In this paper I will discuss the management and leadership roles and responsibilities in relation to Total Quality Management.
Within the past two decades, total quality management represents one of the most profound changes in the way companies are now being managed. According to Biech (1994), "Quality improvement (TQM) is a customer-focused, quality-centered, fact-based, team driven, senior management-led process to achieve an organizations strategic imperative through continuous process improvement" (pp. 1-2). The benefits associated with TQM includes higher quality, lower cost products and services that aligns with customer demands (Zbaracki, 1998). The ability of a company to respond to the needs of its customers measures the overall success of that company. Many organizations may ask the question, what is quality? As Hick (1998) explains, "quality is meeting or exceeding the needs and expectations of the customer" (p.1). What exactly are the expectations of the customers? It is now the responsibility of the organization to define those needs. Perhaps Biech (1994) provides a simpler picture, "Quality is the measure of satisfaction that occurs between a customer and supplier that only they can define. In other words, quality is what the customer says it is" (p.25). Yet according to Perigord (1987), "Total quality means that all participants in a company are involved regardless of their position in the hierarchy" (p.7). Basically making it seem impossible for quality to be successful if all members are not sharing in the same vision and/or goals.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming is well known for the introduction of the concept involving quality management. After World War II, Deming gained exclusive recognition throughout Japan, which later flourished to his homeland. During the early 1950's, Deming was invited to Japan to aide in he recovery of Japan's economy. Going through a period of economic hardship and declines, the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) called on Deming's expertise. In 1980, Dr. Deming introduced 14 key factors behind this idea of quality management. Gitlow (1994) notes the following as 14 points discussed in Deming's work, "Out of the Crisis". (see Appendix 1).
After Deming's success with his Japanese counter partners, many North American manufacturers began to focus in on the Japanese strategies. The Japanese not only adopted Deming's ideas for manufacturing, but also expanded them to include administrative and service industries. The implementation of quality concepts began to flourish along with the techniques that focused in on employee motivation, measurement, and rewards (Hick, 1998). During the eighties, quality improvement had yet again...