Definition Of Total Quality Management

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BusinessDictionary.com defines Total Quality Management (TQM) as a holistic approach to long-term success that views continuous improvement in all aspects of an organization as a process and not as a short-term goal. It aims to radically transform the organization through progressive changes in the attitudes, practices, structures, and systems. Total quality management transcends the product quality approach, involves everyone in the organization, and encompasses its every function: administration, communications, distribution, manufacturing, marketing, planning, training, etc. (BusinessDictionary.com, n.d.).
The history of Total Quality Management can be traced all the way back to medieval times. Apprentices and unskilled workers were
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This process worked for a time, however, eventually companies began to experience challenges in completing quality control standards as organizations grew and expanded. Conflict developed as workers were upset with their working conditions, and how the work was done. It became obvious that the system needed to change and evolve in order to meet the growing demands.
From 1927 through 1932, the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company studied lighting levels, workday lengths, and rest period lengths to maximize productivity. During the lighting level studies, researchers found that when the lights were brighter, worker productivity increased. However, when lighting level was decreased worker productivity also increased. This behavior is called the Hawthorne effect, it basically states that when workers are involved in studies or decision making, productivity increases. Also during the 1930s, Walter Shewhart developed control charts. which are methods for statistical analysis and control of quality.
It was amid the 1940 's when Japan heard of Total Quality Management, at this time Japanese products were regarded as cheap and of poor quality. Learning of the success of quality management in America, Japan made use of quality management experts, and in a relatively short time, Japan was pushing limits and setting new standards in TQM.
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