Total Quality Management in a Multinational Environment

Article

Arnold, Mark   (1991, ASQC)   ODI International, Burlington, MA

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9669    May 1991    pp. 356-362
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Article Abstract

This abstract is an edited version of the author's original.

The challenges posed by Europe's nation states to a coordinated Total Quality Management (TQM) strategy include cultural differences, language differences, differences in management practices and styles, and differences in legislation governing labor-management relations. The author describes a general approach to implementing TQM across national boundaries and recounts case histories to demonstrate how the process works.

The approach described rejects the "one size fits all" model in favor of a local buildup approach. This approach reflects the distinctive needs and sensitivities of each country's managers and workers. Using the example of Union Carbide Europe's Industrial Gases Division and one or more European-owned companies (such as Olivetti or Fiat), the paper outlines a four step model: Awareness, Communication, Participation, and Adaptation.

The model helps to build local management ownership of TQM by encouraging highly tailored implementations around a central core content that includes training, infrastructure, communication, measurement, and systems alignment. In the case of Carbide, the model was used to drive simultaneous implementations of TQM in eight countries using six languages. Results include several million dollars in savings, improved customer relations, and streamlined process management.

Keywords

Case study,Culture,Customer supplier relationships,International,Labor relations,Management,Total Quality Management (TQM)


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