Increased competitive pressures and global markets realities are forcing businesses to rethink and evaluate their competitive strategies and management practices with the aim of improving organisational performance. Defining, implementing and sustaining strategic quality orientation (TQM practices) is seen as the answer to sustained competitive performance. However, many businesses make the effort but fail to fully achieve Total Quality Management.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons or causes of failure to achieve TQM and forward some suggestions on what businesses should do to achieve TQM. To start with, we shall define TQM followed by the reasons for failure and then suggestions for the successful implementation of TQM.
Total Quality management (TQM) has been defined by Foster and Whittle as:
"A fundamental shift from what has gone before. The systematic analysis continues but the focus switches from a process driven by external control through procedure compliance and enhancement to a process of habitual improvement where control is embedded within and is driven by the culture of the organisation".
A more detailed definition is that given by Mile Terziovski and Danny Samson :
" TQM is a new management philosophy that embraces concepts, methods, tools and techniques to form a language which is understood and applied as a business strategy at the top floor and as a functional strategy at the shop floor. This approach assists organisations to integrate business activities in leadership, people, customer focus, planning, quality assurance of processes and information and analysis. These activities when effectively linked together would, lead to sustainable world class performance in customer satisfaction, employee relations, operating performance and business performance".
Implementation of a strategic quality/TQM philosophy is a complex, time-consuming process. Thus although many companies make the effort to achieve quality systems many fail.
Reasons for Quality failure...