Total Quality Management: History and Theories

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a strategic management tool that focuses on delivering quality products and services. The management tool operates through the frameworks of quality control, quality planning, quality standard measurement, and continuous quality improvement. It aims at improving production efficiency, output quality, customer satisfaction, and internal processes effectiveness (Ahire 100). This paper discuses the history and theories of total Quality Management.

Evolution of total quality management

The roots of TQM can be traced in the 1920s with the emergence of statistical theories that were applied to improve products and services quality; during this time the main focus was using available statistical data to look into issues that affected output directly. The main focus at the time was how raw materials were converted to final products; it involved management of production cost.

In the 1954, the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) invited some management gurus from Unites States of America, Joseph Juran, Edward Deming, and Philip Crosby, to consult them on how their products would become competitive. The three gurus focused on how quality management would be used to improve production lines in the country. The idea was developed with the understanding that statistical method of product management had been used to detect and fix problem along production line; the method was used in measuring, examining, and testing products, processes and services against specified requirements to determine conformity. With the understanding the gurus sort to understand why the same approach cannot be included in other areas of management.

During the 1940’s Japan was making cheep and shoddy imitated products; with the quality the products could hardly compete with other players. Organizational and industrial leaders recognized their loss of competitiveness and sort to develop innovative methods to improve their condition; they then invited the above mentioned management gurus. After the negotiations and looking at the issues, the gurus advised that the situation can be improved in five years, they developed quality circles where employees were allowed to discuss on how they can improve production in quality and quantity in their area of study, and the outcomes were satisfactory.

In 1969, when addressing a quality control conference in Tokyo, Japan Fergenbaum used the term “total quality”, he used the firm to include the wider issues of an organization. In the same conference there was the discussion of “ishikawa” which was a European approach meaning company-wide quality control. The use of the team total quality management started in the 1980s and 1990s; the terminology was triggered by the success that Japanese products had attained at the time; people from different parts sort to use the same approach to improve their efficiency and production.

The terminology (TQM) consist competitive moves and business approaches aimed at producing successful performance; it is management’s “game plan” for running the business, strengthening a firm’s competitive position, satisfying the customers, the stakeholders, share holders, and the staffs. It seeks to develop the way into which all those that are a party to the business get satisfied. It aims at going a step further and satisfying the customers beyond their expectations. There is a lot of focus on the customer; the customer is the greatest asset that an organization can have. To get customers’ loyalty is every business dream and target. Comparing the Toyota and Emirates strategies, it is clear that both of them have adopted a TQM system which is acting to their advantage. They are both enjoying benefits brought about by TQM, which include efficiency in their processes, increased customer satisfaction, competitiveness, and customer satisfaction.

Comparison of philosophies of quality management by:

Dr. Joseph Juran (December 24, 1904 – February 28, 2008)

Dr. Juran approach to total quality management involved the role and responsibilities of management; according to the philosopher, management had the role of planning, organizing, and controlling activities within their organizations to attain corporate goals and objectives. His main focus was on top-down management and focuses more on satisfaction of customers through continuous system improvement and problem-solving techniques. The management guru when defining quality uses terms like design, conformance, availability, safety, and field use; according to him, the following are the most important quality improvement approaches:

  • Have the mind to improve quality and efficiency;
  • Have specific attainable set goals to improve ; when setting goals consider the strengths and weaknesses of an organization;
  • Plan, organize and control to attain the desired results;
  • Have continuous staffs training programs that focus on improving their level of efficiency;
  • Have problem solving tools and conflicts resolution mechanisms;
  • Give recognition and appreciation to those areas and individuals performing well;
  • Communicate the results;
  • Give quality attained stores and;
  • Maintain the momentum.

The focus by Dr. Juran is more on customer services and products improvement, he has less focus on internal customers (Haller 12-67).

Edward Deming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993)

Deming was mathematical physician who consulted in management issues: according to the management philosopher, total quality management assumes a continuous change, therefore managers must constantly evaluate performance, monitor the situation and decide how well things are going and make necessary adjustments. The management should now review the strategies that they had implemented and the feedback that they have gotten from the customers. In case of any area that is not well addressed, it is handled. In T.Q.M. the views of the employees as well as the feedback from the customers are of great importance (Creech 2-68).

Deming brought fourteen main areas of consideration when dealing with TQM in an organization, they are:

  • Aim at being competitive and involve consultancy in different areas; the consultancy according to him was from people with experience in the specific area;
  • Have the zeal and motivation to change and adopt other new philosophies of working and business approach;
  • Ensure, control, and build quality of products and services from the inspection of the system;
  • Focus on cost management rather than gaining profit margins through increment of selling cost;
  • Audit the system constantly and ensure there are always areas that are being improved; service and goods quality improvement;
  • Involve employees and engage them in constant training and retraining;
  • Have effective leadership methodology that does not give directions but lead with examples;
  • Manage human resources effectively and remove any fears that can hinder ones production;
  • Promote interdepartmental integration and ensure that all areas are interlinked for the good of the organization;
  • Eliminate slogans and targets that does not add value in a team;
  • Other than focusing on quantity as measure of output consider other routes like quality;
  • Remove barriers to pride of workmanship;
  • Adopt team work policy and have timely education and re-training for both the management and the workforce;
  • Take action to accomplish the desired goal and objectives.

The fourteen strengths according to Deming focus on the role that human resources within an organization can have on improvement on quality; although the final product is of main focus, the guru bring the need to involve human capital in attainment of the set goal and objectives (Aguayo 2-45).

Philip Crosby (June 18, 1926 – Winter Park, August 18, 2001)

Given the speed with which change occurs in the global business environment, standard, planning techniques and asset allocation methods have become woefully outdated. Achieving new levels of business sophistication is a never-ending process, requiring companies to rapidly reallocate assets to meet changing conditions. To effectively accomplish this reallocation the organizations need a system that provides continuous evaluation and improvement, ensuring effective use of both business (hard) and organizational (soft) assets (Creech 2-68).

Because of the ever changing market place, many organizations are transforming their business in order to compete favorably. Total quality management happens to be the widely applied technique in virtually all organizations. They have realized the benefits that come with this technique and it has been applied in all processes. In the implementation of TQM six concepts which are considered to be vital must be taken into consideration. These are customers (both internal and external), leadership and teamwork, continuous improvement, control of business processes, preventive action, and preventive management. Philip Crosby developed fourteen stages approaches to quality management as follows:

  • Be committed to quality, management are challenged that they should be in the forefront advocating for quality;
  • Have quality improvement teams with the right leadership;
  • Identify the previous problems that have hindered the attainment of the quality levels expected;
  • Have an analysis of the cost of quality and use in when making costing techniques;
  • Raise quality awareness across board;
  • Take appropriate actions that address previous hindrances first;
  • Have committees that focus on zero defects programs;
  • Train management, staffs, and supervisors on the right path of production;
  • Hold a Zero defects day to facilitate programs understanding;
  • Have individual and team establish their own quality improvement mechanisms;
  • Facilitate effective communication and feedback;
  • Recognition of compliant people, team and department;
  • Have quality controls;
  • Do it again and again(its continuous) (Creech 2-68).


When handling the issue of quality management, Philip Crosby and Edward Deming focus more on the role that personnel within an organization play. They seem to focus on methods that can make employees more productive by improving their skills with the expected end result as satisfied customers. The only difference on the two is that Phillip advocates for employees to solve their own problems and develop efficiency paths, while Edward involves the role played by effective leadership in guidance and control. On the other hand, Joseph Juran looks into quality management from customer point of view; he is of the opinion that organizations should consider their target customer satisfaction before making any business decision. The management guru puts management to task of enacting policies that improve quality and efficiency (Hutchins 23-556).


TQM involves structuring and controlling all organizational processes to improve efficiency and create quality delivery. The method was developed in 1940’s in Japan by Joseph Juran, Edward Deming, and Philip Crosby. According to the management strategy, business leaders have the role of planning, organizing, and controlling activities within their organizations to attain corporate goals and objectives. When performing their roles, leaders are expected to involve their human capital (subordinates) in decision making and ensure they create an organizational culture that motivates and promotes innovation.

Works Cited

Ahire, Sanjay. Management Science, Total Quality Management interfaces: An integrative framework. New Jersey: Wisley, 2006. Print.

Aguayo, Rafael. Dr. Deming: The American Who Taught the Japanese About Quality. New York: Wiley, 1991. Print.

Creech, Bill. The Five Pillars of TQM. New York: Truman Talley Books, 1994.

Haller, Harold. Managing with profound knowledge: A management process based on the Deming management theory. New Jersey: Harold S. Haller & Company, 1993. Print.

Hutchins, Greg. The Quality Book. Portland. QPE Books, 1996. Print.