Biography

Philip B. Crosby
June 18, 1926 – August 18, 2001


The distinguished career of Mr. Philip B. Crosby (1926-2001) is eminent throughout the global quality community. For over 35 years, Mr. Crosby was both an illustrious philosopher and pragmatic practitioner of quality management. His writings have helped to stimulate international interest in the quality field that was a catalyst for a global awakening and driver for a worldwide movement that matured over the past two decades. His innovative thinking and creative outlook on quality management have been the inspiration for thousands of companies around the world. Mr. Crosby made many significant contributions to the core quality body of quality knowledge and served as an international ambassador extending the influence of quality thinking to the furthest parts of the globe. One area emphasized throughout Mr. Crosby’s career was his focus on clear communication of the message of quality. Mr. Crosby considered himself a writer and communicator who plainly spoke his message and reached a broad audience because of his clear and pragmatic writing style.

Mr. Crosby’s contributions and service are known throughout the global quality community and his influence has spanned the world at the level of international business leaders.

  • Philip B. Crosby worked to significantly advance the cause of the worldwide quality movement through his many personal contributions over the past four decades. He developed pragmatic concepts that are considered foundational elements of the body of quality knowledge, including his Four Absolutes of Quality Management:

    • Quality means conformance to requirements, not goodness.
    • Quality is achieved by prevention, not appraisal.
    • Quality has a performance standard of Zero Defects, not acceptable quality levels.
    • Quality is measured by the Price of Nonconformance, not indexes.

  • Mr. Crosby was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on June 18, 1926.
  • Mr. Crosby’s working life began after tours of duty during World War II and the Korean Conflict with education at medical school in between.
  • He worked for Crosley from 1952–1955; for Bendix Mishawaka from 1955 – 1957; and Martin-Marietta from 1957–1965. In 1964, he received the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from the Department of the Army in 1964 to recognize his development of the concept of Zero Defects. He served under ITT CEO Harold Geneen as Corporate Vice President of Quality from 1965-1979, when he established his own consulting firm.
  • His book Quality is Free was one of the initial signals of the decade of quality in the 1980’s when quality emerged as a viable career and work movement. It sold over 2 million copies.
  • In 1979 he founded Philip Crosby Associates, Inc. (PCA), and over the next ten years grew it into a publicly traded organization with 300 employees around the world and $100 million dollars in revenue. Through PCA’s Quality College, management learned how to establish a preventive culture to get things done right the first time. GM, Chrysler, Motorola, Xerox, many hospitals, and hundreds of corporations worldwide came to PCA to understand quality management. His philosophies have been ingrained into the fiber of these corporations both large and small.
  • In 1991 he retired from PCA and founded Career IV, Inc., a company that provided lectures and seminars aimed at helping current and prospective executives grow.
  • In 1997 he purchased the assets of PCA and established Philip Crosby Associates II, Inc. (PCA II). The Quality College continues to operate in over 20 countries around the world.
  • Mr. Crosby authored 13 books on quality that have been translated into 17 languages and have sold millions of copies in both hard and soft cover. Some of his most important books include:

    • Cutting the Cost of Quality, 1967
    • Quality Is Free: The Art of Making Quality Certain, 1979
    • Quality Without Tears: The Art of Hassle-Free Management, 1984
    • Running Things: The Art of Making Things Happen, 1986
    • The Eternally Successful Organization, 1988
    • Let’s Talk Quality, 1989
    • Leading: The Art of Becoming an Executive, 1990
    • Completeness: Quality for the 21st Century, 1992
    • Reflections on Quality, 1995
    • Quality Is Still Free, 1996
    • The Absolutes of Leadership, 1997
    • Quality and Me: Lessons of an Evolving Life, 1999

Mr. Crosby held an undergraduate degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, honorary law degrees from Wheeling College and Rollins College, and an honorary Doctor of Corporate Management from the University of Findlay.

Philip B. Crosby was a business philosopher with more than 40 years of hands-on management experience. He taught management how to cause their organizations, their employees, their suppliers, and themselves to be successful.