Quality as described by the managerial or excellence approach is a key component of modern business philosophy. According to this usage, quality is measured by customer satisfaction and is achieved by constantly striving to meet customers' requirements. The penalty for failure is loss of profitability and, ultimately an organizations' demise; the reward for success is survival in rapidly-changing competitive environments. The excellence approach can overturn traditional hierarchies and opens up new avenues of influence because it decrees that the entire workforce shares responsibility for quality. Management relies on leadership rather than on status. Vertical structures are replaced by horizontal ones in which small-scale units are responsible to continually improve their excellence.
Lack of qualitative excellence is demonstrated in a wide variety of fields: management standards in business administration emphasize economy and efficiency; entrepreneurial standards are set by payback and profitability ratios, with quality of products and services coming only second in consideration. In public administration, standards are focused on numbers of people served and for how long a time, so that qualitative aspects of the services offered are frequently subordinated to provisions for their durability. In the sciences, research that can provide immediate application is better funded than pure or basic research whose values are long-range. And in the arts, business considerations produce a popular culture where levels of expression and performance continually reach new depths.