Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a business management strategy aimed at embedding awareness of quality in all organizational processes. TQM has been widely used in manufacturing, education, call centers, government, and service industries, as well as NASA space and science programs.


TQM is composed of three paradigms:
*Total: Involving the entire organization, supply chain, and/or product life cycle
*Quality: With its usual definitions, with all its complexities []
*Management: The system of managing with steps like Plan, Organize, Control, Lead, Staff, provisioning and organizingFact|date=September 2007.

As defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO):

:"TQM is a management approach for an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society." ISO 8402:1994 Fact|date=September 2007

One major aim is to reduce variation from every process so that greater consistency of effort is obtained. (Royse, D., Thyer, B., Padgett D., & Logan T., 2006)

In Japan, TQM comprises four process steps, namely:

# "Kaizen" – Focuses on "Continuous Process Improvement", to make processes "visible", "repeatable" and "measurable".
# "Atarimae Hinshitsu" – The idea that "things will work as they are supposed to" (for example, a pen will write).
# "Kansei" – Examining the way the user applies the product leads to improvement in the product itself.
# "Miryokuteki Hinshitsu" – The idea that "things should have an aesthetic quality" (for example, a pen will write in a way that is pleasing to the writer).Fact|date=September 2007

TQM requires that the company maintain this quality standard in all aspects of its business. This requires ensuring that things are done right the first time and that defects and waste are eliminated from operations.Fact|date=September 2007

A comprehensive definition

Total Quality Management is the organization wide management of quality. Management consists of planning, organizing, directing, control, and assurance. Total quality is called "total" because it consists of two qualities: "quality" of return to satisfy the needs of the shareholders, and "quality" of products. []


The origin of the expression Total Quality Management is unclear.

"Total Quality Control" was the key concept of Armand Feigenbaum's 1951 book, "Quality Control: Principles, Practice, and Administration". In a chapter titled "Total Quality Control" Feigenbaum grabs on to an idea that sparked many scholars' interest in the following decades. The expression Total Quality Control existed together with the japanese expression "Company Wide Quality Control" (CWQC) and the differeces between the two expression was unclear. Major influencers for both expressions were W. Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran, Philip B. Crosby, and Kaoru Ishikawa, known as the big four.

The expression Total Quality Management started to appear in the 1980s and there are two theories of its origin:

One theory is that Total Quality Managment was created as an misinterpretation from Japanese to English since no difference exist between the words "control" and "management" in Japanese. [ Xu , Q. (1994) The making of TQM: History and margins of the hi(gh) story] . According to William Golomski (American quality scholar and consultant, 1924-2002) was TQM first mentioned by Koji Kobayashi at NEC (Nippon Electrical Company) in his speech when he received the Deming Prize in 1974. [ Bergman B. & Klefsjö B. (2007) Kvalitet från behov till använding]

The American Society for Quality says that the term Total Quality Management was used by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command in 1984 to describe its Japanese-style management approach to quality improvement since they did not like the word control in Total Quality Control. The word management should then have been suggested by one of the employees, Nancy Warren. [ Bergman B. & Klefsjö B. (2007) Kvalitet från behov till använding] [] This is consistent with the story that the United States Navy Personnel Research and Development Center began researching the use of statistical process control (SPC), the work of Juran, Crosby, and Ishikawa, and the philosophy of W. Edwards Deming to make performance improvements in 1984. This approach was first tested at the North Island Naval Aviation Depot.

TQM and contingency-based research

TQM has not been independent of its environment. In the context of management accounting systems (MCSs), Sim and Killough (1998) show that incentive pay enhanced the positive effects of TQM on customer and quality performance. Ittner and Larcker (1995) demonstrated that product focused TQM was linked to timely problem solving information and flexible revisions to reward systems. Chendall (2003) summarizes the findings from contingency-based research concerning management control systems and TQM by noting that “TQM is associated with broadly based MCSs including timely, flexible, externally focused information; close interactions between advanced technologies and strategy; and non-financial performance measurement.” (p.143)

Possible lifecycle

Abrahamson (1996) argued that fashionable management discourse such as Quality Circles tends to follow a lifecycle in the form of a bell curve, possibly indicating a management fad.


ee also

* Quality management
* Quality Management System
* OIQ, Organizational Integrated Quality

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