Empowerment, Motivation, Training, and TQM Program Implementation Success

By Kappelman, Leon; Prybutok, Victor | Industrial Management, May/June 1995 | Go to article overview

Empowerment, Motivation, Training, and TQM Program Implementation Success


Kappelman, Leon, Prybutok, Victor, Industrial Management


Training is widely recognized by organizational development experts as an important component in successful planned change efforts. Training and education are important in preparing an organization for a change, in accomplishing the change itself, and in institutionalizing it as a permanent part of the organization. The importance of training in the successful implementation of TQM programs is also widely acknowledged because it provides an opportunity to inform employees about the goals of TQM, and it provides workers with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve those goals.

In a recent Industrial Management article concerning the successful implementation of TQM programs, Whalen and Rahim emphasized the importance of training, planning, management commitment, worker empowerment and motivation, as well as measurement, evaluation, and feedback. The authors point out that "lack of understanding and proper training [... are] a large contributor to worker resistance."

The outcomes of training, however, are not only knowledge and understanding as measured through objective learning outcomes. Educators and psychologists agree that learning can also have emotional and motivational outcomes, as measured through attitudes toward the learning itself or toward the change represented by the training. Thus, training can also provide an opportunity to empower and motivate employees, reducing employee resistance and increasing the chances of TQM success.

In an another recent Industrial Management article concerning TQM program success, and its relative scarcity, Tippett and Waits point out, "TQM emphasizes improving and motivating a company's most valued asset, its workforce." The authors develop a model that links employee empowerment with improved motivation. As a result, this directly impacts project management and the ultimate success of the TQM efforts. Yet they acknowledge, "The presence of important longer-term considerations such as motivation...and empowerment are often not closely monitored."

Worker empowerment is also important for keeping employees satisfied and productive, according to Harry Gaines, another author in the same issue of Industrial Management. He suggests that a key component of achieving an organizational transformation is to allow employees to get comfortable with change. He further points out that this comfort level may be the most important result of having employees take charge of their own personal growth and satisfaction. Moreover, this results in "numerous benefits to the organization. Employees feel they have more control over their careers and their lives...like being on a more equal footing...with managers, able to share more responsibility, and reap the benefits of improved motivation and morale among employees."

Methodology

We recently conducted a field study of a massive organizational transformation at fifty-two branches of a $40-billion interstate bank. The branches recently had been acquired from several small bank companies and were gradually being transformed in terms of the products and services, procedures and technologies, and TQM programs and processes of the new owner. The focus of the study was on the change over to the corporate-wide information system (IS) that supported all bank activities. The IS was a critical technological component of the company's TQM program because it facilitated complete, comprehensive, and accurate customer service from any branch or service center. Operational for more than five years at over 600 branches in five states, this information system was already a proven success in terms of meeting technical and organizational requirements. This allowed the study to focus directly on the process of change.

A questionnaire was pre-tested approximately two weeks before cutover to the new system. A total of 311 questionnaires were distributed using a stratified sampling methodology, and 103 usable questionnaires were returned. …

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