Chapter 7. Sustaining TQM

B. G. Dale


Total quality management is a long-term process. It can take an organization up to 10 years to put the fundamental principles, practices, procedures and systems into place, create an organizational culture that is conducive to continuous improvement and change the values and attitudes of its people. It requires considerable effort and intellectual input by the senior management team, and a clear strategic direction and framework. It is also unfortunate that misconceptions abound with regard to what TQM and quality improvement are and how to achieve them. Therefore it is little wonder that the vast majority of organizations do encounter problems in their continuous improvement efforts (van der Wiele and Brown 2002) In recent times there have been a number of reports outlining the lack of success of some TQM initiatives and the problems which have been encountered (e.g. Boyett et al. 1991; Develin and Partners 1989; Harari 1997; Kearney 1992; Binney 1992; Miller 1992; Naj 1993; Redman and Grieves 1999; and Tice 1994). However, the vast majority of such reports, based on questionnaire surveys, contain flaws in the interpretation of the findings since they do not usually define what they mean by TQM.

This chapter describes the main issues which impact on sustaining TQM. 'Sustaining' in this context means maintaining a process of continuous improvement. The issues have been grouped into five categories: internal/external environment, management ...

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