Total Quality Management (TQM)

Keywords: Quality Management Theories, Similarities among quality Theories, Leadership and TQM, Organizational Culture and TQM, Teamwork and Training – TQM, TQM and Quality Management System, Principles of QMS and system thinking school, Organization Process, Learning and TQM, Continuous Improvement, Quality control and Assurance, TQM and Critical Successful factors, International Quality Model and Awards, Benefits of TQM

Total Quality Management — Preface

In today world, ‘Total quality management’ (TQM) has become integral part of corporate management. In organizations quality is examined and reviewed in the light of TQM. Total quality management embrace concept which has moved away from traditional product or service attitude towards quality of all activities of organization.

According to Mukherjee (2013, p.32) stated that quality management ensures the consistency of an organizational product or service. He added that quality management is centered on both the quality of the product and also the method to achieve it. Therefore, quality is central philosophy for organization which involves elimination of wastage and continuous improvement in organizational activities.

Mandal, 2014 (p.79) discussed that TQM involve organizational management in the view of improving the quality of products and services in the company via continuous changes. TQM is based on the quality of a service from the customer’s viewpoint. Total quality management is a type of philosophy that focuses on customer’s need by incorporating all organizational functions.

The main objective of TQM is to ensure that the workers do the right thing, the first time and every time. TQM was originally functional to management operations; it is now used as a tool in all aspect of production of a service or product. Total quality management is aimed at promoting fairness and openness in a work environment by enabling the involvement of every employee in reaching the end product quality (Mandal, 2015).

According to Kelada (2015, p.20), development in TQM is linked with quality theories present by Juran, Deming, Crosby and Ishikawa. According to Juran, quality is linked to manage of organization. Juran argue that quality control must be integral part of organization management. It involves leadership and personal involvement to inspire quality vision across the organization.

On the other hand, unlike Juran, Deming theory is focus on improving quality through increase productivity which results in increase competitiveness for organization.

Oakland (2013) analysed that Deming suggest low quality incur high cost for organization which reduce its competitiveness. Moreover, Juran argue that organization must have quality policy in place and management should closely review the policy. Furthermore, in comparison to Juran and Deming that presented quality philosophy, Crosby present tool for quality management. Crosby theory describes TQM execution through management understanding and deploying problem solving techniques.

At last, not least, Ishikawa suggest for successful implementation of TQM, techniques of data usage must be understood by senior and front line management (Young, 2016).

Similarities among quality Theories

According to Corrigendum (2013), key focus of quality theories is having system and management which is based on leadership, team work, training and education, process improvement, quality culture, customer focus and cost reduction. Quality gurus argue quality is based on planning, taking action for quality improvement, defining a management control as well as having a proper quality control.

Author discussed that quality management consist of four parts namely, planning, improvement, control and assurance with the latter two used to attain consistent quality. Therefore, the framework suggest is consistent with work of earlier quality theories for planning, improvement, quality assurance and control is fundamental for TQM.

The similarities in the quality theories suggest that the practical outcome from the TQM is customer satisfaction as well as cost reduction for the organization. Moreover, to achieve this outcome the key process organization uses are leadership, training, team and quality culture (Mandal, 2015).

Leadership and TQM

Bust (2011) analyzed that there is strong relationship between TQM implementation in organization and its leadership. The ownership and commitment of the senior management is fundamental for success of TQM program. The ability of the senior for quality planning and control and then creating a vision for change is very important. Bust stated that the ability to design quality into deliverables before the beginning of a project is termed as quality planning.

Consequently, planning and promoting change lies at heart of organization. Leadership role in promoting change and understanding elements to create quality culture helps the organization to achieve its TQM objective. In addition, leadership as an effective method of creating and maintaining an environment in which people can be actively involved and committed towards achieving an organizational goal. Therefore, role of management could not emphasize less in achieving the TQM vision (Salaheldin, 2014).

According to Ganz (2009), the leadership gives an environment which empowers employees which helps to give employee direction and motivation. Leaders must set challenging goals and targets for the organization, establish a clear vision for employees thus, creating trust and eradicating fear. Management can achieve objectives and implement TQM through planning for quality and empowering employees.

This implies that this can only be achieved if the management and leader consider the needs of all the parties involved in the process cycle (customers, owners, employees, suppliers etc).  Finally, the principle of leadership also involves inspiring and recognizing people’s contribution to the development of the business (Kelada, 2015)

Organizational Culture and TQM

According to Fottler et al (2013), quality gurus define TQM emphases on employee empowerment to make decision and moving away from traditional status quo. Culture plays an important role in successful implementation of TQM. Nevertheless, researches have shown that TQM implementation involves complex activities and changing the culture of organization.

Organization have culture whereas TQM is unacceptable then it unlike to accept the change. Therefore, the buy-in of the employee for quality is fundamental and deploying TQM involves changing culture of organization which impact employees. Culture and employee buy-in is consider as successful critical factor in order to implement TQM in organization (Arivalagar and Naagarazan, 2015).

Teamwork and Training – TQM

Training plays an important role in successful implementation of TQM. Training is considered as backbone for TQM and fundamental to make improvement in quality. Training for the employees and involvement of employees plays critical role in success of TQM program in an organization. Moreover, cross functional team are important to increase performance and productivity in light of TQM.

Team and employment involve plays an important role to integrate activities and increase productivity. Employee involvement is building an atmosphere whereby people’s contribution towards decision that impacts their jobs is recognized (Seok, 2016).

Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1958) and Sadler (1970) created a framework for people contribution to decision in their job levels. They termed it the ‘Employee Involvement Model’. Therefore, team management and employee management is center to deploy the TQM program in an organization.

In applying this principle, people will be able to identify the constraints affecting their performance, accept ownership and responsibility in solving departmental problems, build team spirit by actively sharing knowledge and experience with team members and also easily evaluate their performance against set competency (Salaheldin, 2014).

TQM and Quality Management System

Traditional management theories presented by system thinking school had clear idea that these theories does not take full picture of organizational processes and was unable to give clear picture of the situation. In the light of traditional system thinking school, the relationship is considered as statistic between input, operation and output. System theories explain organization as open system with wide degree of complex processes and organization use number of feedback systems for survival in complex environment (Oakland, 2016).

According to Reid (2016), system is defined as complex interlinked system based on number element which cannot perform in isolation. The system is based on complexity, interface and feedback in organization. The diagram below shows the relationship between organization element and complexity in the environment.

TQM and business environment

Moreover, system thinking school explains complexity which in the end produces complex results for the function of organization. Interface is where two elements come together in order to exchange and design and effective system. The organizational process tries to achieve balance between the complexity and interface to deliver the results. The higher the complexity level, there are more chances system will destabilize. At last, not least, feedback works as control mechanism (Mandal, 2015).

Han and Chen (2015) are of the opinion that the principle of customer focus greatly promotes performance improvement through measuring customer satisfaction and feedback. The sub-systems in an organization shown as customer give feedback for quality to marketing department then operations and production department also interface with feedback.

Quality management system set the boundaries for effective interface and control in the organization. According to system school of thinking it suggest that management rather moving towards the reductionist approach, it should goes towards holistic approach. The different form of organization model which could describe the organization involve cybernetic, hard or soft model and the success of interface and complexity is measured through feedback system (Oakland, 2016).

In summary, system school of thinking explains the interaction of organization systems and handling the complex process. TQM does fit with perspective of open system model which states the components and their relationship. In the light of system school of theory, adapting to just one component such as leadership, team management, quality culture, or training and education, organization is likely to achieve success. Therefore, organization should embrace all components together to achieve the desire results.

Principles of QMS and system thinking school

According to Corrigedum (2013), this is the collative gathering of business processes aimed at meeting customers’ needs through attaining quality objectives and policies. System dynamic model highlight the interaction of variables present in the system and they impact on each other. This model highlights the interaction of the process, leadership, people management, customer satisfaction and outcomes or results from the system. This supports the consistency in the system process and reduces the cost through eliminating variability in the processes.

Likewise, to support the perspective of system dynamic model, Ganz (2014) also cited that a QMS is one in which an organization use to minimize and non-conformance standards into a quality standard one that meets customers requirement. He also added that the system needs to achieve this in a cost effective way for it to be termed as a quality system. This resulted in the shift of focus through a continuous improvement cycle to teamwork and dynamics.  In this century, quality management system has provided customers and investors with transparency and sustainability initiatives all with the aim to drive customer satisfaction (Young, 2016).

Critical linkages among TQM factors and business results

Customer Focus and satisfaction

According to Han and Chen (2016), organizations rely on their customers for profit, they need to strive to understand customers need on an ongoing basis In the light of Total quality management theory; customer satisfaction can be achieved through deploying customer focus. In applying this principle, there will be more effective communication of customers’ requirements throughout the organization. More also, this will bring about balancing the company’s objectives with customers expectation, stakeholders and business needs via proper researching and understanding of customer’s needs (Hoyle, 2014).

In order to achieve better result from customer organization must on its customer. Customer focus leads to rise in company’s image in the eyes of the customer leading to customer loyalty and also improved customer satisfaction by the increase in effectiveness of available resources in the organization to produce more quality product and service (Han and Chen, 2016).

Leadership and People Management

According to Rose (2015), management can involve the employees either through selling the decision; he/she sells the pros of the decision to the staff as a medium of winning over their commitment. The manager provides complete direction, makes the decision and then states his/her view to employees. Another step to involve is consultation with employees.

In this situation, manager asks for ideas and input by the employees while still holding the right to the final decision. At last not least, employee can be involved through the manager considers his/her voice equal to that of the staff. They are invited to create a decision process together (Kelada, 2014).

According to Fottler et al (2015), an increase in performance as people now feel more accountable for their on KPI ratings as one and also employee’s engagement as they are motivated when their voice is heard recognized and used for organizational development. Nevertheless, employee got motivated and quality circle and employee involvement can help the organization to achieve its objectives.

Process and business result

According to Garcia (2014), TQM principle focuses on how efficiently a desired result is achieved when there is a set process derived from managing activities and related resources from an organization. In applying the principle of process approach implied that the management is able to establish how best to be responsible and accountable for key activities in the organization.

Quality systems promote communication and measure the capability of these key activities. From the business to customer perspective, risk, impact of activities on end users and suppliers are more effectively evaluated. The process approach creates a defined system in which all activities of the product or service must pass through to yield the quality result (Mandal, 2014).

In summary, quality management system defines the organizational boundaries which help the organization to manage its process complexity over the time period. The interface and complexity management is phenomena which organization must overcome to reduce process variability and increase performance.

Leadership in the organization must plan for quality, support the team as well as give autonomy to employees. These actions of the management are important in order achieve results, increase productivity and achieve competitive advantage and success in the market.

Organization Process, Learning and TQM

Naagarazan (2015) discussed that organization learning is another important concept embedded in system theory and it helps to linkage between organizational learning and process management. Organization learning is known as ability to develop and maintain current level of knowledge and process for performance. The three fundamental process improvement and learning action for the organization involve its employee, continuous improvement and process. It involves the continuous capacity of organization to adapt and learn new process in an organization. Therefore, quality is linked to learning of organization and vice versa.

Organizational learning helps to deploy the continuous improvement, Employee motivation, management ownership as well as elimination of non-vale added activities from processes (Reid, 2016).

System Approach to Management

According to Buss and Van de Water (2014), it is known to integrate and harmonize processes. System approach defines and aims how some particular activities within a system should operate, thus improving the system via evaluation. The process of understanding and identifying a system interrelated processes achieve organizational objectives in an efficient and effective manner is known as ‘System Approach’.

This principle focuses on reducing cross-functional barriers by providing better understanding of the tasks required to achieve a common organizational objective.  The system development helps the organization to learn and develop knowledge which is helpful to increase productivity and performance. The organizational learning and system processes develop knowledge over the period and it helps the organization to deploy continuous improvement (Buss and Van de Water, 2016).

Continuous Improvement

According to Russell (2016), in the light of system dynamics model, organization must excel it processes to achieve the best business results. Organization primary objective as a means to improve processes, products and services. Thus, organization must achieve excellence in the processes over the period of time. This represents the organizational learning slightly over a period of time or as a one-time breakthrough improvement.

Russell stated that application of this principle assist in providing employees with improvement training methods, measurement and tracking metrics and giving direct ownership for continuous improvement to all individuals in the organization. Continual improvement promotes easy implementation of ideas as they come from the employees, thus are less likely to be radically different. It also improves work motivation in the office environment as employees are encouraged to take ownership of their work (Oakland, 2015).

Quality control and Assurance

According to Garcia (2015), quality assurance is the checks performed during the actual tasks to certify that the quality planning standard set are met. Quality control is used to develop the quality methods of a product or service by centering on outputs such as adjustment of processes, rework and acceptance decisions. Therefore, over the period time organization can learn from its process and develop knowledge which helps the organization to eliminate the waste and achieve quality in the long run.

Furthermore, learning from process will help the organization to deliver quality for the customer and reduce cost.  Quality assurance with eliminate the non-vale added activities from organizational processes and increase it performance and productivity. There are tools such as quality audits and benchmarking used for quality assurance.

Quality audits is reviewing quality in a structured way with the aim of improving performance while benchmarking is basically comparing similar products or methods with already existing ones with known quality (Young, 2015)

In summary, organizational learning involve process development, continuous improvement and quality assurance over the period of time. Organization learning from its processes and manage the future complexity based on the knowledge. The learning is processes itself which help the organization to deploy continuous improvement and subsequently, it can deliver quality assurance and performance.

TQM and Critical Successful factors

The identification of critical success factor associated with TQM is fundamental in order to successful implementation of TQM program in an organization. According to Salaheldin (2014),  the critical sccesss assoicted with sccessful TQM implementation are

  • Organization culture of quality
  • Stakeholder (employee and customer) management
  • Quality planning and measurement
  • Supplier Partnership
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Customer satisfaction and communication

Hence, organization must focus on its processes, customer, employee, supplier and communication to successfully implement the TQM framework in an organization. The leadership must be dedicated to the quality as well as provide resource and initiatives to support TQM application. Manager interaction to keep healthy relationship with its employee and providing resources and support will help the organization to deploy TQM. Work culture and customer focus are also two fundamental factors behind success of TQM (Kelada, 2016).

International Quality Model and Awards

Globally, there are number of quality awards available which include European quality, Deming Prize or Malcolm quality model. The basic purpose of these model include enhance awareness of quality program, better market assessment and competitive, organization get benefit from quality strategies as well as continuous improvement in the process. These quality awards provide framework to deploy and evaluate success of TQM in organization.

These awards provide useful implication in terms of productivity and performance improvement in an organization. Each of the award compromises of two part process which is TQM deployment in an organization and second organization achieving its objectives (Oakland, 2015).

Product Quality and TQM

According to Kyer and Ozer (2015), item quality is characterized as qualities of a completed item by a maker to meet its sought prerequisite by the customers. Product quality  checks is performed by the quality confirmation division in most association to guarantee that it meets both client agreeableness and industry norms before they are put into the business sector.


Poor quality has a negative impact on the productivity of a company. Ganz (2009) stated that in a scenario where the manufacturing plant mixes the use of low-quality and high-quality parts to manufacture a product, it can lead to system breakdown despite the use of some high-quality parts. The quality systems usually fail to address the problem related to quality and therefore, it increase wastage and non-vale added activities.


According to Lee and Yu (2015), employee engagement and teamwork is a key factor to good product quality. They also stated that increase in profitability occurs in an environment with smooth workflow than one which product quality is a second thought. The increase non-vale added activities increase the cost for the company, which decrease the profits of company.

Customer Satisfaction

Product quality is directly proportional to customer satisfaction. Welikala and Sohal (2015) implied that this is measured through feedback, reviews and surveys.  Both satisfied and dissatisfied customers use this as a medium to express their feelings on a product. TQM improves a company’s image as good products are ranked high by customers compared to products with poor quality or service.

Moreover, product quality increases the customer satisfaction and subsequently, increases the sales of company. There is a high tendency for customers to move to competition brands if they notice lack of reliability or substandard in the initial product purchased (Salaheldin, 2015).


According to Platkus (2014), the use of cheap materials for training and production in most cases, leads to lack of knowledge by the production staff.  Although these systems might be expensive to purchase, the easy intuition to the staff and little or no maintenance/breakdown over a long period of time will save the company money. Nevertheless, the poor product result in additional cost for company in terms of increase scraps returns and increase cost.

Benefits of TQM

Mandal (2016) discussed the principle of executing TQM is wiped out or minimize lapses that outcomes from a work framework. This at the end of the day expands gainfulness and proficiency of the framework. TQM touches ranges in a framework which needs change and evacuation of pointless errands and exercises. One noteworthy goal of each industry is to meet client’s prerequisite.

By applying the idea and component of aggregate quality administration, managers have the capacity to recognize clients’ desires TQM energizes adaptability among representatives, consequently human asset cost. TQM increment in productivity is seen in the item benefit since the expense decrease move through main concern benefits (Young, 2015).

Increased Efficiency:

Lee and Yu (2012) explained that the main of implementing TQM eliminate or minimize errors that results from a work system. This in other words increases productivity and efficiency of the system. TQM address the areas in a system which needs modification and removal of unnecessary tasks and activities which increase customer satisfaction and better productivity for organization.

Customer Satisfaction

Paulova and Mlkva (2011) analyzed that one major objective of every industry is to meet customer’s requirement. By applying the concept and element of total quality management, supervisors are able to identify customers’ expectations. TQM reduces risk of errors in finished products, thus improving the quality of the product and service. The reduced cost and better quality helps the customer receive product with better value at same cost. The consistent product quality helps organization to deliver product with quality.

Promotes Flexibility

Platkus (2014) discussed that TQM encourages flexibility among employees, in return human resource cost. Employee’s share and gain knowledge among themselves and other external customers, their skills broaden. Over time, they can perform effectively in other job functions within the organization without need of training. The multi-skill staff helps the organization to allocate resources effectively and increase productivity.

Organizational Development and Defect Reduction

Marsh (2010) studied that Total quality management focuses on improving quality rather than checking quality in an existing process. This reduces the amount of time and cost needed for quality assurance as the implementing TQM concept will largely reduce the time needed to fix errors. The quality assurance and organizational learning help the organization to reduce its defect and improve competitiveness. The organizational process and leadership commitment helps the organization to deliver product with added value for customer and profitability for organization.


This chapter was started by reviewing the quality concepts from Juran, Crosby, Deming and Ishikawa. Moreover, these theories highlighted the importance of leadership, team work, training and education, process improvement, quality culture, customer focus for successful implementation of TQM in an organization.

Moreover, different element of TQM were examined which involve leadership; quality culture and customer focus to successfully implement TQM in an organization. The implementation of TQM starts with the top management and without any support from management it is likely to successful in organization. The system thinking school has helped to understand interface and complexity of the organization.

This highlights the importance of organizational process interaction and successful combination of customer focus, process management, teamwork, quality culture can helps the organization to achieve its TQM implementation.

TQM can help the organization to develop continues learning environment through its interaction with environment, continuous improvement as well as quality assurance and control to develop sustainable quality framework over long period of time. The international quality awards along critical success factor in deployment of TQM is discussed.

At last, not least, the impact of TQM on the product and implication of poor product as well as overall benefit of TQM is discussed.


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