Obstacles to Implementing Quality

Article

Salegna, Gary; Fazel, Farzaneh   (2000, ASQ)  

Quality Progress    Vol. 33    No. 7
QICID: 13936    July 2000    pp. 53-57
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Article Abstract

Organizational performance improves when quality management systems are implemented appropriately. Inconsistencies in the records of companies using Total Quality Management have given rise to debate about the usefulness of TQM programs, however. Edward Fuchs attributes ineffective TQM program design to a lack of focus on strategic planning and core competencies, as well as to out-of-date cultures. Fuchs believes that TQM programs must be implemented with the strategic intent and cultural characteristics of an organization. James F. Hugget believes that strong leaders must create company vision and culture that reduce resistance to change among workers, while Mark Mallinger describes the elements of a culture supportive of TQM to include shared values and beliefs, trust and mutual respect, empowered employees, and a favorable attitude toward continuous improvement. Supporters of TQM claim that if a company's culture does not support total quality, the culture must be changed if TQM programs are to succeed. Companies confront many problems while implementing TQM. These may include failure to link management compensation to achievement of quality goals, inadequate employee training, and inadequate resources for using quality management. Researchers conducted a study to determine the extent to which such obstacles to TQM implementation represented major problems. Findings confirmed the expectation that TQM companies considered many problems related to cultural issues to be more severe than companies without TQM initiatives. These problems included elements such as lack of customer focus and lack of employees' trust in senior management. TQM firms also rated thinking of quality programs as a quick fix, which is an obstacle related to strategic planning, as more serious than non-TQM firms. The non-TQM firms in the study were more concerned about a lack of strong motivation. Lack of time, poor communications, and lack of real employee empowerment were cited by TQM companies as the most severe obstacles, while non-TQM firms cited lack of motivation, lack of time, and lack of strategic planning. The findings suggest that companies must prepare for TQM by motivating employees to support the initiative and by developing a strategic plan. Companies will improve the chance for success of their TQM programs if they become more aware of and sensitive to obstacles related to implementation, particularly those problems related to organizational culture. By understanding the potential severity of the obstacles, companies can anticipate and resolve problems that inhibit TQM implementation more successfully.

Keywords

Implementation,Total Quality Management (TQM),Quality management (QM),Quality improvement (QI)


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