Total Quality Management in Local Government

By Kline, James J. | Government Finance Review, August 1992 | Go to article overview

Total Quality Management in Local Government


Kline, James J., Government Finance Review


Examples of total quality management at work in a variety of communities illustrate how the customer-service ethic made famous by Japanese manufacturers is being applied to local government operations in the United States.

Japanese economic success has been driven by the production of quality products, and the magnitude of their success has meant that quality is now the defining measure of economic competitiveness. American businesses in the early 1980s recognized that if they were to compete in a quality-driven world economy, they had to adopt methods of production and management that facilitated the development of quality products.

To provide better quality service, to deal better with fiscal stress and to improve efficiency, a growing number of city and county governments have adopted quality-oriented management processes. The research upon which this article is based indicates that there are more than 100 local governments in various stages of implementing such processes and the number is growing as exposure increases.

Process and Structure

The quality-oriented management process is known by various names. The Japanese call it total quality control. Other names are: total quality process, quality improvement process and total quality. The most common designation, in both the public and private sector, is total quality management.

Total Quality Management (TQM) is an organizational philosophy that stresses meeting customer requirements and expectations the first time and every time. This philosophy is implemented through the use of a management process which: 1) identifies and corrects problems by means of data, not opinions or emotions; 2) empowers employees and uses teams to identify and solve problems; and 3) continuously seeks to improve the entire organization's ability to meet or exceed the demands of internal and external customers. A key assumption is that 85 percent of the productivity and quality improvements in any organization result from improving the work systems and processes.

Each organization has molded TQM to fit its particular circumstances and needs. The administrative structures illustrated in this article represent the more formalized and comprehensive approaches that are being implemented. Regardless of the structure adopted, each TQM process contains a majority of the following elements: * top-level support and commitment, * a customer driven orientation, * employee involvement in productivity

and quality improvement efforts, * rewards for quality and productivity

achievement, * training in methods for improving

productivity and quality,

reducing barriers to productivity and

quality improvement, * productivity and quality measures and

standards that are meaningful to the

implementing department/unit, and * written vision or mission statements

which are linked directly to team-established

targets or goals.

The most common techniques (sometimes called quality tools or statistical process control techniques) used to determine where productivity and quality improvements can be made are brain-storming and multi-vote methods, Pareto charts, flow charts, scattergarms, histograms, run charts, control charts and surveys. Because many of these techniques were developed in manufacturing or production-oriented organizations, not all are fully applicable to other situations, such as service-oriented groups and government operations.

The administrative stages which link the quality tools with improvement recommendations and management implementation are symbolized by the acronym PDCA: plan, do, check, act. In the plan stage, a product or service is selected for examination, customers are identified and the work process analyzed to determine where changes need to be made. The do stage is where change is implemented on a small scale in selected areas within the organization.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Total Quality Management in Local Government
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.