Total Quality Management - Lessons Learned in the USA

By Holder, Todd; Walker, Lorin | Management Services, July 1993 | Go to article overview

Total Quality Management - Lessons Learned in the USA


Holder, Todd, Walker, Lorin, Management Services


The Total Quality Management (TQM) movement is taking hold in the public and private sectors throughout the United States. This ubiquitous approach is now found in all types of organisations, including manufacturing, government, service industries, research and development and education.

Why is this attention to quality taking place in so broad a spectrum? The simple, but accurate, answer is competition. In the global economy of today, the quality of many American products and services does not always compare favourably to that of our foreign counterparts. Building quality organisations has become the response of many American institutions.

As research on TQM programmes accumulates, it becomes clear that the manner in which these programmes are implemented has a great deal to do with whether they add to or subtract from organisation productivity. There have been several obvious failures in recent months of companies that had invested heavily in TQM. One, Florida Power and Light Company, which had won the prestigious Deming Award, has recently questioned the overall value added by initiating TQM. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal reporting on a major study conducted jointly by the American Productivity Association and Ernst and Young, American companies who had initiated quality programmes were successful in only one third of the cases! Also, in 1991, The American Electronic Association (AEA) surveyed 300 electronic companies. Seventy-three percent of the companies reported having a TQM programme underway, but of these, 63 per cent had so far failed to improve on quality defects by even as much as 10 percent. Obviously, simply putting a TQM programme into effect does not guarantee that institutions or companies will be any more competitive than if they had not put one into effect.

From the research and from our own experiment with TQM at the Superconducting Super Collider (SSCL) near Dallas, Texas, we have tried to sort out the ingredients and, in some cases, the combination of ingredients it takes to make TQM work. We have been building a TQM programme here for over one year now, and have learned some lessons on what works and what does not.

MODEL

In his book Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance(2) Thomas Gilbert provides a model for organisational productivity. The major reasons why people working together are either competent or incompetent are included in the model. We will use this model to organise the presentation of our thinking about TQM implementation.

In simple terms, there are three major sources of performance (see figure 1 overleaf)(figure 1 omitted): 1 Information, 2 Resources and 3 Motivation of the people involved. Both individual contributors and management bring resources to the organisational formula. When broken down into matrix cells, it is management's (informational) role to-1 make expectations clear as to what is to be done, and 2 to provide feedback on how well workers have performed. (Cell No 1). Management also is responsible for providing the necessary resources(Cell No 2) for completing the job (time, budget, equipment, authority, etc). If incentives are applied in appropriate ways productivity (motivation) can be enhanced (Cell No 3).

The employees also bring much to the productivity formula. The skills and knowledge they have learned (Cell No 4) are indispensable. Their capacity in the form of intellectual, emotional and physical natural resources, are also needed (Cell No 5). And the inherent motivation to do a good job sparks everything else (Cell No 6).

When the companies that have successfully made the adjustment to a quality organisation (eg Xerox, Motorola, Corning, and others) are assessed against this model, the sources of variance (see figure 2) can be traced to these six cells. If any are lacking, productivity will be lost. We are using the model as a convenient vehicle for presenting the sources of variance for successful TQM productivity. …

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
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 - Lessons Learned in the USA
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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

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.