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Total quality management, also called TQM in short, is the process of organizing teams and processes for the purpose of bringing together individuals so that the quality was improved through training and new technology. The importance of this activity was recognized right in the beginning, as these are the two most important elements. There are individual performers in every organization who are capable of meeting the most stringent needs of the customers, and the job of TQM is to blend together the special skills of these people with the entire organization. In organizations where TQM is successful, the two aspects of demand, by the customers and teams and processes, the manufacturing team in the organization ultimately forms one team with the same objectives. Failures arise when aspects of one of the two elements dominate the other, and this results in the methods not being accepted wholeheartedly. The organizational names for these two are called the HRD systems and OD systems. The blending of the organizational and human resources management systems is called Total Quality Management. Managers committed to TQM must organize the HRD model and the OD model that work together.
For improving organizational functioning, TQM has been seen to be an effective process, but there must be a comprehensive and well thought out process for its successful implementation. Superficially, TQM may be seen only as a technology change in the organization for doing the tasks. But the operations mean different things to different people. In human terms, it is a way of treating clients; for service, the delivery methods that are applied. For the ancillary organizational processes this involves paperwork, procurement processes and similar procedures. There are also changes that take place in the organizations culture, its norms, values and beliefs about the functioning of the organization. Changes also take place in the political systems involving decision making processes and power bases. All three areas of technology, culture and politics must change in the same direction for TQM to be successful.
The technology change in TQM cannot work till the cultural and political systems are changed as well (Tichey, 1983). Others like Hyde in 1992 and Chaudron in 1992 have remarked that a radical change takes place in the culture and style of working due to TQM in an organization. (Hyde, 1992; Chaudron, 1992) This is an important issue for the leadership, and their philosophy, style and behavior. These aspects must be as clear as when they are presented by the leader. There are many leaders, who claim to be enlightened, and these results in their talking about a participative style of management, but the style is not participative in practice. Before proceeding on a serious issue like TQM, the concerned manager should first decide his own opinions about the required changes in culture. This may mean that some of the managers may require a program of leadership development personally, before starting on the program for TQM. (Bennis, 1989)
Alignment among various organizational systems may also end up as key considerations (Chaudron, 1992; Hyde, 1992). There must be alignment to the TQM culture, along with support from different human resource systems like job design, selection processes, compensation and rewards, performance appraisal, and training and development. Measurement and tracking of service quality at the new levels has to be undertaken by the information systems. Realignment of budgeting and resource allocation may have to be taken up by the financial management processes as a special measure. TQM will change the entire organization structure and design with reduction in layers of management and differences in organization roles of managers.
This will have special effects on middle level managers and first line supervisors, as they will have to change their method of operation. They will no longer be monitors, order givers and controlling agents, but will become boundary managers, coordinators, and the leaders of workers who assist them in doing their jobs. TQM changes will first put the fear of being sacked in many employees, and this is one of the fears that must be first removed through management reassurances. Of course, it may change the jobs of some of the workers, but there will be no sackings. The implementation of TQM should be based on the strategic plans of the organization and also based on the expectations of the stakeholders - this is a systems consideration.
Another important consideration is regarding the environmental considerations, though it is still not very common in many organizations, but planning must take that into account, if required. TQM must be done with a purpose, and there should be a shared feeling within the whole organization that it will be effective in implementation of the organizational goals. Any organization has to be driven by results, and so TQM cannot become an end in itself. A sudden decision to set up TQM, without a felt need and conditions of the organization will not receive the required help and support from both the managers and workers. The reactions of people to TQM are important and should be studied, before implementation.
TQM will introduce large-scale changes, and that will cause a lot of resistance to be generated, and these should be addressed directly by the change agents. TQM involves working with the customers, and this is an important element, so feedback and expectation levels must be sought from the clients or customers. This will lead on to collaboration with them, and the quality requirement may be defined by the client. This is a concept which is very different from the present methods of working in many organizations, like protective services. The workers also generally do not like to deal with statistics and data, and this feeling may just be carried over when the TQM implementation goes on. This will make collection and analysis of data difficult, which is required in TQM. The management may not like the workers to get more powers. Yet, TQM operates on the principle of employee involvement, and this has to result in their getting more powers, and it may be felt that with this, the management will lose some of their authority, which is not true. These changes require training, self-reflection, teaching as well as repeated assurances from the top management of no sacking to all levels in the organization.
If TQM is introduced only as a pilot program or in only particular sections, there will be resistance in other parts of the organization (Hyde, 1992). TQM terms like inventory or order backlog may also meet with employee resistance, at a wide level (Cohen and Brand, 1993). These may be tackled with certain tactics, which will remove the employee resistance to implementation. These tactics acknowledge the resistance when it is legitimate, and change on that basis. It uses the effective leaders to enroll people in the support of TQM, and use them to gain the participation of employees. The method of systematically identifying areas of resistance is a technique called a force field analysis (Brager and Holloway, 1992).
It uses the driving forces within the organization to create a force field, and this field assists the change, or makes the change more likely. They also restrict the restraining forces or the forces which will throw up the points of resistance get in the way of the change. The people who would not like the change to occur will have to be taken care of by the forces which are moving the scheme forward. The analysis of the force field means looking at methods of helping the driving forces and eliminating, mitigating or counter-acting the restraining forces. When the driving forces are strong, and will be able to move the restraining forces back, then it may be judged that it would be worthwhile to proceed with TQM. To move the relevant forces, change plans may be designed including tactics.
Noting down and validating important but real points of resistance are also an important part of TQM, like the limited amount of time available for TQM meetings of the staff. These methods will help the adaptation of the TQM process to take care of the special situations in the organization. TQM must be sold based on the organization's real needs, legitimate risks and negatives noted, and the procedures set up must be improved. This style of operation will improve the credibility of the person in charge of implementation, and also his readiness to look critically at the process. An effort must be made to get all employees on the same side, making sincere efforts to reach the target. For this, leadership is required, and the specific types of effective leadership are called transformational or visionary leadership (Bennis and Nanus, 1985).
If there is an increase in the participation of employees for making decisions about various aspects of the process, it will decrease resistance to change to a great extent. There are also two reasons for increasing participation of employees (Pakard, 1989). When there is a high employee commitment to the outcomes, they themselves will feel a…[continue]
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