Academic journal article Ahfad Journal

Benchmarking Human Resource Management (HRM) Practices in the Sudan against Total Quality Management (TQM) Models

Academic journal article Ahfad Journal

Benchmarking Human Resource Management (HRM) Practices in the Sudan against Total Quality Management (TQM) Models

Article excerpt

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Introduction

In contrast to conventional management theories, the total quality management philosophy advocated by Deming (1986) and other quality gurus' calls for a new way of managing every aspect of the organization including human resource. Total Quality Management TQM is a management philosophy concerned with people and work processes that focuses on customer satisfaction and improves organizational performance. However, TQM is a challenge to conventional management techniques and theories that underlie them. That is, it cannot simply be grafted onto the existing management structure and systems. Under TQM, manager's priorities are reordered, their decision making and control functions contract and their role as consultants and coachers grows. Moreover, TQM calls for systematic changes in management practices, including the redesign of work, the redefinition of managerial roles, the redesign of organizational structure, the learning of new skills by employees at all levels, and reorientation of organizational goals (Gant et al. 1994).

The construct of TQM includes among other things a new approach for managing human resource. It follows that the shift towards TQM necessitates departing from conventional personnel management polices and activities. The system orientation of quality management must be manifested in human resource management activities and processes. One hypothesis developed is that: There is no difference between the human resource management practices in the selected companies and the TQM-oriented human resource management practices.

TQM gained acceptance as a management tool during the 1980s. It builds on the ideas of Deming (1986), Juran (1988), Ishikawa (1985), and others who developed the idea of quality beyond its prior emphasis on statistical control (Montgomery et al. 1996). Its popularity is witnessed through a range of quality awards at the national (for example the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the United States) and international levels, for example (European Foundation for Quality Management Model (EFQM), (George 1990).

Oakland defines TQM as "an approach to improving the effectiveness and flexibility of business as a whole. It is essentially a way of organising and involving the whole organisation, every department, every single person at every level" (2003, p. 2).

TQM which has been adopted by leading industrial companies is a participative system empowering all employees to take responsibility for improving quality within the organization. Instead of using traditional bureaucratic rule enforcement, TQM calls for a change in the corporate culture, where the new work climate has the following characteristics: an open problem-solving atmosphere, participatory decision making, and trust among all employees, sense of ownership and responsibility for goal achievement, and problem solving and self-motivation and control by all employees (Oakland 2003).

The paper addresses benchmarking the conventional human resource practices and TQM based human resource management practices. It is concerned with establishing performance gap between human resource management practices in selected enterprises and human resource management practices from a total quality management perspective.

TQM-oriented Human Resource Management (HRM) Practices

There is a long history of research that has focused on the relationship between quality and a number of human resource management practices and systems. According to Deming the "wealth of nations depends on its people, management and government, more than its natural resources". Thus, quality experts, consider human resource is the only resource as the only resource that can synergize, that is, produce output whose value is higher than the sum of its parts (2000, p. 6).

There is increasing evidence that TQM has not fulfilled its promise. …

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