Human Resource Management within Purchasing Management: Its Relationship to Total Quality Management Success

By Carter, Joseph R.; Smeltzer, Larry R. et al. | Journal of Supply Chain Management, Spring 2000 | Go to article overview

Human Resource Management within Purchasing Management: Its Relationship to Total Quality Management Success


Carter, Joseph R., Smeltzer, Larry R., Narasimhan, Ram, Journal of Supply Chain Management


The extent to which human resource management (HRM) within purchasing management affects total quality management (TQM) was empirically tested. Five primary results emerged. First, organizations with more successful TQM programs were more likely to stress formal performance evaluations of purchasing employees. Second, purchasing employees at successful TQM firms were more involved in key decisionmaking processes that impact their jobs than their counterparts in less successful TQM firms. Third, purchasing employees in organizations with more successful TQM programs had a greater level of perceived support through job security and less fear of failure when taking a risk. Fourth, purchasing employees in more successful TQM firms had more TQM-related training. Fifth, purchasing employees in more successful TQM organizations were more likely to be rewarded for individual goal attainment than purchasing employees in less successful TQM organizations.

The role of human resource practices in the successful implementation of total quality management programs has been frequently addressed. In an attempt to develop a working definition for TQM, Miller argues that models should be developed and tested that examine the impact of quality management in terms of overall organizational performance (Miller 1996). But what organizational processes lead to TQM? More specifically, what effect does the interaction of human resource management and purchasing management have on total quality? An academic journal, the Journal of Quality Management, has been dedicated to the role of human resources and quality. However, the interaction of human resource practices with purchasing management and its impact on total quality have not been thoroughly analyzed. This statement is supported by researchers such as Morrow (1997), who has made efforts to analyze the relationship of TQM and human resource practices.

Because this interaction has not been addressed, the purpose of this research is to analyze the human resource practices within the purchasing process to determine their relationship to the success of total quality management programs. First, the literature on the relationship between human resource practices and TQM is analyzed. Second, as a result of this literature, hypotheses are presented that relate to TQM success and purchasing management. Third, these hypotheses are tested and their implications are discussed.

HUMAN RESOURCE PRACTICES AND TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT

The argument has been presented that within the context of TQM, human resource management must take a new or nontraditional perspective. The old model of simply refining past practices is not sufficient (Cardy and Dobbins 1996). A bona fide TQM program cuts across the organization and brings with it dramatic changes from traditional management practices (Hackman and Wageman 1995). These changes mandate a corresponding change in both the process and the content of HRM (Gibson, Ivancevich, and Donnelly 1991). Accordingly, a major research thrust within the context of TQM should be to develop a prescriptive model for appropriate

HRM practices. A major assumption of TQM is that people are naturally motivated to do a good job and to improve quality (Bounds and Dobbins 1992). Thus, it would seem that a prescriptive model is needed for purchasing that fits within the constraints of this assumption.

To begin developing a model for HRM practices that is consistent for purchasing in a TQM initiative, it is necessary to delineate the key HRM practices and test them within purchasing processes. A review of the literature indicates that five practices should be considered. Each of these practices is listed and a corresponding hypothesis is stated.

Purchasing Performance Evaluation

No doubt one of the best-known TQM proponents is W. Edwards Deming (1983). An important characteristic of his writings is an argument for the elimination of formal performance appraisals because they are perceived as contradictory to the purpose of TQM. …

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