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Assessing a quality management program by enabling the cost-effective measurement of critical organizational processes.

1. Introduction

Karsten and Pennink consider the internships as opportunities to strengthen knowledge development in Burkinabe economic organizations: they need knowledge development to achieve increased productivity, effectiveness and resource-utilization objectives. Zhao and Bryar conceptually advance management research by exploring an integrated approach that incorporates knowledge management (KM) into the total quality management (TQM) process. Dooley et al. examine the theory and practice of TQM, and show that some aspects of TQM are based on a Newtonian paradigm, while others represent a complexity paradigm (TQM represents a necessary bridge between these two contrasting patterns of thought). Tavana et al. maintain that the utilization of information technology reduces the time and effort required to participate in the assessment process. Vinni points out that one has to understand organizational contingencies and environment affecting public organizations in implementing TQM.

2. The Effectiveness of Quality Management Process to Achieve Quality Improvement and Increased Productivity

Karsten and Pennink became interested in the adoption of management concepts in a particular African context and in how local management knowledge might transform specific organizational routines. Particular African cultural patterns are conducive in the African workplace and boardroom. African managers are actors who shape their views on management issues, translate management concepts, and convert them into applicable approaches. Karsten and Pennink notice a tension between the teachings of TQM and actual management practices. Burkinabe managers, while cooperating with expatriate managers and having had Western-style education, follow the examples of the West. Karsten and Pennink focus on the improvement of the cost structure of the production line and on the design of a new strategy for the liberalized market: their cost of sugar production still remains too high compared with the cost of sugar production in a similar firm in Ivory Coast. The conception of the role of the managers shifts from that of target-setters to social persons. Management becomes a social construction, which establishes agreement on the applicability of a particular management concept. The habitus of a manager can reflect a reactionary attitude as much as a progressive one. The Japanese concept of TQM shares features that are cherished in the African business context. (1)

Zhao and Bryar say that the management of knowledge in businesses is an important and necessary factor for organisational survival. The effectiveness of quality management process to achieve quality improvement and increased productivity is enhanced if KM concepts are effectively integrated into the process. Organizational excellence can be achieved through incorporating KM concepts into the TQM process whilst interacting with environmental changes. Management by facts counts on organisational capability of obtaining, processing, disseminating and use of data and information. TQM should address environmental changes and deal with them through improving knowledge management capacities and skills. Zhao and Bryar suggest that TQM and KM principles can be implemented synchronously (there is an inherent synergy about them). A knowledge based TQM approach should facilitate the introduction of KM principles gradually engaging and turning them into a complementary management process. (2)

3. Competition and Environmental Feedback

Li et al. review the TQM concept, identify the principles of TQM implementation, introduce Deming's management method, and apply the method to software development processes. Quality acknowledges a customer-driven economy, focusing on continuous process improvement to achieve high quality of product (or service). Any improvement that is made in the business will help to improve the "total quality" of the organization and the quality of the final product. Total quality depends on teamwork between the company and its suppliers. The RPM process uses high-level development tools to quickly produce an operational prototype for users to gain hands-on experience. TQM has helped many companies to improve quality of products and processes, and in turn, increase the productivity and the profitability. For an organization having large number of people, Li et al. recommend the use of modular approach to implementing TQM. (3)

Dooley et al. observe that theories of neural networks can be incorporated into theories concerning individual cognition. Competition and environmental feedback push the system to the edge of performance. The learning organization attempts to learn and create leverage from random events. Some of the organization's activities can be represented by chaotic dynamics. Organization-wide quality improvement has become a common practice among manufacturing, service, and public sector entities. Changes in the process routine constitute the majority of opportunity for process improvement. The organization needs to develop its internal human resources to their full potential, and develop organizational structures that encourage development of organizational knowledge. Dooley et al. claim that the crisis brought organizations far-from-equilibrium, and leadership influenced the potential paths of the newly emergent orders. Tools of the Newtonian paradigm are effective for improving the quality of work-level processes. TQM theory and practice can benefit from further coupling with theory from the complexity paradigm. Organizations should be actively experimenting with different approaches, and learning and communicating. (4)

4. The Suitability of TQM for Public Organizations

On Tavana et al.'s reading, AHP assesses the consistency of the manager's pairwise comparisons. Tavana et al. investigate the usefulness of the TQI in different health care settings: the findings may be attributable to a normalization of the expectations of actual quality management that are then reflected in the weights assigned to ideal quality management. Clinical employees either fail to grasp the basic philosophy of quality management or they choose to neglect it for more traditional approaches. There may be a connection between perceptions and actual quality management (perceptions can be a powerful determining factor of reality). Quality programs can be structured in a way that overcomes the resistance to externally imposed TQM programs. A voluntary process built on assessment input from health care professionals can achieve the desired outcome of acceptance rejected in broad participation. (5)

Vinni analyzes the suitability of TQM for public organizations and identifies the preconditions that have to be met in order to gain success in implementing TQM: although the implementation of TQM in public sector is usually associated with the ideas of NPM, it shares several similar tenets with traditional public administration. The overall quality of management leads to better performance. Quality and TQM are not coherent and straightforward notions. There are substantial hardships associated with using TQM's ideology or implementing its practices in public organizations. The concept of publicness summarizes the barriers to classical TQM in public organizations. Organizations with a low degree of publicness lend themselves more readily to managerial ideas, including TQM. Vinni compares TQM with two paradigms of public administration in order to illuminate the mechanisms through which it would be possible to understand TQM in public institutions. Vinni remarks that classical TQM emphasizes the performance of processes besides the improvement of outputs. NPM and TQM aim at continuously raising the standards, establishing targets and observing the progress via performance auditing and reporting on quality data. Planning and organization are typical to NPM and TQM (measuring performance presupposes target setting). TQM relies relatively more on processes, while NPM stresses outputs. Vinni puts it that top management leadership is not as crucial in NPM as it is in TQM. TQM as quality management deals mostly with manufacturing organizations, while TQM as systems management develops a comprehensive system of management. TQM as people management presupposes unconditional commitment to the values of organization. TQM needs a more comprehensive understanding: it is a multi-faceted concept that offers various ways for operationalization. There are some similarities between TQM as new management paradigm and assessments of governance. (6)

Ribiere and Khorramshahgol identify commonalities between TQM and KM, and discuss how KM can benefit from highly mature and well established TQM practices. Organizations cannot achieve worldwide performance excellence focusing only on quality disciplines. KM is the keystone (7) of the door to business excellence. (8)

5. Conclusion

Karsten and Pennink look at management knowledge as constructed by managers who are interested in its meaning and relevance to the improvement of existing organizational practices. Zhao and Bryar examine the similarities and differences between TQM concepts and KM theories, develop an inclusive approach to management by integrating KM into TQM, and explore how this approach might be implemented by organisations. Dooley et al. think that social systems are much more complex than physical systems (social systems are made up of a complex set of physical systems, and tempered by such notions as perception and free will). Tavana et al. develop and apply an IT-supported benchmarking model that helps managers assess a quality management program by enabling the cost-effective measurement of critical organizational processes. Vinni reasons that the adoption of TQM can be partial as long as decision-makers are able to posit their organizations against the other alternatives available.


(1.) Karsten, L., and Pennink, B. (2007), "TQM in the African Business Community of Burkina Faso: A Change in Perspective on Knowledge Development," CDS Research Report No. 25, July.

(2.) Zhao, F., and Bryar, P. (2001), "Integrating Knowledge Management and Total Quality: A Complementary Process," paper presented at the 6th International Conference on ISO 9000 & TQM, University of Paisley.

(3.) Li, E.Y et al. (2000), "TQM in Software Development Process," The Journal of Quality Assurance Institute 14(1): 35^41.

(4.) Dooley, K. et al. (1995), "TQM, Chaos, and Complexity," Human Systems Management 14(4): 1-16.

(5.) Tavana, M. et al. (2003), "Total Quality Index: A Benchmarking Tool for TQM," Benchmarking: An International Journal 10(6): 507-527.

(6.) Vinni, R. (2007), "TQM and Paradigms of Public Administration," International Public Management Review 8(1): 103-131.

(7.) Ionescu, L. (2010), "Director Overlap, Ethical Financial Reporting, and Improvements in Disclosure Quality," Economics, Management, and Financial Markets 5(1): 183-188.

(8.) Ribiere, V.M., and Khorramshahgol, R. (2004), "Integrating Total Quality Management and Knowledge Management," Journal of Management Systems 16(1): 39-54.





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Author:Tudorescu, Nicolae; Zaharia, Constantin; Zaharia, Ioana
Publication:Economics, Management, and Financial Markets
Date:Jun 1, 2010
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