What is quality? "Quality" is a word used quite often.
Everyone seems to know what it is. However, it is more
difficult to define quality. What is the definition of quality?
Although we may use the word "quality" as if it is objective,
the nature of quality may be that in many situations there may
be no objective quality. It may be difficult to measure or assess
it in an objective manner. We could judge something to be high
in quality if a significant number of people agree. However, this
merely equates quality with consensus. If a person strongly
disagrees with the majority, is it still reasonable to call this
judgment a judgment reflecting quality? Yes, it is if we view
quality as subjective.
One good reason to conceptualize quality as subjective is that
it seems to be influenced by our values. Differences in judged
quality may reflect differences in values. These differences
reflect personal quality. Consider the following examples of
quality judgments. One person may judge a book to be high in
quality because the writing is clear and vivid. Another person
may judge the same books as low in quality because it seems to
lack originality and depth. Thus, the first person mentioned may
highly value clarity and vividness. The second person
mentioned may highly value originality and depth.
Thus, in my view, the following is the best definition of quality:
Quality is a subjective judgment that reflects congruence
between our values and what we have experienced.