Quality assurance includes all activities toward proper planning (operational and strategic) as well as pre-assessment and self-evaluation. In addition, QA is the process of ensuring compliance with specifications, requirements, or standards and implementing methods for conformance. It includes setting and communicating standards and identifying indicators for performance monitoring and compliance with standards. QA, however, is losing its earlier popularity because it resorts to disciplinary means and blames human error for noncompliance.
Quality control, on the other hand, is defined by Brown (1994) as “a management process where actual performance is measured against expected performance, and actions are taken on the deference. “Quality improvement is defined as an organized, structured process that selectively identifies improvement teams to achieve improvements in products or services (Al-Assaf 1997).
It includes all actions to identify gaps (opportunities for improvement), prioritize and select appropriate gaps to study, analyze them, and narrow or close them.
Total quality management or quality management, in general, involves all of the above three processes: QA, QC, and QI. It involves processes pertaining to the coordination of activities related to all or any one of the above three as well as the administration and resource allocation of these processes. Quality management is the umbrella encompassing all processes and activities related to quality.