The approach to quality management and leadership has taken a new meaning over time. Traditionally, the concept of quality was just a technical subject which viewed quality leadership in terms of controlling the production process only to produce high quality goods.
This means that the production process was deliberately controlled by line managers with focus solely on the finish manufactured products. However, time and new ideas resulted in a paradigm shift when referring to quality in leadership. In modern organizational management quality in leadership is taking a bigger dimension.
It now involves other aspect of management such as information technology, marketing, innovative designing and redesigning of products to conform to market demands. Quality is driven by top management who must possess good leadership techniques. Quality management also involves the entire business process from supply, manufacturing, distribution and most importantly customer feedback.
As such it creates a cyclic process of information flow (Leatherman, 2008). This result is the manufacturing of reliable products. Furthermore, Jack Welch, a famed and retired chief executive asserts that quality leadership needs leaders who have a very strong character and are able to prepare organization for the future through the integration of total quality values into the business strategy of that organization.
As such these leaders spend a lot of time evaluating how quality can be integrated into a company mission, vision, goals and values such that it will invaluably empower and involve top management as well as the worker at the lower level in decision making (Evans & Lindsay, 2008).
Joseph Juran a renowned human resource practitioner argues that quality in production is an age old idea which can be traced to the ancient Egyptians during the building go the pyramids (Juran, 2003). The idea of quality has been for a long time only associated with task that requires handiwork and craftsmanship. However with the evolution of modern industries in the last 100 years, the idea has dramatically changed.
The evolution of modern quality management can be traced in the early 1900’s and was introduced by Fredrick Taylor, a famous US industrialist. During the development of Taylors quality management the ability to manage quality was taken away from employees and handed to specially trained line managers who had to ensure that every process in the production adhered to stipulated quality standards.
Quality, amenegement evolved in tow stages during this time: the mass control in the early 1990’s and the chart control in the 1930’s during which time Walter Shewhart invented the chart control mechanisms that eventually introduced the idea of employee motivation and rewarding as a way of emphasizing quality.
After the world war two, the idea of quality management took a new twist due to the widespread destruction. Quality was now seen in the stated of human life. Therefore manufacturers were suddenly required to check strict quality controls and ensure that only product that would improve the quality of consumers live found their way into the market.
During this time the works of such professional as Juran, Shewhart and Deming became established and their works became bench marks fro measuring quality management. From America this idea was exported to many countries such as Indian and Japan. It is in Japan that the idea proves to have taken root that many years later America was rely on her for lessons in quality management (Berger, Benbow, Elshennawy & Walker, 2007).
The evolution of quality management has been the product of various theorists who came with varying perspectives on the subject. Suffice to say that the primary drive for each of the theorist was the desire for quality in the modern management practice. Joseph Juran, one of the most respected management professional theorists breaks quality into four functions.
Juran sees the best source of information useful for designing off valuable products as market research. This demands that a company implements the best technologies and human resource with the most reliable logistical support and field service as a means of producing quality conforming goods (Stephens & Juran, 2004).
These sentiment are partly echoed by Foley who adds that the ever changing customer demands ensures that total quality is an never ending process of continuous improvement and not merely an achievable end. It requires thoroughly empowered staffs who collaborate to form a formidable team (Foley, 2002; Foley, 2003).
Deming, for whom this essay will focus on, offers further insights that re not only useful in total quality management but also in strategic management as well the management of knowledge in an organization. His theory is so profound as other that it not only drawing a total quality management map it also offers insight into the hindrances to total quality; the 7dealy diseases to solution, as well as offering solutions to total quality; 14 point principles (Vinzant & Vinzant, 1999).
Deming theory of quality management offers a practical and holistic approach and as such has found wide and international application. Deming’s theory appreciates an organization system as a network of profound knowledge made up of interlocking functions all driven towards creation of quality to fit the ever changing needs of the clients. Leadership becomes a key component which cannot be separated from other functions if the system. Deming also sees the worker not just a mere staff member but also as an associate (Gapp, 2002).
Gapp (2004) argues that the greatest hindrance for the achievement of Deming’s quality is the type of education in the western curricula. Such an education is only for good grade, a short term gain and obscures the reality of the bigger picture. Such kind of education only fosters competition amongst students by rewarding individual success and punishing failure.
This education should be reviewed to encourage collaboration and reward team work as encouraged in hi s principle number 10 and 11 (Gapp, 2004; Deming, 1994). This becomes the foundation of the 7 deadly diseases. These diseases have caused many businesses to fail the quality test.
These diseases are founded on lack of consistency in the overall process and a focus on short term gains. This is reflected in a high employee turnover rate as well as using quantifiable variables only in the management process. The end result is a high cost of liabilities resulting from repeated mistakes, and medical compensation (Deming 1990). Deming (1990) offers solution to quality management in his 14 principles.
These principles are the platform through which the profound organizational system operates on. The principles create a basis fro employee capacity building; empowering employees through removing barriers as well as instituting the constant education of the employee.
This is aimed at creating employee to employee as well as employee to company trust. Through the 14 principles a formidable team is realized that id solely focused on continuous efforts to design and redesign to achieve the best quality possible (Dick, 1991). Deming’s approach not only creates the path way to quality leadership but also clarity in which it is going to be achieved.
Deming theory of quality management has been very profound such that it has been adopted fro application by both organization and governments. The idea has achieved commendable success in Japan such that American expressed their desire to learn from such successes (Vinzant & Vinzant 1999).
The Japanese success story can be attributed to what Gapp (2004) explains as Deming’s insistence on a good education system and curriculum. The Japanese education system looks like a prototype of Deming’s 14 principles. Concerning cooperation, the Japanese school system has instituted policies that equates all students and ensures that no individual effort is rewarded.
As such there are no student singled out for honors (Deming para. 9- 10) and no chance to repeat a year regardless of performed. Cooperation is encouraged as student remain in the same teams be they sports based or academic. Weak student are helped by strong ones; Deming principle 9. Furthermore making classroom rule involves the input of student to evaluate how well the rules have been observed, which reflect; Deming principle 7 and 8.
This means that Japanese school system lays focus on the process rather than just the numerical results. Schools have very efficient mechanism fro scoring group achievement as well as the process that the group outcome has been achieved through. Furthermore this system provides a system for continuous improvement (Yoshida, 1994). The result of this is overtly reflected in Japanese organization as well as culture.
American seeing the success has thus borrowed the Japanese model and has come up with their strategies of implementing Demingsm in their education system. This has been through new efforts such as the introduction of mentor teachers and the inclusion of teacher-to-teacher and student’s group learning (Cohen & Benton 1988).
However with the deeply ingrained culture of competition in America, this theory is going to take more than financial resource to implement. It will need to a total overhaul to not only the education curriculum but also the national philosophy (American Association of School Administrators, 1994).
Total quality management is not a complicated design of management practices but a value based system that transcends the organizational operational strategies. It is an attitude, a way of lf, a culture. The drive towards full realization of Deming’s total management is not an easy process and could be riddled with handicaps.
However having in place a good education system can gradually change all that gradually because total quality management is an attitude and not merely a practice. Schools stand a chance of helping any country trying to achieve it. Because modern quality management emphases optimal production countries must drive to reach this goal not only a way of producing good quality product but also as away to self sustenance and better management of resources that are increasingly becoming scarce.
This means that if country or organization is going to achieve quality it must see it as a change of thought process rather than an adoption of a set of principles set for successful business therefore looking at it from the significant point of view. Excellent quality is a function of well the idea id understood rather than practiced; the need fro continuous education and reeducation of employees.
Total quality management is a drive towards creating freedom in employees’ ability by empowering them through training. Such freedom is the platform for success. The biggest question however is how countries like America, which have formed a national identity by doing the opposite of what Deming proposes, hope to do to inculcate the idea o total quality as proposed by Deming.
The idea of quality has been as old as man has lived. This is because man has always purposed producing good quality products through continuous improvements. However the idea had a major significance in the way man does thing at the turn of the last century and was much more adopted by industrialists such as Fredrick Taylor.
He encouraged the mechanization of the employee but Shewhart introduced the idea of treating the employee in a better manner. Even though the modern idea does not acknowledge the recognition of individual employee, it encourages the education and training of this employee for empowerment. The drive toward total quality has seen the rise of many theorists, all of them successful in their own way. These include Joseph Juran as well as Deming.
Deming theory has been one of the most profound successes. It describes a system of production in an organization and also provides the ways through which the system is going to operate on; the 14 principles. These principles have been largely and successfully adopted in some countries like Japan. Japan seeing the need to incorporate demoing theory into its culture opted to use its education system. The results were widely successful and reflected in the Japanese way of life.
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