Philip B. Crosby

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Philip Bayard "Phil" Crosby (June 18, 1926 – August 18, 2001) was an American businessman and author who contributed to management theory and quality management practices.

Crosby initiated the Zero Defects program at the Glenn L. Martin Company. As the quality control manager of the Pershing missile program, Crosby was credited with a 25 percent reduction in the overall rejection rate and a 30 percent reduction in scrap costs.


  • Quality is conformance to requirements - nothing more, nothing less.
    • Philip B. Crosby (1979), as cited in: Colin Morgan and Stephen ‎Murgatroyd (1994), Total Quality Management In The Public Sector.
  • In a true zero-defects approach, there are no unimportant items.
    • Philip B. Crosby (1989), Let's Talk Quality: 96 Questions You Always Wanted to Ask Phil Crosby, p. 9
  • Improving quality requires a culture change, not just a new diet.
    • Philip B. Crosby (1989), Let's Talk Quality: 96 Questions You Always Wanted to Ask Phil Crosby, p. 47
  • Change should be a friend. It should happen by plan, not by accident.
    • Philip B. Crosby (1995), Reflections on Quality.
  • A rule to live by: I won't use anything I can't explain in five minutes.
    • Philip B. Crosby, quoted in: Tim Oberle (2013), Process Techniques for Engineering High-Performance Materials. p. 353

Quality Is Free, 1977


Philip B. Crosby (1977). Quality Is Free: The Art of Making Quality Certain.

  • The problem of quality management is not what people don't know about it. The problem is what the think they do know.
    • p. 13
  • The first erroneous assumption is that quality means goodness, or luxury, or shininess or weight. The word "quality" is used to signify the relative worth of things in such phrases as "good quality," "bad quality," and that brave new statement 'quality of life.' 'Quality of life' is a cliche because each listener assumes that the speaker means exactly what he or she, the listener, means by the phrase. It is a situation in which individuals talk dreamily about something without ever bothering to define it.
    • p. 14-15
  • Quality management is a systematic way of guaranteeing that organized activities happen the way they are planned.
    • p. 22
  • Most managers are so concerned with today, and with getting our own real and imagined problems settled, that we are incapable of planning corrective or positive actions more than a week or so ahead.
    • Cited in: Joseph C. Fields. Total Quality for Schools: A Suggestion for American Education. 1993, p. 47
  • Quality is free, but no one is ever going to know it if there isn't some sort of agreed-on system of measurement. Quality has always suffered from the lack of an obvious method of measurement in spite of the fact such a method was developed by General Electric in the 1950' s as a tool for determining the need for corrective action on a specific product line.

Quotes about Philip B. Crosby

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