The Impact of Implementing a System Approach to Quality: A General Contractor Case Study

Elizabeth Gordon1, Keila Rawlinson2, Ebrahim Eldamnhoury3, Marton Marosszeky4 & Dean Reed5

1Quality Leader, DPR Construction, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA, +1 650 339-9588, [email protected],
2Operations Data Analyst, DPR Construction, Denver, CO 80112, USA, +1 303 349-083, [email protected],
3Business Process Analyst, DPR Construction, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA, +1 650 474 9057, [email protected],
4Managing Director, Marosszeky Associates P.L., Mandalong NSW 2264, Australia, [email protected],
5Owner and Consultant, Capability-Building, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA, [email protected],


This paper introduces a novel General Contractor approach to quality management called the Systems Approach to Quality (SAQ), which shares the Behavior-Based Quality (BBQ) concern for individual initiative and responsibility, and Quality Function Deployment (QFD) principles. Building on that previous work, this paper investigates the quantitative and cultural impacts of implementing a company’s SAQ approach in its construction projects across the U.S. To do so, the authors examine lagging indicators of various performance areas including cost, schedule, quality, safety, and changes for a group of projects that implemented the SAQ approach and compare them to another group of projects that did not. The hypothesis under investigation is that SAQ implementation in projects improves performance across a range of critical indicators. Furthermore, the study compares project culture in projects where SAQ was implemented to those where it was not using Quinn’s Competing Values Framework (CVF). The early results from this work indicate that the implementation of an approach such as SAQ leads to significant financial and non-cost benefits including improved collaboration.


Action learning, complexity, process, waste, collaboration, trust, system approach, quality function deployment (QFD), performance metrics, quinn competing values.



Gordon, E. , Rawlinson, K. , Eldamnhoury, E. , Marosszeky, M. & Reed, D. 2021, 'The Impact of Implementing a System Approach to Quality: A General Contractor Case Study' In:, Proc. 29th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC). Lima, Peru, 14-16 Jul 2021. pp 893-902

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