Critical Thinking

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  1. Total Quality management is loosely defined as a phenomenon that strives towards continuously improving and enhancing the quality of goods and services, in order to satisfy customer expectations or even exceed them (Prajogo and McDermott, 2005, Kiella and Golhar, 1997; as cited by Baird, Jia Hu, & Reeve, 2011). In doing so it strives not only to increase quality and customer satisfaction, but also focus on increased communication and evaluation to achieve that. Kumar and Sankaran (2007, p. 177) describe TQM as a culture that "uses teams, promotes pride in workmanship, drives out fear, allows participative management, promotes leadership in place of supervision and promotes long-term orientation among the members of the organization".
    Organizational Culture is both related to and distinct from Total Quality Management as Schein (1985) and Powell (1995) point out that TQM can be reflective of the prevalent culture of an organization, conversely, organizational culture is a more deep rooted idea as it refers to a “pattern of shared and stable beliefs and values that are developed within a company (or business unit) over time”(Gordon and DiTomoso, 1992, as cited by Schein, 1985 and Powell, 1995). In doing so, one may not be similar to the other but can be crucial in the process of amplifying the other.
    A paper elaborates that organizational culture is a crucial factor in determining an appropriate environment that can aid in the execution of TQM practices and therefore, it is important that the managers are aware about such an environment and try to incorporate these practices in their culture which can foster the use and success of TQM (Baird, Jia Hu, & Reeve, 2011). In the same paper, testing the correlation of organizational culture on TQM, three areas relevant to organizational culture demonstrated a significant correlation with the use of TQM. This shows us that organizational culture does, to some extent, have a positive impact on Total Quality Management (Baird, Jia Hu, & Reeve, 2011).
  2. There are many important factors that can aid in maintaining quality and increase productivity apart from Total Quality Management. Chapter 16 in the book ‘Management: A practical introduction’ places quite an emphasis on Control and why it is important, and describes it as monitoring performance and taking action where it is required. It emphasizes that controlling needs to be carried out with three other management functions namely planning, organizing and leading to achieve an effective performance. Control is crucial as monitoring can help supervise if quality standards are being met. The chapter also talks about ‘Deming Management’ which emphasizes four ways by which quality could be achieved and its possible benefits. Firstly, that Quality should be reflective of consumer needs, secondly, firms should focus on improving their system instead of putting the blame on employees; thirdly, it highlights possible benefits of quality which are increased market share, company reach and employment; and lastly it highlights a PDCA cycle, aimed at using hard data to increase quality. The first step in the PDCA cycle is Planning, where the firm works on important and desired changes needed based on observed data, the second step is to Do and implement this change. Third is to check or analyze the impact of this change and lastly is to Act on the outcomes and make predictions for future implications (Kinicki, Williams, Scott-Ladd, & Perry, 2011)

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