The chapter “Process-Oriented Quality Management” analyzes the identified concept about its most common features and components. The author uses an Integrative Management model to apply four of the most widely accepted quality management concepts (TQM, Six Sigma, BPR, and KAIZEN) to the generalized holistic quality management to determine their relevance for educational organizations.
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According to the author, three paradigms central to the concept of management can be recognized: orientation at customers in favor of sellers, focus on overlapping processes rather than rigid hierarchies, and the decisive role of quality before sales and production volumes. Based on these paradigms, the author introduces the encompassing terms “process orientation” and “quality management.”
The author argues that the former is often used as one of the dimensions alongside potential and result, which makes it necessary for inclusion in the holistic approach to organizational management. One of the reasons behind such wide recognition is its alignment with the modern approach to management that abandoned strictly defined organizational structures and functions in favor of a more integrative, process-driven approach, leading to the eventual adoption of horizontal business processes. An integrative approach to management is further clarified as comprised of four principal dimensions – normative, strategic, tactical, and operative management, all of which are interconnected and mutually influential.
Once the boundaries of the integrative management and process-oriented quality management are determined, the author proceeds with outlining four of the most influential quality management approaches and evaluating them for consistency with the requirements of the Integrative Management model. The first approach, KAIZEN, relies on a three-step refinement model of process refinement before its use.
While the approach is strongly oriented towards customers, it does not contain a holistic system-oriented approach and therefore cannot be considered an integrative management concept in the true sense. Instead, it should be perceived as a philosophy with numerous useful techniques and a focus on the innovation of processes. The second approach, Business Process Reengineering (BPR), is meant to facilitate major quality and process improvement through radical redefinition and subsequent restructuring of business processes. In a sense, BPR can be considered an approach opposite to KAIZEN due to its scale and rapidity.
However, it also does not qualify as a holistic approach – instead, it facilitates a condition necessary for the introduction of integrative management. The third approach, Six Sigma, introduces a set of specific and customer-relevant quality criteria, key processes, and strictly defined improvement methods. The calculation of the results is automated, leading to a high degree of accuracy and reliability. In addition to measurement, such an approach allows for the modeling of quality improvement. While the system cannot be considered a standalone quality management system, the recent development allow for such a possibility in the future.
In other words, Six Sigma demonstrates the potential of becoming a holistic approach. Finally, the TQM approach is a broad concept that encompasses the customer orientation, organizational learning and access to knowledge sources, scalable continuous improvement, involvement in processes, and recognition of responsibility for quality. The author considers TQM the only approach that qualifies as a holistic philosophy and consistent with the idea of integrative management.
The author concludes that despite the lack of alignment with the holistic requirements, all of the identified approaches are suitable for use by educational organizations oriented towards a process-based approach. Specifically, BPR is considered a viable option for the adaptation of learning to the needs of customers whereas Six Sigma has the potential for redefining the concept of comprehensive quality management. However, the value of TQM for educational organizations is arguably the most significant, both due to its holistic nature and adjustability to numerous goals and objectives.