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Qualitative properties are properties that are observed and can generally not be measured with a numerical result. They are contrasted to quantitative properties which have numerical characteristics.
Some engineering and scientific properties are qualitative. A test method can result in qualitative data about something. This can be a pass/fail, conform/non-conform, or categorical result. It can sometimes be an engineering judgement.
Qualitative properties in businesses
Some important qualitative properties that concerns businesses are:
Human factors, 'human work capital' is probably one of the most important issues that deals with qualitative properties. Some common aspects arwork, motivation, general participation etc. Although all of these aspects are not measurable in terms of quantitative criteria, the general overview of them could be reviewed quantitative.
Environmental issues, since the time of the 80's a growing aspect for businesses. Although a lot of these aspects are regulated by law (and this is increasing) and quantitatively measurable, there are properties that are qualitative e.g.: environmental friendly production, responsibility for the entire life of a product (from the raw-material till scrap), attitude towards safe/efficient/minimum waste production and acting in order to achieve this.
Ethic issues closely related to environmental and human issues. Things like child-labour, illegal dumping of waste etc. Are considered under the name of ethic issues. These topics are for more formal aspects covered in the corporate governance.
The way a company deals with its stockholders (the 'acting' of a company) is probably the most obvious qualitative aspect that people generally deal with. Although behaviour of something measuring in qualitative terms is difficult, most people can (and will) make a judgement about the behaviour on the base how they (feel) treated. This indicates that qualitative properties are closely related to 'the way how things feel or be felt', emotional impressions prevail ratio.
- Quantitative properties