Total Quality Management Essay Research Paper Does

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Total Quality Management Essay, Research Paper Does TQM benefit employees? As with almost all issues surrounding Total Quality Management, there is much confusion in academia as to whether TQM benefits employees. Much of the confusion arises from the difficulty of defining TQM. Academics and practitioners often disagree about the benefits (and even the objectives) of TQM.. Several quality “gurus’” and consulting firms are guilty of pushing a “condense(d) TQM theory” which has been simplified “to an easily imitated formula.” (Steel 17). All agree that with the introduction of TQM, employees tend to have more work. The question of what (or whether) the workers gain from the increased workload and challenge is pivotal to an assessment of TQM practices.

Unfortunately, because of the lack of a commonly accepted definition-and the difficulty in measurement of effect-few academicians have focused research efforts in this area. The theory of TQM is thought to have been a collaboration of the work of Crosby, Deming, Feigenbaum, Ishikawa, and Juran. Stephen Hill and Adrian Wilkinson, authors of “In Search of TQM” argue that there are three fundamental principles of Total Quality Management. The first is “customer orientation”. Much emphasis is placed on fulfilling clearly defined customer requirements. For example, employees are assigned both internal as well as external customers. The second principle is “process orientation.” For instance, work processes are broken down into basic tasks in an effort to reduce variability

and improve quality. The final principle is that of “continuous improvement”. The best method for a work process can always be improved. There is emphasis on change identification and execution by the actual worker. The academic community has focused little on TQM-largely because of the difficulty in assessing the effects of TQM on an organisation. It is difficult to prove that changes in an organisation are the result of the introduction of TQM. That workers are content or that profitability improves may be due to other events-subsequent to the introduction of TQM-such as increase in demand across an industry. “The research literature on TQM effects includes few studies whose designs permit definitive statements to be made about cause and effects.” (Hackman 324) Because

of the lack of research there certainly is no definitive answer to the question of whether TQM increases employees’ job satisfaction. Deming and Ishikawa identified three different sources of worker motivation associated with TQM initiatives. The first is “growing, learning, and developing one’s self.” (Hackman 327) J. Richard Hackman and Ruth Wegman, authors’ of “Total Quality Management: Empirical, Conceptual and Practical Issues”, emphasise that “TQM is pro-learning, with a vengeance.” (Hackman 330) TQM recommends creation of cross-functional quality teams. These teams allow members to encounter a variety of different perspectives which they would otherwise not encounter. TQM also emphasises employees learning new work processes, again helping the employees

to grow. As a result, the organisation’s labour force achieves greater flexibility. The second source of motivation cited by Deming and Ishikawa is “task motivation, the good feeling that comes from accomplishing things and seeing them actually work.” (Ishikawa, 1985; Deming, 1986; cited in Hackman 325) Employees are constantly challenged with TQM, for example to continuously improve work processes. This is clearly seen in the implementation of TQM at Pirelli Cables, examined in a case study written by P. Dawson. The author describes the creation of TQM teams, made up of 6 to 8 shopfloor volunteers and a facilitator. The team were challenged with a problem and given difficult but achievable targets. “Graphs showing efficiency rates are located next to machines undergoing