The most glaring example was the Wallace Co., the Houston oil-supply company that won the Commerce Department's Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award and filed for bankruptcy protection soon after. Douglas Aircraft, a subsidiary of McDonnell-Douglas Corp., found that no amount of team-centered training could overcome the poisoned labor-management relations that resulted from massive layoffs in the wake of the end of the Cold War. Other companies that took up TQM complained that it resulted in too much paperwork and too many meetings that took time away from serving customers and participating in community affairs. It was discontinued altogether at Florida Power & Light, where the late Joe Collier had championed it before coming to Central Maine Power Co. Research conducted by Northwood University professors, Fred Jordan (Associate Professor and Chair of Business Management) and Tim Gilbert (Assistant Professor and Chair of Automotive Management), both recipients of Northwood's Faculty Excellence Award, revealed that companies might see a drop in morale and productivity with higher turnover rates of managers and workers while implementing empowerment programs (Estes 1997).
Boone, L.E. and Kurtz, D. Contemporary Marketing. Texas: The Dryden Press, 1998. Estes, P. ``Northwood Research Raises Disturbing Questions about Employee Empowerment in Florida Businesses''. Northwood University Employee Empowerment Study, Fall (1997). http://www.seflin.org. Korukonda, A.P., Watson, J.G., and Rajkumar, T.M., ``Beyond Teams and Empowerment: A Counterpoint to Two Common Precepts in TQM''. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal. Vol. 64 No. 1 (1999).
Human Relations &
Dr. Joe O’Mahoney 2007
• To briefly revisit Human Relations
• To know the history and features of TQM
• To understand the methods by which TQM enhances
• To examine the limits of control using TQM and Human
1. The Failure of Taylorism?
2. Human Relations
3. TQM (neo-Human Relations?)
4. Critiquing TQM
Rhetoric or Reality?
Japan v USA: a story of quality
• Costs of poor quality?
o Loss of custom
o Product Repair
o Complaints Management
The Cost of Low Quality
Final Product Test
Cost of finding and
So what was Japan doing right?
Innovation: In 1986 from a labor force of 60,000 Toyota received
2.6 million improvement proposals. 96% were implemented
Error Free: 3.6 defective parts per million
Efficient work layout & minimal waste
Low inventory, no buffer stock
Yes, but HOW was it
Kaizen: Continuous Improvement
• “Continuous Improvement”
• Who are the experts?
• Internal customers
Team members volunteering (personal recognition)
Different departments: engineering, marketing, HRM…
• 50% participation in Japan
• Illegal (in Japan) unless voluntary
Traditional v TQM Philosophy
Errors are inspected out
Quality is built in
Workers are Drones
Workers Are Experts
Machines are sprinters
Machines are marathon runners
Quality is free
Spread of TQM
o Adoption of Japanese techniques
o Crosby: Quality is Free
o Peters and Waterman: In Search of Excellence
• 1990s & 2000s
o Expansion to non-manufacturing companies
o IEEE & Six Sigma
Japanese had entered the US market and were selling cheaper copiers
Xerox lost its market share, down from 90% to 15%
Mr. David Kearns became CEO of Xerox in 1982
He adopted TQM
– No inventory
– No Inspectors
– Managers as support
It took 7 years for Xerox to get back its market share
Av. value of
Surveys of TQM Implementation
• Rhetoric not reality – WIRS 5% (Cully et al, 1998)
• Work intensification & enhanced controls
• Companies deemed ‘excellent’ later failed
• Evidence of resistance (e.g. Hawthorne)
Output restriction (Homans, 1959)
TQM….empowerment or exploitation?
Garrahan, P. and Stewart, P. (1992) The Nissan Enigma:
Flexibility at Work in a Local Economy, London: Mansell
= surveillance & peer pressure
= rhetoric & hype
• Not a miracle cure: 66% dissatisfied with TQM
A.P., Watson, J.G., and Rajkumar, T.M., ``Beyond Teams and Empowerment: A Counterpoint
to Two Common Precepts in TQM''. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal. Vol. 64 No. 1
• Takes a long time: 1 – 2 years to change mindset
• Things get worse before they get better
(Estes, P. ``Northwood
Research Raises Disturbing Questions about Employee Empowerment in Florida Businesses''.
Northwood University Employee Empowerment Study, Fall (1997). http://www.seflin.org)
• Requires good labour relations (Boone, L.E. and Kurtz, D.
Contemporary Marketing. Texas: The Dryden Press, 1998)
Old wine, new bottle?
• Concerned with control
• Focus on intensification
• Scant evidence of real implementation
• Fits with modern rhetoric
Peters, Tom and Waterman, Robert (1982) In search of excellence: lessons from
America’s best run companies. Crosby, Philip
Crosby, P. (1979) Quality is Free. London: McGraw Hill.
Willmott, H. (1995) Making quality critical
Knights, David, and Darren McCabe (1998) ‘Dreams and designs on strategy: a
critical analysis of TQM and management control’, Work, Employment and Society
Knights, David, and Darren McCabe (1999) ‘Are there no limits to authority?: TQM
and organisational power’, Organisational Studies, 20/2: 197-224.
Rees, C. (1998) ‘Empowerment through quality management: employee accounts
from inside a bank, a hotel and two factories’, in Experiencing Human Resource
Management. C. Maybe, D. Skinner and T. Clark (eds.). Sage: London: 98-124
Sewell, G., & Wilkinson, B. (1992). “Someone to watch over me’: Surveillance,
discipline and the Just-in-Time labour process”, Sociology, 26(2), 271-289.
Tuckman A (1994) “The Yellow Brick Road: Total Quality Management and the
Restructuring of Organizational Culture”, Organization Studies, 15(5), pp727-751.