Continual Quality Improvement
My theories and methods for continual quality improvement are applied and implied in
Wheeldon, J. & Ahlberg, M. 2011 Visualizing Social Science Research: Maps, Methods, & Meaning. London: SAGE.
In 1992 one of my doctoral students, Mr. Petteri
Nevalainen, MSc had possibility to make research on learning and
implementation process of ISO 9000 for small and medium size business
organizations. I started to think, how main theories and tools of
quality movement (e.g. Total Quality Management, Total Quality Control,
ISO 9000 etc.) might apply to education. The literature is enormous,
theories, practices and tools are messy. Using my earlier developed
idea of continually integrating those theories, which stand continual
theoretical and empirical testing, I developed my own integrating
tentative theory of Continual Quality Improvement (Åhlberg
1997, 1998a - 1998c). Theory of continual quality improvement is
a part of more general theory of Education
for sustainable development.
These kinds of theories are not only descriptive,
they are also normative. They try to express what probably is the
wisest way to act, if we want to improve our thinking and practice.
Normative theories ought to be well grounded and justified, they
ought to have sound underpinnings. That is what I tried to do. Continual
Quality Improvement is defined as all efforts to improve organizations,
processes, products, services etc. in the past, present and in the
future. Quality is defined as optimal satisfaction of real human
needs, not any whimsies, fancies etc. In my theory there are at
present over 35 well justified claims in the theory, e.g. 'It is
best to act on basis of win-win-principle'. There is almost always
possibilities to make decisions and act so that all the concerned
win in long run. It is even possible to act so that the whole humankind
wins in long run. The other example: 'In (post)modern society, you
become empowered both by organizations and by networking informally
by those people who have similar interests, and by whom you are
able to do win-win-decisions'. Best international research cooperation
so far has been with Professor Patrick Dillon and Dr John Robinson
(Åhlberg. & Dillon 2003, Åhlberg & Robinson
2003, Åhlberg, Turja, & Robinson 2003).
In earlier quality literature they make a difference between seven
classic quality tools and tens of new quality tools. I have introduced
three new quality tools (Improved
Concept Mapping, Improved
Vee Heuristics and ARRA or Analysis of Reasoning,
Rhetorics and Argumentation ) to monitor and promote learning,
thinking and acting in continual quality improvement.
I have supervised many Masters' Theses of continual
quality improvement of school and business organizations. One of
my students, Ms. Elina Mäkinen (firstname.lastname@example.org ) became
the Section Manager of the Finnish Society for Quality. Another
of my doctoral students, Mr. Petteri Nevalainen, MSc. (email@example.com
) became first a project leader of quality improvement in the Department
of Education, City of Helsinki, later he was appointed to Human
Resources Officer in the Bank of Finland
Åhlberg, M. 1997. Jatkuva laadunparantaminen
korkealaatuisena oppimisena. [Continual Quality Improvement as High
Quality Learning]. University of Joensuu. Research Reports of the
Faculty of Education N:o 68.
Åhlberg, M. 1998a. Kestävän kehityksen
pedagogiikka ja yleisdidaktiikka. University of Joensuu. Bulletins
of the Faculty of Education. N:o 71.
Åhlberg, M. 1998b. Ecopedagogy and ecodidactics:
Education for Sustainable Development, Good Environment and Good
Life. University of Joensuu. Bulletins of the Faculty of Education.
Åhlberg, M. 1998c. Education for sustainability,
good environment and good life. In Åhlberg, M. & Leal
Filho, W. (Eds.) 1998. Environmental education for sustainability:
good environment, good life. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 25 -
Åhlberg, M. & Dillon, P. 1999. Materials
for Constructivistic Environmental Education, mainly to be used
in pre-service and in-service teacher education: An integrating
approach to environmental learning. In De Paz, M. & Pilo, M.
(Eds.) 1999. European Project for Environmental Education. A Curriculum
for European Schools. Genoa: University of Genoa, Italy, 3 - 33.
[Published also digitally:
(Read 10. 3. 2003).
Åhlberg, M. & Dillon, P. 2003. Integrating
education: For quality of life and a good environment (manuscript).
Åhlberg, M. & Robinson, J. 2003. An exploration
of Education for Sustainability in the field practice schools of
pre-service education students using tools for reflective practice.
Submitted for publication.
Åhlberg, M., Turja, L. & Robinson, J. 2003.
Educational research and development to promote sustainable development
in the city of Helsinki: Helping the accessible Helsinki Programme
2001 - 2011 to achieve its goals. Accepted to be published in International
Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development Vol. 2, N:o 2.
Wheeldon, J. & Ahlberg, M. 2011 Visualizing Social Science Research: Maps, Methods, & Meaning. London: SAGE. (ISBN: 9781412991049)