most likely to purchase extended service contracts. A mail survey was conducted from April 1993 through May 1993 with a randomly selected sample of consumers (N = 991) who had during of October, November, and December 1992 purchased a new television set from a seven-store retail chain. After an initial mailing and two follow-up mailings, 440 questionnaires were returned of the 957 that were received by respondents (34 were returned as undeliverable). This represented a total response rate of 46% (440/957). Thirty-one of the questionnaires were returned blank or less than half complete by respondents unable or unwilling to participate. The final usable return rate was 42.7% (409/957). Regarding distinguishing between buyers and non-buyers of the extended service contract, Chi-Square analysis revealed that demographically and psychographically the two groups are similar. Buyers were more likely to be employed in less prestigious jobs and less likely to read the daily newspaper. Buyers and non-buyers differed considerably regarding motivations, perceptions, and future buying intentions, however. Regarding a profile of consumers most likely to buy an extended service contract in the future (the dependent variable), six independent variables produced an R² of -4470, meaning that 44.7% of the variance in buying an extended service contract in the future could be explained by the linear combination of these predictor variables. The best predictor of the dependent variable was previous experience with extended service contracts. The other Significant variables were "Extended service contracts offer peace of mind," "I know of people who did not buy the extended service contract and later wished they had," "T would advise my friends not to buy extended service contracts," "Extended service contracts are worth the money people pay for them," and "People who take care of their products do not need to buy extended service contracts." / Ph. D.

Valuation of quality determinants in consumer demand for automobile: A hedonic price approach

Zajicek, Edward K. 23 August 2007 (has links)
This dissertation investigates consumer valuation of car characteristics with the special focus on two non-physical attributes of an automobile such as safety and comfort. Consumer valuation of automobile attributes is of interest to car manufacturers who supply the characteristics, consumers who purchase them, and policy makers who regulate the automobile. This study uses two approaches to accomplish this goal. The first one is the traditional hedonic method which calculates consumer willingness to pay for measurable components of safety and comfort, whereas the second one combines these components into comfort and safety indexes. It is argued in this study that these individual components, which can make a car safer or more comfortable, are evaluated by consumers in the broader context of safety and comfort before the final choice is made. It is also argued that this aggregation can be justified by a high degree of multicollinearity between various car attributes which has been observed in the previous hedonic studies of the automobile market. Included here is also a comprehensive discussion of econometric problems associated with the characteristics approach. The computational part is based on the new and the most extensive data set used in the hedonic literature of the automobile market. The study concludes by presenting the set of price and income elasticities of demand for the safety and comfort related variables. The results of both methods indicate that many car attributes are Giffen goods, which implies a positive relationship between the marginal willingness to pay and quantity purchased. The main reasons for these findings could be attributed to the impact of the government quality standards affecting automobiles and the shortcomings of the hedonic procedure (treatment of nonlinearities). / Ph. D.

An experimental investigation of the effects of price, brand and store information on the subjective evaluation of products

Dodds, William B. January 1985 (has links)
This dissertation investigates the effects of price, brand, and store information on buyers perception of product quality and value, as well as the buyers' willingness to buy. It reviews the dissimilar paradigms developed by economists and behaviorists to explain the influence of price on consumer behavior. Hypotheses are derived from a conceptual model to posit the relationship that the extrinsic cues of information, price, brand name and store name, individually have with the constructs of perceived quality, perceived value, and willingness to buy. Additionally, the combined effects of the extrinsic cues on the three constructs are examined. The research was conducted in two phases. The first phase was necessary to determine products, price levels, brand names and store names to use in the second phase. A 5x3x3 factorial design, with a student sample was used in phase two to test the research hypotheses. Each of the three independent variables had no information treatment that allowed partial replication of past price-perceived quality studies, and examination of price, brand name, and store name main effects in many different cue combinations. Additionally, this research design allowed exploratory research of the marginal effects of combining cue information. Reliability of the measures was assessed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and Cronbach's alpha. Analysis of variance, Duncans' multiple range tests, and trend analysis were used to analyze the data. In general the analysis gave good support for the hypothesized effects. The principal exception was finding only the downward sloping relationships for perceived value and willingness to buy as affected by price information. Also, there was a lack of support for the hypothesized combined cues when all the information were perceived to be low. The research results are discussed with respect to the major findings, significance to theoretical and methodological knowledge as well as marketing practice. Limitations of the research are discussed as well as directions for future research in this paradigm. / Ph. D.

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