Total quality management (TQM) consists of an organization-wide efforts to make a continuous improvement in its ability to deliver high-quality products and services to customers.

Origin: TQM, in the form of statistical quality control, was invented by Walter A. Shewhart. It was initially implemented at Western Electric Company, in the form developed by Joseph Juran who had worked there with the method. TQM was demonstrated on a grand scale by Japanese industry through the intervention of W. Edwards Deming.

Guideline of total quality management should contain the following items:

  • TQM is a customer focused approach
  • It is company-wide strategy and involves everyone in the organization
  • Aims at satisfying the customer or delighting them
  • Provides best quality product and satisfy them in a cost effective manner
  • Fundamental changes in basic beliefs and practices
  • Prevention of defects is the way and the target is zero defects
  • Total quality management is methodical
  • Provides meaningful measures of performance that guide the self-improvement efforts of everyone involved

Principles for the Total Quality Management:

The basic principles for the Total Quality Management (TQM) philosophy of doing business is to satisfy the customer, satisfy the supplier, and continuously improve the business processes.

TQM: “Doing the Right Thing, Right the First Time, All the Time; always striving for Improvement & always satisfying the Customer.

Deming’s 14 Points on Quality Management, a core concept on implementing total quality management, is a set of management practices to help companies increase their quality and productivity.

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier.
  5. Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Adopt and institute leadership.
  8. Drive out fear.
  9. Break down barriers between staff areas.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.

14+ Principles of Total Quality Management (TQM) by Joseph Auciello

  1. ADD VALUE TO THE PROCESS: Every action by every employee should add value to the process or product in every way all the time. Enhance your work by your actions.
  2. DELIVER QUALITY ON TIME ALL THE TIME. Develop a pattern of delivering perfect products & services on time. Rate your sources by their ability to do this.
  3. BASE BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS ON MUTUAL TRUST and confidence: Providers and Suppliers build trust and confidence through quality and deliverability. Customers build it by quick payment and clear lines of communication. Reliability, Forthrightness, and Honesty are the Basis of forming Business Relations.
  4. TRAIN INDIVIDUALS AND TEAMS TO SOLVE PROBLEMS: Teach Problem -Solving Tools / Techniques & Teaming as the means to solve quality, safety, productivity, and deliverability problems.
  5. EMPOWER EMPLOYEES TO BE RESPONSIBLE for Quality, Safety, Productivity and Deliverability. Empowering means giving workers responsibility for their actions affecting their work. Share governance.
  6. DEED ‘OWNERSHIP’ OF PROCESS TO EMPLOYEES who have proven their capability. Reward and reinforce empowerment with Incentives, Job Security and Equity Sharing. Make employees owners of the process, not attendants.
  7. IMPLEMENT THE NEW TECHNOLOGY: Use modern information resources, INTERNET, databases, telecommunications, applications software, and project scheduling as tools to improve productivity. Use Statistical Process Control (SPC) to eliminate errors and defects and continually improve the system
  8. COLLECT, MEASURE AND EVALUATE DATA before Making Decisions. “It never hurts to turn the light on.” Make Decisions based on evidence. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t evaluate it.”
  9. APPLY THE ’80/20′ PRINCIPLE: Use this Problem-Solving Tool to put problems into ‘Trivial Many’ and ‘Vital Few’ Categories. Record the causes and frequencies of problems on a Tally Sheet. Develop this into a Pareto Chart which plots the frequencies (most- to least-important) of the problems. 20% of the causes create at least 80% of the problems. Importance of resolving vital problems first.
  10. DEVELOP ‘WIN-WIN’ SCENARIOS: Create solutions that will benefit all parties. Cooperation that develops synergism is the best solution.
  11. DEVELOP A MASTER PLAN: Good Design Precedes Good Craftsmanship. A well-designed plan tracks and benchmarks an action through to its completion. “Quality begins at the Design Level.” (Marty Madigan)
  12. PLAN FOR ALL CONTINGENCIES: Prepare for all solutions by developing alternatives. If necessary, flowchart plans dealing with all possible alternatives. Apply ‘If-Then-Else’ type of logic to problems.
  13. MAKE ZERO DEFECTS AND ACCIDENTS YOUR GOAL: Use the tools of TQM, SPC, and Problem-Solving to achieve these goals by detecting and eliminating the causes.
  14. QUALIFY YOUR SOURCES AND SUPPLIERS: Use Quality and Deliverability as the basis for selecting the source of your materials and services.


6 Basic Concepts of TQM:

  1. Top management should be aware of current situation and needs to be committed towards TQM implementation.
  2. Focus customer requirements and product/service expectations.
  3. Involve employees in understanding the quality aspects and make them accountable
  4. Continuous improvement in the process is required
  5. Treat suppliers as your partners
  6. Develop tracking mechanism for processes and improve it as per business requirements


Total quality management (TQM) has high impact on human resource management. It emphasizes self-control, autonomy, and creativity among employees and calls for greater active cooperation rather than just compliance.

Alignment of HR and Quality: A fruitful cooperation between HRM and TQM can produce better organizational results. The alignment of HR and quality policies, such as creating and communicating the TQM vision, preparing the organization and employees for TQM implementation and generating quality awareness among the employees across all levels, functions, and departments, should contribute to an increase company performance.

The success and the progress of an organization is heavily depends on the combination of HRM, TQM, organizational commitment and the job involvement. Attraction and retention of the best employees within the organization, increasing job satisfaction, getting higher level performance from the employees are the most important tasks in HRM. But to achieve all of these things and to reach to organizational goals an organization should have employees with organizational commitment and job involvement and that is possible only when every stakeholder in the organisation aims for quality in every task that they perform.

Impact of TQM on Human Resource Management

TQM and HR Practice: If an organization experience HR practices with a high quality, TQM is there. But TQM is not HRM. In simply TQM is the art of managing the whole to achieve excellence. So when the HRM practices in its maximum level it is called TQM. Then the organizational commitment and job involvement of employees are also increase.

TQM and Job Analysis: Usage of TQM techniques on job analysis such as job design, job enrichment, job enlargement etc to produce job specification and job description the company gains immense benefits in terms of quality results when compared to an organisation which does not practice TQM in job analysis. By using TQM in job analysis efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of employees increases. It also causes cost minimization, increased health and safety level of employees resulting to increase in employee satisfaction and quality of work life. When job satisfaction is high it causes to have high job involvement and organizational commitment. On the other hand when TQM is not practicing in job design and job analysis it will cause to lower productivity, employee turnover. Absenteeism, complains, unionization and resignation

TQM and Talent Resourcing: Placing the right people in the right jobs reduces the staff turnover rate and the costs involved with constant recruitment. TQM solutions are very important in attracting the right talent.TQM has an effect on selection procedures leading to more sophisticated recruitment and selection techniques which includes psychometric and aptitude tests and assessment centers in an attempt to identify team workers who are appropriate to a quality culture. Hence TQM has high impact in talent acquisition ensuring recruitment and allocation of right employee to the right position.

These TQM based tools are designed to be used by organization to develop quality people, who make a difference to the business, they measure and give manageable results on the individuals progress and identify further support and development opportunities. Organizations which are practicing TQM can be an employer of choice ensuring high retention rate. Hence the best people join the organization and the organization selects the most suitable people among them. Job involvement and organizational commitment of those selected people are in a higher level because they can work in a pleasant working environment.

TQM and Training: As corporate historian, the HR department should be primarily responsible for relaying the TQM culture to members of the organization in employee orientation training. Beyond communicating the TQM philosophy, the specific training and development needs for making TQM a practical reality must be assessed and delivered. Training also provides an opportunity to empower and motivate employees, reducing employee resistance and increases the chances of TQM success.

TQM and Employee Empowerment: Top management commitment and employee empowerment is one of the most important and vital principle in total quality management, because it is often assumed to have a strong relationship with customer satisfaction. In TQM implementation the top management commitment creates an organizational climate that empowers employees. Thus, this can be achieved with top management commitment in training employees and giving employees opportunities to be responsible for the quality of their work. Employee Empowerment in TQM brings about a flattened organizational chart where there is a shared responsibility between the managers and the employees.

TQM and Team Work: Team work facilitates job satisfaction and job involvement and TQM encourages job satisfaction and job involvement. The development of people and their involvement in improvement of activities both individually and through teamwork is a key feature in a company’s approach to TQM. A key aspect of this is making full use of the skills and knowledge of all employees to the benefit of the individuals and the organization and to create a group culture. The organizations with TQM practices encourage teamwork from their HR practices where a HR manager’s role in teamwork is very important.

TQM and Leadership: TQM is a very people oriented technique and it indicates that the leadership, conducive work culture and positive attitudes of employees as the major factors that affect the excellence of TQM. Some principles and practices of TQM may differ among firms and industries, but there is unanimous agreement as to the importance of leadership by top management in implementing TQM. Such leadership is a pre-requisite to all strategy and action plans. Those firms that have succeeded in making total quality work for them have been able to do so because of strong leadership.

TQM and Strategic HRM: One of the important impacts of TQM, from strategic HRM perspective, is that it places great emphasis on training. Consistent emphasis on measurement, maintaining the record of error and mistakes in some companies that use TQM, training is evaluated with the use of control groups and experimental designs. In contrast to training, TQM is sharply at odds with conventional human resource practices in the area of performance evaluation. Traditional performance evaluation systems are flawed because they are directed toward the individual instead of a team. Such systems focus on assigning blames for past mistakes instead of pointing out the direction for the future and may even detract from teamwork. Despite these differences, most of the concepts of TQM are very much applicable in HRM and if used in systematic and well-planned manners can result in good product and service quality and organizational growth.

Total Quality HR Policy

The quality aspect if required to be incorporated in the culture of the organisation, then it should be included in the HR policy of the organisation.  The HR policy should reflect the emphasis of quality in every responsibility being carried out in the organisation. HR Policy strongly supports the actions to advance vastly improved transparency, quality and cost containment in the organisation.

A total quality HR policy must be dedicated at all levels of its operations, to provide quality services that meets the initial and on-going needs and expectations of the employees and customers through continuous improvement of all operations ensuring continued success of the organisation.

For example the Nestle HR Policy includes the following which depicts the emphasis of quality:

  • “The prime responsibility of the HR managers and their staff is to contribute actively to the quality of HR management throughout the organisation by proposing adequate policies, ensuring their consistent application and coherent implementation with fairness. They are supposed to provide professional support in handling people matters but should not substitute themselves to the responsible manager.”
  • “Each new member joining Nestlé is to become a participant in developing a sustainable quality culture which implies a commitment to the organisation, a sense for continuous improvement and leaves no place for complacency.”
  • “The quality of communication in the organisation is an essential part of the dialogue that each manager will have with her/his employee’s matters”
  • The superiors are in a key position in the implementation of the Human Resources Policy and the development of personnel competence. Continuous inputs are made in the quality of the work of the superiors and their competence.
  • Encourage the personnel to renew the work community and to constantly improve the quality of operation.
  • Quality people make quality organisations, and that’s why our business is based on expert and motivated personnel.



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