This is an introduction to the research topic. This chapter aims to present the research ideas and its motives. It introduces the topic, which is the effect of total quality management on employees (TQM) giving a brief description of the research and the major themes adopted for this study purpose. The chapter begins first by stating the background of the study, second a statement of the research problem would establish the reason for the study. Third, the aims and objectives of the study are given; fourth, the questions which have remained unanswered by previous research and which the present study seeks to address will be stated. The chapter then concludes with a brief outline of the major elements contained in the other chapters of the research work. The dissertation looks at the impact of TQM on employees and management.
1. Background of the Study Total quality management (TQM) has been defined as an organisational effort incorporated in intent to improve the quality of performance at every level. TQM as defined by the International Organization for Standards (ISO, “is a management approach for an organization, centred 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 (citied in Singh and Dhalla, 2010). TQM necessitate that organisations maintain quality standard in the overall aspect of its business.
It ensures that things are done right the first time and eliminates waste and defects from organisational operations (Hashmi 2010). While HRM practices involves the overall organisational quality planning, training and personnel development, quality of work life and is intended for customer satisfaction, the main purpose of TQM is managing performance and also acts as a system that maintain unvarying organisational improvement. The idea of TQM is not just to improve performance in organisations but also as a form of enhancing the performance of employees.
In the competitive global market brought about by trade liberalisation and globalisation, companies have to compete for survival and as such would need to have a competitive advantage over competitors. (Adams et al 2001). A distinctive advantage is employee’s performance as it determines the success rate of any firm. Many studies show that loyal employees symbolize value to a company and are more committed to the continuous improvement of service quality (Jun, Cai, & Shin, 2006; Hart & Thompson, 2007, cited in Changa et al 2010).
Many organisations now realise the need for total quality management (TQM) (Dalu et al 2000). As a result, many managers have to reappraise the traditional management practices and are now realising that for their products and services to survive the global competitive market, the quality must be enhanced and as such most managers incorporate total quality management (TQM) as a form of performance appraisal and quality control.
The TQM concept is one of the most important frameworks when managing organisational quality according to Dale (1999) (citied in Psychogios and Priporas 2007). It has been acknowledged as “an important subject in management theory and practice in the past decade” (Hansson and Eriksson, 2002) .this has led some companies in the Western world to adopt this TQM concept (Sharma and Gadenne, 2002). TQM has been recognized as a key issue by many researchers (David and Fisher 1994; Terziovski et al 1996; Dale et al., 1997; Preston and Hingorani 1998; Deb 2001; Suganthi and Samuel 2004) and has been regarded as one of effective ways for firms to improve their competitive advantage since the 1980s (Sharma and Gadenne,2001).
Powel (1995) and West (2003) also emphasises the importance of total quality management as a form of competitive advantage stating that an organisation can acquire competitive advantage by providing quality products or services. Calvin (2005) also argued that the key competitiveness in the dynamic global market today is quality. In order to provide consumers with excellent quality, firms have to implement TQM principles effectively.
TQM in terms of quality improvement does not involve just cost minimisation for an organisation but also profit maximisation as an effect of superior quality (Freiesleben, (2005), Joiner (2007),). TQM is an effective management tool to provide business with growth, stability and success (Isaac et al., 2004). And TQM applications when employed as a management tool for quality control, managers must ensure that they conform to the principles of TQM as this would result in more superior quality improvement. The principles of TQM are:
1. Be Customer focused 2. Ensure total employee involvement 3. Process centred 4. Integrated system 5. Strategic and systematic approach 6. Continual improvement 7. Fact based decision making 8. Communication (Hashmi,2010). Source: http://www.bexcellence.org/Total-quality-management.html (2009) Different organisation has its own TQM implementation process and model in which they adopt when implementing TQM practices.
Organisations can use a number of great TQM models, which include the ISO quality management standards, the European Foundation for Quality Management, the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, and the Deming Application Prize. (Hashmi, 2010). The model adopted by an organisation does not necessarily determine its success. However, any organization that wishes to improve its performance would be well served by taking a pick of these models and conducting a self-assessment. (Hashmi, 2010).
The diagram above explains the model of TQM. The model starts with having an understanding of the needs of the customers, it is important for every firm to be customer focused as only the customers determine the quality. This can also be extended to firms having an understanding of the unique customer needs as this gives TQM organizations the opportunity to predict future customer behaviour. The concept of continuous improvement is then applied, as what may be seen as a outstanding performance today may be undesirable in the future, so TQM organisations have to set a process to continually improve its system and quality to achieve steady progress.
In the process of TQM, it is important for all employees to take part to ensure this. The top management takes responsibility to ensure that people are well trained, capable and also actively participate in achieving the goals of the organisation. Management and employees have to communicate and make decisions as this would help create an empowered environment where people are valued. There is a relationship between each part of the process, all elements of the TQM model work together to achieve positive results.
1. Statement of the Problem The concept of TQM principles is not new to business. It was introduced in the early 1980s to United Kingdom industry (Warwood and Roberts, 2004). It is a worldwide recognised tool for performance management of an organisation. However its development has been rather slow in the public sector.(). Many studies have demonstrated that total quality management practices have a positive impact on performances of companies (Deming (1982), Terziovski (1999), Juran (1988;1993) and Connor (1997) but however these researches has been more focused on manufacturing and production companies mostly in the private sector.
Although, the public sector has its own share of the TQM research, it was not extensive enough to make precise generalisation about the sector as a whole. There have been fewer studies that show and examine the TQM principle and their implementation in the public sector.( Jenkins et al. (1988), Massey, (1995); Lewis (1998). However, some researchers have argued that the benefits derived from TQM in the private sector can also be derived in the public sector and that there was no difference in the applicability of concept in either sector. Regardless of the sector managers wanted to know if it was worthwhile to implement TQM principle in the business performance as the process has been said to be quite extensive.
Many researches have revealed that performance can be measured in different forms. (E.g. Juran (1989), Crosby (1979), Hendricks and Singhal (2001) and others). And some have adopted a combination of the forms and this has made it difficult to draw a conclusion on the findings of such research. Many governmental agencies after realising the importance of TQM have decided to implement it in their organisations, hoping it would have the same effect as it did in the private sector. The idea of TQM implementation in the public sector was as a result of the shift in business philosophy to focusing on the consumers and their needs.
The UK public sector lacks in-depth research in the field of total quality management as compared to private sector and this gap in literature is what this study aims to address. The main purpose of this study is to investigate how the principles of total quality management impact on performance of employees both in the public and private sectors. And to produce results to prove that TQM can create positive results in both sectors.