Quality improvement in the public sector : separating the rhetoric from the reality
This work has resulted in the development of a conceptual framework of public
service quality. The work has reviewed differences between the 'rhetoric and realil}''
of quality improvement practice in order to produce a multi-dimensional definition of
public service quality. The research has also identified the major influences on
quality improvement in the public sector, with a particular focus on local government.
The theoretical and empirical research illustrates that traditional definitions of quality
originating in the private sector are not sufficiently precise to capture the
distinctiveness and complexity of public service quality and thus a multi-dimensional
definition has been developed. This describes public service quality as having a
democratic, strategic, process and transactional dimension, with each dimension
possessing distinct characteristics. The research identified a range of unique factors
that are likely to influence quality improvement at each dimension.
The theoretical and empirical research indicates that the achievement of long-term and
sustainable quality improvement is influenced by the way in which organisations use
quality models and systems in practice; their underlying organisational culture; and by
a diverse range of institutional factors. All three elements exert a significant influence
on the nature and extent of quality improvement in the public sector.