Quality-Management Viewpoint

Required: 350- to 700-word paper summarizing the basics of that viewpoint including highlighting at least one of the key figures related to that viewpoint.


Quality-Management Viewpoint


Can the quality-management viewpoint offer guidelines for true managerial success?


The quality-management viewpoint, the third category under contemporary perspectives, consists of quality control, quality assurance, and especially the movement of total quality management (TQM), dedicated to continuous quality improvement, training, and customer satisfaction.

In 1971, in his book Wheels, author Arthur Hailey advised Americans not to buy cars that were assembled on Mondays or Fridays—days when cars supposedly suffered from quality problems because they were put together when absenteeism and hangovers were highest among dissatisfied autoworkers. Although cars are not built all in one day (various parts are built at different times) and are not stamped with a “birth date,” Hailey’s claim reinforced the notion that, despite the efforts of quantitative management, the American cars produced on those days were the most shoddily made of what were coming to look like generally shoddy products.

The energy crisis of the 1970s showed different possibilities, as Americans began to buy more fuel-efficient, better-built cars made in Japan. Today the average American car lasts much longer than it used to, and some U.S. cars are equal or superior to the best foreign competitors—for example, the 2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6 beat the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350, according to one automotive review.53

Although not a “theory” as such, the quality-management viewpoint, which includes quality control, quality assurance, and total quality management, deserves to be considered because of its impact on contemporary management perspectives.

Quality Control & Quality Assurance

Quality refers to the total ability of a product or service to meet customer needs. Quality is seen as one of the most important ways of adding value to products and services, thereby distinguishing them from those of competitors. Two traditional strategies for ensuring quality are quality control and quality assurance.

Quality ControlQuality control is defined as the strategy for minimizing errors by managing each stage of production. Quality control techniques were developed in the 1930s at Bell Telephone Labs by Walter Shewart, who used statistical sampling to locate errors by testing just some (rather than all) of the items in a particular production run.

Quality Assurance Developed in the 1960s, quality assurance focuses on the performance of workers, urging employees to strive for “zero defects.” Quality assurance has been less successful because often employees have no control over the design of the work process.

TQM: What It Is From the work of Deming and Juran has come the strategic commitment to quality known as total quality management. Total quality management (TQM) is a comprehensive approach—led by top management and supported throughout the organization—dedicated to continuous quality improvement, training, and customer satisfaction.

The four components of TQM are as follows:

1.  Make continuous improvement a priority. TQM companies are never satisfied. They make small, incremental improvements an everyday priority in all areas of the organization. By improving everything a little bit of the time all the time, the company can achieve long-term quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

2.  Get every employee involved. To build teamwork, trust, and mutual respect, TQM companies see that every employee is involved in the continuous improvement process. This requires that workers must be trained and empowered to find and solve problems.

3.  Listen to and learn from customers and employees. TQM companies pay attention to their customers, the people who use their products or services. In addition, employees within the companies listen and learn from other employees, those outside their own work areas.

4.  Use accurate standards to identify and eliminate problems. TQM organizations are always alert to how competitors do things better, then try to improve on them—a process known as benchmarking. Using these standards, they apply statistical measurements to their own processes to identify problems.

Why Total Quality Management Is Important: The total quality management viewpoint emphasizes infusing concepts of quality throughout the total organization in a way that will deliver quality products and services to customers. The adoption of TQM helped American companies deal with global competition.

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