The Importance of Learning Styles in Total Quality Management-Oriented College and University Courses
J. E. Romero-Simpson
Learning style is a construct contained in Kolb's ( Kolb, Rubin, & Osland, 1991) 1984 Experiential Learning Theory (ELT). Both total quality management (TQM) and ELT are conceived in this chapter as meta models and have proved useful in the design and delivery of an Organizational Behavior (OB) course. A meta model may be defined as "a model describing many other models. As such, the purpose of metamodeling is not to present new information, but to organize and synthesize existing information systematic patterns. Out of these patterns one can sense an underlying, inherent organization that was 'there' all the time" ( Ivey & Matthews, 1984). It is relevant to conceptually explore the nature of the relationship between ELT and TQM. The comparison will mainly focus on TQM's plan-do-study-act cycle and ELT's learning styles.
The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the role of learning styles in an OB course delivered under a TQM approach. This chapter will also offer a set of suggestions to those interested in implementing a course under a similar approach.
TQM holds great potential for improving the economic situation of the United States and of other countries in the global marketplace ( Dobins, 1991). This is why its teaching in business schools hall become imperative. In 1989, Christopher Hart, a Harvard Business School professor, stated: "For quality . . . there is as yet no predetermined body