Total Quality is a description of the culture, attitude and organization of a company that
strives to provide customers with products and services that satisfy their needs. The
culture requires quality in all aspects of the company's operations, with processes
being done right the first time and defects and waste eradicated from operations.
TQM is built on a foundation of ethics, integrity and trust. It fosters openness, fairness
and sincerity and allows involvement by everyone. This is the key to unlocking the
ultimate potential of TQM. These three elements move together, however, each
element offers something different to the TQM concept.
1. Ethics - Ethics is the discipline concerned with good and bad in any situation. It is a
two-faceted subject represented by organizational and individual ethics. Organizational
ethics establish a business code of ethics that outlines guidelines that all employees
are to adhere to in the performance of their work. Individual ethics include personal
rights or wrongs.
2. Integrity - Integrity implies honesty, morals, values, fairness, and adherence to the
facts and sincerity. The characteristic is what customers (internal or external) expect
and deserve to receive. People see the opposite of integrity as duplicity. TQM will not
work in an atmosphere of duplicity.
3. Trust - Trust is a by-product of integrity and ethical conduct. Without trust, the
framework of TQM cannot be built. Trust fosters full participation of all members. It
allows empowerment that encourages pride ownership and it encourages commitment.
It allows decision making at appropriate levels in the organization, fosters individual
risk-taking for continuous improvement and helps to ensure that measurements focus
on improvement of process and are not used to contend people. Trust is essential to
ensure customer satisfaction. So, trust builds the cooperative environment essential for
The purpose of quality management is to set up a system and a management
discipline that prevents defects from happening in the company's performance cycle.
Comparing one company's performance with that of another is a reflex of TQM.
Competitive benchmarking is a continuous management process that helps firms
assess their competition and themselves and to use that knowledge in designing a
practical plan to achieve superiority in the marketplace. To strive to be better than the
best competitor is the target. The measurement takes place along the three
components of a total quality programme—products and services, business processes
and procedures and people.
The idea of synergy in team work, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,
is a key concept in TQM where it is used to promote collaboration, consensus, creative
conflict and team winning.
Performance feedback is vital to enable managers at all levels to improve their
contribution to the business. Feedback provides information on where a manager is
today and gives an indication of the level of improvement compared with previous
An appropriate system of recognition and reward is critical to any company's TQM
programme, particularly as the quality improvement process offers greater involvement
to ordinary working people. Positive reinforcement through recognition and reward is
essential to maintain achievement and continuous improvements through participative
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