Author Topic: Total Quality Management - TQM  (Read 721 times)

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Total Quality Management - TQM
« on: October 09, 2017, 02:47:55 PM »
The starting point of Total Quality Management (TQM) is quite different from the structural and instrumentalist approaches. TQM sees the objective of quality management and quality assurance as part of the process of managing a changing organisation, culture and environment and using change management to align the mission, culture and working practices of an organisation in pursuit of continued quality improvement. TQM thus views all quality management processes as being specifically designed to constantly challenge an organisation’s current practices and performance and thus to improve an organisation’s inputs and outputs. Part of this mission, for example, entails assessing where and when internal obstacles occur.

A critical element of the TQM method is that it is highly “people-orientated” and participative. It assumes that a quality culture is an integral and necessary part of an organisation, and that all line functions within an organisation are quality interfaces. This approach assumes that all members of an organisation are responsible for quality assurance (maintenance and improvement) and thus that quality is not a centralized activity, but devolved to various functional and organisational levels.

TQM can broadly be described as embodying five critical principles, namely:

0   The creation of an appropriate climate within an organisation, particularly with regard to establishing a quality culture and empowering all members to participate in and
take responsibility for quality improvement. An aspect of this climate is the creation
of a ‘dissatisfied state’: a state in which critical questions are constantly being asked about current inputs, processes, performance and outcomes. This requires a process of research, analysis, measurement and feedback, with a view to improving the current state of operations.
0   A customer orientation whereby customer requirements are agreed, and customers are
an integral part of delivery. Regular progress evaluations are carried out in all
functions against identified customer needs and expectations. In TQM the customer is
both an internal and an external stakeholder and target group, and is the focus of all levels of an organisation’s hierarchy.
0   Management by research, data and fact. This principle stresses the importance of
‘objective’ information from which an organisation can generate an assessment (as opposed to subjective or hearsay evidence). Emphasis is placed on statistical and quantitative research techniques to generate information. Surveys are also a common feature of TQM, but are used in the context of assisting with fact-finding. Data generated is then analyzed and translated into action plans, indicators and objectives for improvement. These plans are then compared with previous plans, and improvement is quantified. What is useful about this research technique is that over time patterns do and can emerge which are useful tools in measuring and predicting improvements.
0   Having a people-based and participative management philosophy that stresses
problem-solving and seeking improvement opportunities in teams.
0   Continuous quality improvement is the ongoing objective of TQM and stresses that
an organisation must remain cognizant of its purpose to strive for improvement. This sense of purpose guides an organisation in the allocation of resources to its plans.

TQM is undoubtedly a difficult, time-consuming and arduous process that demands qualities and skills of leadership and staff lacking in most organisations. It therefore cannot be seen as a ‘quick-fix’ solution or strategy. It is the most comprehensive and analytical of models, and is conceptually in line with the more fluid management style associated with market-driven and entrepreneurial organisations.
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