Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Job Analysis in the TQM Environment

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Job Analysis in the TQM Environment

Article excerpt

TQM (Total Quality Management) represents a significant departure from traditional management practices both as issues of organizational culture and work design. Many management and design concepts associated with a quality environment are discussed briefly in a section that follows. Our focus is on those concepts that give guidance for job analysis to support personnel assessment activities. Following identification of these relevant TQM concepts we will discuss requirements for adaptation of traditional job analysis techniques suggested by these attributes of a quality driven organization. Emphasis is on what is different from what we do now in job analysis.

An important point of departure, however, is to understand that there are few operational ideas about how personnel systems have to change to accommodate the TQM environment. Assessment, as a subcategory, is equally under supplied with benchmarks or models. In as much as most human resource management actions must stem from work related empiricism, the aim of this essay is to provide ideas for job analysis under a quality regime.

Relevant Quality Concepts

Different theorists and consultants in the quality field emphasize various aspects.(1) We discuss the following subjects which appear to be most important from the perspective of job analysis: TQM is concerned with quality and its continuous improvement; the external customer, or person affected by outputs is the ultimate source of quality judgements; the system or subsystem leading to productive outputs, and considering resource inputs, is the focus of attention; the organization is studied and portrayed as systems; besides ultimate clientele or consumers of outputs, all persons in the stream of production are considered to be customers; groups of employees and managers work on problem solving; every person is to be a process manager; employees are trained in problem solving techniques, including process analysis and statistical quality control. Several of these topics are grouped for discussion.

Quality and Improvement

The underlying philosophical principle is that quality and its continuous improvement are important objectives. As high quality is achieved, improvement will be seen in other performance measures such as productivity. Emphasis is on improvement of processes and measurement of quality. Quality is defined variously, such as impact of outputs, attitudes of consumers or clients, etc. Thus, the management style that emphasizes results, such as Management By Objective (MBO), would be changed to a concern for process and process improvement. As part of the TQM emphasis on improvement of processes, the ideal organization would select, train, and involve all employees to this end. Where this cannot be achieved, the second best situation involves especially designated groups of workers and managers to carry out improvement activities.

The Systems Approach

Dysfunctions resulting from functional departmentation are problems that have been extensively discussed in the literature of organization theory and behavior.(2) This pattern of organizational insularity produces its worst effects when work processes flow through several organizational units, each subdivided and with discrete goals for the process. In the public service, problems resulting are often compounded by statutory requirements for independence; for example, in the case of the police and sheriff, the district attorney, the courts, and boards of supervisors or county commissioners. In the private sector, market research, product design, manufacturing, and marketing sometimes work at counter purposes.

For TQM, the flow process which results in organizational outputs is the focus. Flows are scoped as systems with processing stages, overall outputs, inputs, and objectives. Getting traditional product oriented organizations (such as the private sector example mentioned) to operate as a system is generally easier than is the case for public or service sector organizations. …

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