Off-site combined training-cum-seminar on management of change for both top-
management and union leaders is an effective strategy; co-learning helps break
barriers. Management ought to have patience as building bridge with trade unions
means overcoming the age-old antagonistic outlook and mental block prevailing
on either sides. The political, emotional, and cultural aspects are critical, and
therefore, need to be sensitively tackled. Fostering co-operative role with trade
unions should form the integral part of corporate strategy; faithful adherence to
this strategy would ultimately culminate in partnership with the trade union.
Expressing or constructing the TQM culture, though an arduous process is a one-
time exercise. However, ‘shaping’ the culture is an on-going process; the TQM
culture cannot be ordered nor can it be installed like a software program.
Defining, sharing and articulating the vision, mission and values does not mean
that the organization has successfully embraced the TQM culture; it has to live the
values and mission to accomplish the purpose and vision. Employees in general tend
to doubt the real intentions of the top management. Hence, the top management’s
commitment and its visibility are critical in shaping the culture; management
must lead the initiatives.
Reorienting an existing culture is a demanding task—ingrained perceptions
and traits over the time create a unique organizational ‘gene’ that has lingering
effect. Negative perceptions and wrong easily overpower good characteristics and
bad practices become part of the company culture. Such ingrained cultures even
sway new employees disable novel ideas at the inception itself and continue
unless something drastic is done to change the culture.
The first real obstacle in shaping the culture is the over-bearing cultural distor-
tion. Hence establishing the credibility of vision related exercises are crucial. But
this is not good enough … in fact the hard work begins only after vision and other
statements are adopted and published. Right at the beginning management
should declare their resolve to institutionalise the adopted TQM philosophies,
and to scrap the existing policies and systems that are not compatible with TQM.
Adherence to the letter and spirit of this declared policy is crucial in shaping the
culture. Compromises, short cuts, and inconsistent management behaviour dis-
suades the promotion of TQM culture are indicative of management hypocrisy.
For example, manipulative actions to obtain ISO 9000 certificate cause tremendous
damage to the management’s credibility; all future attempts or exhortations about
TQM culture is thereafter viewed by employees with utter disdain. Many man-
agers do not practice the seven QC tools (known to solve 80–85 per cent of the
problems) as they think that it is below their professional dignity to use such simple
tools that are also being used by frontline employees or workers engaged in quality
circles. Such lackadaisical and hypocritical attitudes are not conducive to the TQM
culture. Top management has to ensure that all the top and senior members of the
management embrace the philosophy and consciously reorient their attitude and

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