Quality Circles are brainstorming sessions involving employees of a firm whose goal is improving processes and process capability. Once thought by some to be the "method" by which quality could be achieved, programs like quality circles or employee involvement are now viewed, at best, as lacking a systems approach to quality and, at worst, as abdication by top management.
Employee involvement is essential to quality and organizational success. However, such efforts must include participation by top management in order to have clear aim, redesign of products and process, innovation, and plans and actions that support the organization's strategies.
Quality Circles were started in Japan in 1962 (Kaoru Ishikawa has been credited for creating Quality Circles) as another method of improving quality. The movement in Japan was coordinated by the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE).
In response to Japan's successes, Quality Circles were adopted in the United States 1980s.