Deming Cycle- Four Stages of Deming Cycle & Pros and Cons of PDSA Cycle

Deming Cycle- Four Stages of Deming Cycle & PDSA Cycle Pros and Cons. Deming Cycle or PDSA or circle or wheel, Shewhart cycle, control cycle, or circle. Revolution &The Four Stages (Plan–Do–Study–Adjust) of the PDSA. The Pros and Cons of Deming Cycle or PDSA / PDCA. The Evolution of the Deming Cycle or PDSA. When to Apply PDSA.

Deming Cycle

Deming cycle refers to a repeated four-step management model that ensures the continuous improvement of products and services in the industry. In the 1950s, a famous management scholar Dr William Edwards Deming introduced the PDCA method; therefore, it is also known as the Deming cycle or Deming Wheel. It is a very famous method to solve problems to yield the highest quality result. The full meaning of PDCA is the Plan–Do–Check–Act is a four-step action method. In addition, it has many names such as the PDSA abbreviation of the Plan–Do–Check–Adjust, the Deming cycle or circle or wheel, the Shewhart cycle, and the control cycle or circle.

The Four Stages of the Deming Cycle

The Four Stages of the Deming Cycle are Plan, Do, Study or Check, and Act these are the inevitable elements of the Deming cycle.

1. Plan

PLAN is the initial step of the four steps method that identifies the problem and opportunities to suggest recommendations. In addition, it analyzes and describes the overall current situation of the project. A team will be recruited to understand the full process of the project in this stage; they will identify the problems that need to be changed, and find out solutions to fix the problems. You have to find out the answers to some basic questions regarding the project. The questions are as follows;

  • Firstly, what is the main problem that must need to be solved?
  • Secondly, what kind of resources do you have now?
  • In addition, what resources do you just have to have?
  • Moreover, what is the solution that you have taken with resources?
  • Finally, how long it will take to analyze the problems and implement the planning?
2. Do

The DO phase is the second stage of the Deming cycle where the testing of the solution starts to execute to identify the results. After completing the planning step, you have to take action for solving the problems. You will apply all plans that you have taken in the first stage. Some unwanted problems can emerge in this stage, so you have to be aware to confront them. For increasing your confidence level, you can apply your actions to a small arena in the project. It is a subtle way to control the situation properly as well as avoiding an unpredicted big mistake. All team members stay alert at this stage to play their roles and responsibility. In addition, you with your team members will take some initiatives mentioned below:

  • Keep a record of what happened and what is happened?
  • When you apply the planning?
  • Collect data from the planning stage.
  • Try to use a check sheet, swim lane map, and flowchart to capture data.
3. Study or Check

Study or check is probably the most important step of the PDSA cycle. You must have to pay attention to the CHECK stage if you want to scrutinize the output that yielded from the earlier stage. It will help you to avoid repeating mistakes and clarify the success of your planning and applying steps. This stage will give you the opportunity to audit your plan’s performance; you will be confirmed whether the plan is worked perfectly or not.  Additionally, your team will identify the problematic portion of the project to eliminate them in the future. You will be able to discover the root cause of the problem if something went wrong. In short, this stage will assess the effectiveness of the system and help you to make the decision whether the theory is helpful or not.

Example: Appraisals or  Gap analysis.

  • In this stage, you have to answer some questions mentioned below.
  • The system is effective or not?
  • Do you want to continue this system or need to change it?
  • Have you made an outline of a list including the unexpected results, failures, successes, and outcomes?
4. Act

ACT is the final stage of the system that finalize the perfect solution to implement it. In this stage, your organization should follow adapt, adopt, and abandon factors. Adapt refers to changing and modifying the PDSA circle for the next test. Adopt indicates considering expanding the system to all departments in the organization. Abandon means modify your full approach and repeat the PDCA circle again.  In sum, it is the step of standardization that is considered standardized when goals are exceeded.

The Pros and Cons of Deming Cycle or PDSA / PDCA

Firstly, PDSA is a simple and effective process to resolve a new and recurring problem in the industry. In addition, it is a repeated approach that will allow you to measure results without a waste of time. Moreover, it is a risk-free cycle to apply a small scale in the project; therefore, no need to change the full process if it doesn’t work.

In contrast, the full process of the PDSA is slow when applying the four steps in the industry to yield the final result. It is not a straightforward execution process that can apply to urgent problem-solving issues. Additionally, you need to use some resources including effective team members to ensure that each step of the circle is directed perfectly.

The Evolution of the Deming Cycle or PDSA

The PDSA cycle has been evolved from time to time to make it an effective process. It can be applied to almost every industry. I am going to discuss how the PDSA cycle came to be and how it has been evolved from time to time.

Dr W. Edwards Deming

Deming was an American management consultant who graduated as an electrical engineer, later concentrating on mathematical physics. He has become a famous person in the Japanese industry for his work as well as initiatives after WWII. In addition, Dr W. Edwards Deming got recognition as one of the most influential people in the Japanese manufacturing industry who is not Japanese but American. He championed the work of Walter Shewhart including total quality management, statistic process control, and renamed the Shewhart Cycle. After all, He had a great contribution to the rise of the post-war economic growth in Japan.

The Shewhart Cycle

Deming had been inspired by an American engineer Walter Andrew Shewhart who was also a physicist and statistician. In 1939, Shewhart published a book on the Viewpoint of Quality Control. It was the first book that articulated a three-stage systematic process of specification, production, and inspection. These three stages were developed to test the hypothesis that carries out an experiment. Finally, he mentioned that these stages should not go as a straight line but they should go in a cycle. Thus, the Shewhart Cycle came up with the process of a circle.

The Deming Wheel

In 1950, Deming analyzed Shewhart’s Cycle to modify it. He introduced a new version of Shewhart’s Cycle that is a four-step of design, production, sales, and research. This cycle has been known as the Deming’s Circle or Deming Wheel.


Most probably some Japanese executives modify the Deming cycle or Deming wheel into Plan, Do Check, Act (PDCA) although the exact reason for changing the term name is unclear. This four-step cycle introduced to identify the problems in the industry and solve them by applying four steps together. The prime objective of this cycle is to standardize if the results are satisfying.

Deming Cycle- Four Stages of Deming Cycle & PDSA Cycle Pros and Cons
Figure 1: Four Stages of Deming Cycle or PDSA Cycle
Deming was not satisfied with the name of PDCA; therefore, he amended it in 1986. He emphasized the core meaning of checking, and he mentioned that checking is not incorporate the cycle. Hence, the PDSA emerged with the recommendation of Deming.
When to Apply PDSA

The PDSA or PDCA framework is capable to develop any process or product by splitting into a shorter step. This cycle can be used in every kind of organization in many aspects such as changing management, new service or product deployment, product lifecycle, and so on. This framework is especially useful for assisting the improvement of the six sigma and total quality management process. It is the best option to dig out problems and effective solutions.

Deming Cycle or PDSA Quality Improvement

The PDSA cycle is one of the most important parts of the quality improvement process in the big industry. Apart from that, organizations apply other quality improvements program that is much complex QI processes.

These more complex quality improvement programs include the following:

  • Continuous Quality Improvement: It is also known as the CQI process that organizations apply to reduce waste, increase efficiency as well as increase internal and external satisfaction. It is a management philosophy that assesses how the industry works to develop its process.
  • Lean: The lean process is a manufacturing program that makes a business effective by improving efficiency and reducing wasteful practices. This program focuses more on improving services and products based on customer’s demands.
  • Six Sigma: The six sigma process is the set of tools and techniques that develop the quality of a process by eliminating defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing.
  • Total Quality Management: It is a process of a management system based on practising a principle that instils good business culture where every employee maintains a high standard of work. It influences the organization to maintain a high quality of service in every aspect of the company.
  • Quality Improvement Collaboratives: It is a process that usually applies to the healthcare centre in which many organizations work together to develop services for patients.

PDSA  refers to a repeated four-step (PLAN, DO, STUDY, ACT) that that ensures the continuous improvement of products and services in the industry. Today, many organizations all over the world use this method to improve the product and service by solving problems.

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions- Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions Theory

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory. Also, Definition and Example of Six Cultural Dimensions.

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory is a framework for cross-cultural communication. It was developed in 1980 by Dutch management researcher Geert Hofstede. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory shows the effects of a society’s culture on the values of its members. It also shows how these values relate to behaviour, using a structure derived from factor analysis. Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions are individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty, masculine-feminine, high context-lower context, also monochronic- polychronic. Therefore, it is also known as the six cultural dimensions theory.

This cultural dimensions theory is very useful to understand and change the work attitude of the organization, group, as well as team members. The cultural conflict is also known as communication noise or barriers.

What is Culture?

Culture is a set of values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours,  symbols, and norms shared by a group of people in a society or community.

Hofstede’s six Cultural Dimension

Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions are individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty, masculine-feminine, high context-lower context, and, also monochronic- polychronic. It is also known as Hofstede theory.

Hofstede’s six Cultural Dimensions are
  1. Individualism – collectivism (Act independently or interdependently)
  2. Power distance (Extent of equity or status among members)
  3. Uncertainty avoidance (Extent of comfort in uncertain situations)
  4. Masculine – Feminine (Self success versus caring and sharing)
  5. High context – lower context (Directness of communication in specific circumstances)
  6. Monochronic time – Polychronic time (People organize and value time)
Hofstede's cultural dimensions - Hofstede's 6 Cultural Dimensions Theory. Hofstede's 6 Dimensions are Individualism– collectivism, Power distance, Uncertainty, Masculine–feminine, High context-lower context, Monochronic- polychronic.
Figure 1: Hofstede’s cultural dimensions – Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimension Theory
Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
1. Individualistic/ Collectivism

(Prefer to act independently or interdependently)

Individualism: Individualistic members like to work alone and seek credit for their own work. They value individual achievement and freedom. For example people from the US, Australia, and Canada.

Collectivism: Collectivist members like to work in groups and try to help each other. Collectivist members may prefer face-to-face discussions instead of virtual discussions. Emphasize group identity. For example, people from Asian and Latin American countries.

Recommended adaptations

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory encourages collectivism. Make sure that individualistic members understand that they are part of a larger group, therefore, need their input and participation to achieve a shared goal. Tuckman’s theory discusses more on how to avoid conflict during working together in a team or group.

2. Power distance

(Extent of equity or status among members)

High power: Inequity between high- and low-status members. For example people from Mexico, India, and Singapore.

Low power: Equity and interdependence among group members. For example people from New Zealand and Denmark.

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, establish clear norms for member behaviour. To what extent will members participate in decision-making? How will specific tasks be assigned? How and by whom will members be evaluated? also Who will serve as leader(s)?

3. Uncertainty avoidance

(Extent of comfort in uncertain situations)

High uncertainty: Prefer rules, plans, and routines. For example, Japan, Belgium, Greece.

Low uncertainty: Comfortable with ambiguity and unpredictability. For instance, Jamaica, Hong Kong

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s six dimensions theory, provide clear instructions to the high uncertainty members while giving low uncertainty members opportunities to function unaided.

4. Masculinity – Feminists

(Concern for self success versus a focus on caring and sharing)

Masculine: Masculine-oriented members focus on the task and personal success. Assertive, decisive, dominant. For example Japan, Venezuela, Italy.

Feminine: Feminine-oriented members focus on member relations and respect for others. Nurturing, cooperative. For example, Sweden, Norway, Denmark.

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, persuading people to work together to achieve independent as well as interdependent goals.

5. High context – low context

(Directness of communication in specific circumstances)

High context: High context members consider background, nonverbal cues, and interpersonal history when communicating. Messages are implied and context-sensitive. For example, Japan, China, Greece, Mexico

Low Context: Low-context members want facts a clear, direct, communication. Messages are explicit, factual, and objective. For example England, the US, and Germany.

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s six dimensions theory,  give high-context members time to review the information and react; demonstrates the value of going beyond “just facts” very low context members.

6. Monochronic Polychronic

(How people organize and value time)

Monochronic: Monochronic members focus on one task at a time and work hard to meet deadlines. Adhere to plans, schedules, and deadlines because time is valuable. For example, North American and Northern European.

Polychronic: Polychronic members are frequently late, do many things at once, are easily distracted and tolerant of interruptions. Not obsessed with promptness or schedules because time is not highly valued. For example, Kenya, Argentina, African Americans.

Recommended adaptations

According to Hofstede’s six dimensions theory, encourage monochromic members to take responsibility for time-sensitive tasks. However, it is believed that polychromic members will vary Punctual based on the nature and importance of a situation or relationship.