Joseph M. Juran

Joseph JuranJoseph Moses Juran (December 24, 1904 – February 28, 2008) was a 20th Century management consultant who is principally remembered as an evangelist for quality and quality management, writing several influential books on those subjects. He was also the brother of Academy Award winner Nathan H. Juran.


Juran was born to a Jewish family in 1904 in Brăila, Romania, and later lived in Gura Humorului. In 1912, he immigrated to America with his family, settling in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Juran excelled in school, especially in mathematics. He was a chess champion at an early age, and dominated chess at Western Electric. Juran graduated from Minneapolis South High School in 1920.


In 1924, with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota, Juran joined Western Electric's Hawthorne Works. His first job was troubleshooting in the Complaint Department. In 1925, Bell Labs proposed that Hawthorne Works personnel be trained in its newly-developed statistical sampling and control chart techniques. Juran was chosen to join the Inspection Statistical Department, small group of engineers charged with applying and disseminating Bell Labs' statistical quality control innovations. This highly-visible position fueled Juran's rapid ascent in the organization and the course of his later career.


In 1926, he married Sadie Shapiro, and they subsequently had four children: Robert, Sylvia, Charles and Donald. They had been married for over 81 years when he passed away in 2008.


Juran was promoted to department chief in 1928, and the following year became a division chief. He published his first quality related article in Mechanical Engineering in 1935. In 1937, he moved to Western Electric/AT&T's headquarters in New York City.


As a hedge against the uncertainties of the Great Depression, he enrolled in Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1931. He graduated in 1935 and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1936, though he never practiced Law.


During the Second World War, through an arrangement with his employer, Juran served in the Lend-Lease Administration and Foreign Economic Administration. Just prior to the war's end, he resigned from both Western Electric and his government post with the intention of becoming a freelance consultant. He joined the faculty of New York University as an adjunct Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, where he taught courses in quality control and ran round table seminars for executives. He also worked through a small management consulting firm on projects for Gilette, Hamilton Watch Company and Borg-Warner. After the firm's owner's sudden death, Juran began his own independent practice, from which he made a comfortable living until his retirement in the late 1990s. His early clients included the now defunct Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Company, the Koppers Company, the International Latex Company, Bausch & Lomb and General Foods.



The end of World War II compelled Japan to change its focus from becoming a military power to becoming an economic one. Despite its ability to compete on price, Japanese consumer goods manufacturers suffered from a long-established reputation of poor quality. The first edition of Juran's Quality Control Handbook in 1951 attracted the attention of the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) which invited him to Japan in 1952. When he finally arrived in Japan in 1954, Juran met with ten manufacturing companies, notably Showa Denko, Nippon Kōgaku, Noritake, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. He also lectured at Hakone, Waseda University, Ōsaka, and Kōyasan. During his life he made ten visits to Japan, the last in 1990.


Working independently of W. Edwards Deming (who focused on the use of statistical quality control), Juran – who focused on managing for quality – went to Japan and started courses (1954) in Quality Management. The training started with top and middle management. The idea that top and middle management need training had found resistance in the United States. For Japan, it would take some 20 years for the training to pay off. In the 1970s, Japanese products began to be seen as the leaders in quality. This sparked a crisis in the United States due to quality issues in the 1980s.


Pareto Principle

It was in 1941 that Juran discovered the work of Vilfredo Pareto. Juran expanded the Pareto principle applying it to quality issues (e.g. 80% of a problem is caused by 20% of the causes). This is also known as "the vital few and the trivial many". In later years Juran has preferred "the vital few and the useful many" to signal that the remaining 80% of the causes should not be totally ignored.


Contribution to Management

When he began his career in the 1920s the principal focus in quality management was on the quality of the end, or finished, product. The tools used were from the Bell system of sampling, inspection plans, (tables), and the Shewhart control charts. The ideas of Frederick Winslow Taylor dominated.


Juran is widely credited for adding the human dimension to quality management. He pushed for the education and training of managers. For Juran, human relations problems were the ones to isolate. Resistance to change�or, in his terms, cultural resistance was the root cause of quality issues.


Later Life and Death

Juran credits Margaret Mead's book Cultural Patterns and Technical Change for illuminating the core problem in reforming business quality. He wrote Managerial Breakthrough, which was published in 1964, outlining the issue.

In 1966, Juran promoted the Japanese idea of quality circles.

He also developed the "Juran's trilogy," an approach to cross-functional management that is composed of three managerial processes: planning, control, and improvement.

In 1979, Juran founded the Juran Institute, and in 2004, he became honorary doctor at Lule� University of Technology in Sweden.

Juran died of a stroke at age 103 in Rye, New York.



Juran, Joseph M. (1944). Bureaucracy, a challenge to better management. New York, London, Harper & Bros. OCLC 986504.,

Juran, Joseph M. (1945). Management of inspection and quality control. New York, London, Harper & Bros. OCLC 1744335.

Juran, Joseph M.; Frank M. Gryna (1951). Juran's Quality Control Handbook. Mcgraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-033176-6.

Quality Control Handbook (1951) a landmark guide to quality tools and ideas. (fifth edition, 1999)

Case Studies in Industrial Management, 1955 (fourth edition, 1988)

The Corporate Director, 1966

Managerial Breakthrough, McGraw-Hill, 1964 . ISBN 0-07-034037-4

Planning for Quality, 1988

Leadership for Quality, An Executive Handook, N.Y Freepress, 1989

Quality By Design, The Free Press , 1992

A History of Managing for Quality,

Architect of Quality, McGraw-Hill, 2003 , his autobiography.


Quality Trilogy

1. Quality Planning

    Identify who are the customers.
    Determine the needs of those customers.
    Translate those needs into our language.
    Develop a product that can respond to those needs.
    Optimise the product features so as to meet our needs and customer needs.

2. Quality Improvement

    Develop a process which is able to produce the product.
    Optimise the process.

3. Quality Control

    Prove that the process can produce the product under operating conditions with minimal inspection.
    Transfer the process to Operations.


An Honored Theorist

The Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers invited Dr. Juran to Japan, to teach them the principles of quality management as they rebuilt their economy. Along with W. Edwards Deming, his more colorful and perhaps better-known American colleague, Juran received Second Order of the Sacred Treasure award from Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Dr. Juran published his lectures from Japan in his book Managerial Breakthrough in 1964. In 1979, Juran founded The Juran Institute to better facilitate broader exposure of his ideas. The Juran Institute is today one of the leading quality management consultancies in the world, and it produces books, workbooks, videos and other materials to support the wide use of Dr. Juran's methods. The institute and the consulting practice continues to thrive today. Dr. Juran worked to promote quality management into his 90's, and only recently retired from his semi-public life. One can obtain the papers, lectures, and tapes of Dr. Juran from The Juran Institute or other quality management educational providers. The Juran Foundation, which he founded, continues his work, exploring the social and industrial implications of quality improvement while making his and others' valuable contributions more accessible.