Role of leadership in Total Quality Management

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 7 March 2016

Role of leadership in Total Quality Management

THE ROLE OF LEADERSHIP IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT (TQM) IN ORGANIZATIONS Globalization in the business theater is driving companies toward a new view of quality as a necessary tool to compete successfully in worldwide markets. A direct outcome of this new emphasis is the philosophy of total quality management (TQM). In essence, TQM is a company-wide perspective that strives for customer satisfaction by seeking zero defects in products and services. TQM functions on the premise that the quality of products and processes is the responsibility of everyone who is involved with the creation or consumption of the products or services offered by an organization. In other words, TQM capitalizes on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and even customers, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Making quality improvements was once thought to be the sole responsibility of specialists (quality engineers, product designers, and process engineers). Today, developing quality across the entire firm can be an important function of leadership. a failure on leadership’s part to recognize this opportunity and act on it may result in the loss of TQM implementation responsibilities to other departments with less expertise in training and development. The ultimate consequence of this loss is an ineffective piecemealing of the TQM strategy. Thus, leadership should act as the pivotal change agent necessary for the successful implementation of TQM. Leadership is considered as doing right things while management is doing things right. Hence for a manager, efficiency is the criteria while effectiveness is the criteria for a leader. Leadership is influencing the people so that all of them do the right things, the right way at the right time willing, on their own, so that the organization grows and the purpose fulfilled

What is the role of leadership in TQM Implementation?
Leadership can act as senior management’s tool in implementing TQM in two fundamental ways. First, by modeling the TQM philosophy and principles within its departmental operations, leadership can serve as a beachhead for the TQM process throughout the company. Second, leadership, with senior management’s support, can take the TQM process company-wide by developing and delivering the long-term training and development necessary for the
major organizational culture shift required by TQM.

Implementing TQM requires a team effort headed by your organization’s leadership team. Each person involved in change management has their responsibilities, and it is important for the entire organization to understand the role of leadership in TQM to make delegating responsibility more effective.

1) Involvement
TQM of any kind of new company policy or program requires participation from all of the departments that will be affected. Company leadership needs to identify what those departments are and create an implementation team that consists of representatives from each affected group. Management needs to create a structure that identifies various group leaders, the responsibilities of those group leaders and an accountability system that insures that the implementation team meets its timetable for getting the new program or policy in place.

2) Interest
Implementing TQM within a company requires a feeling of urgency on the part of the entire company. It is the job of management to create that urgency by explaining to the staff why the implementation is necessary. Leadership needs to help the employees understand how the company benefits from the new implementation, but it also needs to get the organization to see the setbacks of not making a change.

3) Monitoring
TQM within a company is not an exact process. It is a dynamic procedure that needs to be monitored by management and altered to meet implementation goals. it is the responsibility of leadership to put a monitoring system in place, analyze the data that is being generated during the implementation and make any necessary changes to make the implementation more efficient.

4) Next step
Implementing TQM is often done in phases. The company leadership needs to be able to identify when each phase of TQM is complete and be ready to transition the company to the next phase. For example, if the company is bringing in a new software program for customer management, then the first phase of the program may be to implement it in the sales department. Management needs to identify when the proper alterations to the software have been made that will allow it to be implemented in other parts of the company.

Implementing a TQM system has become the preferred approach for improving quality and productivity in organizations. TQM, which has been adopted by leading industrial companies, is a participative system empowering all employees to take responsibility for improving quality within the organization. Instead of using traditional bureaucratic rule enforcement, TQM calls for a change in the corporate culture, where the new work climate has the following characteristics: (i) an open, problem-solving atmosphere;

(ii) participatory design making;
(iii) trust among all employees (staff, line, workers, managers); (iv) a sense of ownership and responsibility for goal achievement and problems solving; and, (v) Self-motivation and self-control by all employees.

In cultivating the TQM philosophy, strategy implementation must involve a focused effort on the part of every employee within the organization. It cannot be applied successfully on a piecemeal basis. TQM requires that management, and eventually every member of the organization, commit to the need for continual improvement in the way work is accomplished. Business plans, strategies, and management actions require continual rethinking in order to develop a culture that reinforces the TQM perspective. The challenge is to develop a robust culture where the idea of quality improvement is not only widely understood across departments, but becomes a fundamental, deep-seated value within each function area as well.

Leadership therefore can jumpstart the TQM process by becoming a role model. This means that leadership has two specific tasks: “serving our customers, and making a significant contribution to running the business.” this emphasis on customer oriented service means that leadership must see other departments in the firm as their customer groups for whom making continuing improvements in service becomes a way of life.

In their efforts to achieve TQM, leadership can demonstrate commitment to TQM principles by soliciting feedback from its internal customer groups on current hr services. Leadership should include suggestions from its customers in setting objective performance standards and measures. In other words, there are a number of specific TQM principles that leadership can model. The current emphasis on quality as a competitive strategy has produced many views regarding the actions necessary to achieve it. Leaders in the quality movement (Deming, Juran, Crosby, Feigenbaum have proposed similar approaches which share certain themes. these themes can be summarized as five basic principles: focus on customers’ needs;

focus on problem prevention, not correction;
make continuous improvements: seek to meet customers’ requirements on time, the first time, every time; train employees in ways to improve quality; and,  Apply the team approach to problem solving.
The TQM approach entails identifying the wants and needs of customer groups and then propelling the entire organization toward fulfilling these needs. A customer’s concerns must be taken seriously, and organizations should make certain that its employees are empowered to make decisions that will ensure a high level of customer satisfaction. This can be achieved by promoting an environment of self-initiative and by not creating a quagmire of standard operating procedures and company policies. Flexibility is the key, especially in a business environment that is diverse and constantly changing, as most are today. In modeling these aspects of the TQM process, leadership would need to identify human resource concerns of other departments and undertake to continually improve its performance, especially in any trouble areas that come to light. The effective use of quality improvement teams, and the TQM system as a whole, can be reinforced by applying basic principles of motivation. In particular, the recognition of team accomplishments as opposed to those of individuals, and the effective use of goal setting for group efforts, are important in driving the TQM system. Leadership is in a position to help institutionalize team approaches to TQM by designing appraisal and reward systems that focus on team performance. Summary and Conclusion

In summary, leadership’s role in the TQM implementation process includes: 1. Initiating agreement on goals and measures that cascade throughout the organization; 2. Providing the agreed resources (people, money, training, machines, etc.); 3. Assigning authority and establish deadlines to put resources into motion; 4. Monitoring progress in achieving goals, not to apportion blame, but to aim for improvement; and, 5. Measuring improvement and reward both the achievement of goals and the ways they are achieved. Beyond modeling TQM, leadership, with senior management’s support, can play a leading role in implementing a quality strategy across the firm.

ROLE OF CULTURE IN SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF QUALITY INITIATIVES An organization’s culture is all about its values, beliefs, norms and informal practices shared by its employees. The culture influences the ability of an organization to perform and attain competitive advantages.

The corporate quality culture means visible or working behavior of most of the people of an organization. Organizational cultures, where quality management tools and techniques are effective, are those where results are more important than politics and bureaucracy and where workers and staffs are sure that the top management wants to know the truth and not just an acceptable version of the actual happening. Cultures don’t change overnight, it requires a long time to change the mindset to accept the new phenomenon and come into effectiveness to run new programs in an organization.

Culture is the pattern of shared beliefs and values that provides the members of an organization the rules of behavior or accepted norms for conducting operations. It is the philosophies, ideologies, values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, attitudes and norms that knit the organization together and are shared by employees. Institutionalizing a strategy requires a culture that accepts and supports it. For organizations in which, a strategy is based on quality initiatives, like ISO standards and TQM philosophy requires a significant, if not sweeping, change in the way people think.

Successful organizations have a core culture around which the rest of the organization revolves. It is important for the organization to have a sound basis of core values into which management and other employees will be drawn. Without this core, the energy of members of the organization will dissipate as they develop plans, make decisions, communicate it and carry on operations without fundamental criteria of relevance to guide them.

Commitment to quality as a core value for planning, organizing and control will be doubly difficult if a concern for the practice is lacking.

It is one thing for top management to state a commitment to quality but quite another for the same commitment to be accepted or embedded in a culture in the organization. The basic vehicle for embedding an organizational culture is a teaching process in which desired behaviors and activities are learned through training, experiences, symbols and explicit behavior. Once again, the components of TQM provide the vehicle for change.

TQM include culture change as a pre-requisite for its implementation; a cultural change appreciates the primary need to meet customer requirements, implements a management philosophy that acknowledges this emphasis, encourages employee involvement and embraces the ethics of continuous improvement.

Total Quality efforts fail simply because organizations are unable to adapt to change. A pre-requisite to implementing total Quality is a corporate culture that that will change. A corporate culture is a company’s value system and its collection of guiding principles.

Cultural values are often seen in the mission and vision statements of organizations. Culture is a powerful influence on behavior because it operates without being talked about and indeed, often without being thought of. Culture is reflected by the management policies and actions that a company practices. Therefore, organizations that believe in the principles of total quality are more likely to implement the practices successfully. Behavior leads people to think in a certain way. Thus, as total quality practices are used routinely within an organization, its people learn to believe in the principles and cultural changes can occur.

Developing a total quality culture depends on the following factors: Top management leadership
Focus on the customer
Systematic improvement of all business practices
Breaking down of organizational barriers
Decentralization of decision making responsibility
Improvements that are linked to company objectives
Realignment of reward and measurement system

It is an established fact that most of the people hate any change that doesn’t jingle their pockets. Resistance to change can be linked to culture non-acceptance and un-readiness. An individual may resist change to the following reasons: The ambiguity, uncertainty and even fear for unable to do so Concern over personal loss or loosing something already possessed Te belief that the change is not in the organization’s best interest or the change is incompatible with the goals of the organization

The following are some of the tactics suggested for use by managers or other agents of change in dealing with resistance to change: Education and communication: resistance stems from misinformation and poor communication or misunderstanding. Participation: it’s difficult for individual to resist change decision in which they participated. The involvement in decision making can reduce resistance and obtain commitment to seeing change succeed. Facilitation and support: when employees fears and anxiety are high, employee counseling and therapy, new skills training or a short paid leave of absence might facilitate adjustments. Negotiation: to exchange something of value for a reduction in the resistance. Negotiation is done to meet individual specific requirements. Manipulation and cooptation: manipulation refers to convert attempts to influence. Cooptation is a form of both manipulation and participation. It seeks to “buy off” the leaders of a resistance group by giving them a key role in the change decision. The leader’s advice is sought for endorsement. Coercion: means using direct threats or force on the resisters which include threat of transfer, loss of promotion, negative performance evaluation or poor letter of recommendation.

Organization culture made of relative stable and permanent characteristics tend to make that culture very resistant to change.

Over and above there are are requirements for quality initiative to include; focus on customer needs, emphasize participation and teamwork, create a culture of continuous improvement of quality, customer response time and work processes. In order to achieve these requirements, changes are required in the following three major areas; structure, technology and people. However, a strong change agent or leadership with visions and its continuous demonstration is required for any quality initiative.


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 7 March 2016

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