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Some of the contrasting differences between modern TQ organizations and traditional organizations that pre-dated the quality revolution are summarized below.
Organizational structures: Traditional management views an enterprise as a collection of separate, highly specialized individual performers and units, linked within a functional hierarchy. Lateral connections are made by intermediaries close to the top of the provinces. TQ views the enterprise as a system of interdependent processes, linked laterally, over time, through a network of collaborating (internal and external) suppliers and customers. Processes are connected to the enterprise’s mission and purpose, through a hierarchy of micro and macro processes. Every process contains subprocesses and is itself contained within a higher order process. This structure of processes is repeated throughout the hierarchy.
Role of people: Traditional management views people as a commodity, virtually interchangeable, and to be developed based on the perceived needs of the enterprise. People are passive contributors, with little autonomy, doing what they are told and nothing more. TQ views people as the enterprise’s true competitive edge. Leadership provides people with opportunities for personal growth and development. People take joy and pride through learning and accomplishment, and enhance the capability of the enterprise to succeed. People are active contributors, valued for their creativity and intelligence. Every person is a process manager, presiding over the transformation of inputs to outputs of greater value to the enterprise and to the consumer.
Definition of quality: In traditional management, quality is the adherence to internal specifications and standards. The absence of defects, therefore, defines quality. Inspection of people’s work by others is necessary to control defects. Innovation is not required. In TQ, quality is defined in a positive sense as products and services that go beyond the present needs and expectations of customers. Innovation is required.
Goals and objectives: In traditional management, the functional provinces are in a zero-sum game in which there must be a loser for every winner. People do not cooperate unless it serves their own or their unit’s best interests. Parochialism is a fact of business life. In TQ, self-interest and the greater good are served simultaneously by serving one’s customers. Everyone wins or no one wins. Cooperation takes the place of competition.
Knowledge: In traditional management, quality embodies knowledge applicable only to manufacturing and engineering. In TQ, quality embodies knowledge applicable to all the disciplines of the enterprise. All levels of management and the workforce must, as Deming often said, “learn the new philosophy.
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Management systems: In traditional management, managers oversee departments or functions or collections of individuals. The pieces do not know they are interdependent. They each act as if they are the whole. Quality problems occur when individual people or departments do not do their best. In TQ, managers oversee interdependent systems and processes and exercise managerial leadership through participative management. Their roles are to act as mentors, facilitators, and innovators. Quality results from the enterprises’ systems and individuals working together. People working in the system cannot do better than the system allows (recall the Red Bead experiment). The majority of problems are prevented and improvement promoted when people understand how they fit in, and have the knowledge to maximize their contribution to the whole system. Only management can create an environment that nurtures a team-oriented culture, which focuses on problem prevention and continuous improvement.
Reward systems: In traditional management, performance appraisal, recognition, and reward systems place people in an internally competitive environment. This environment reinforces individualism to the detriment of teamwork. In TQ, reward systems recognize individual as well as team contributions and reinforce cooperation.
Management’s role: Once the organization has found a formula for success it is reluctant to change it. Management’s job, therefore, is to maintain the status quo by preventing change. In TQ, the environment in which the enterprise interacts constantly changes. If the enterprise continues to do what it has done in the past, its future performance, relative to the competition, will deteriorate. Management’s job, therefore, is to provide the leadership for continual improvement and innovation in processes and systems, products, and services. External change is inevitable, but a favorable future can be shaped.
Union-management relations: In traditional management, the adversarial relationship between union and management is inevitable. The only area for negotiation lies in traditional issues, such as wages, health, and safety. In TQ, the union becomes a partner and a stakeholder in the success of the enterprise. The potential for partnership and collaboration is unlimited, particularly in the areas of education, training, and meaningful involvement of employees in process improvement.
Teamwork: In traditional management, hierarchical “chimney” organization structures promote identification with functions and tend to create competition, conflict, and adversarial relations between functions. In TQ, formal and informal mechanisms encourage and facilitate teamwork and team development across the entire enterprise.
Supplier relationships: In traditional management, suppliers are pitted against each other to obtain the lowest price. The more suppliers competing against each other, the better it is for the customer company. In TQ, suppliers are partners with their customers. Partnership aims to encourage innovation, reduce variation of critical characteristics, lower costs, and improve quality. Reducing the number of suppliers and establishing long-term relationships helps to achieve this aim.
Control: In traditional management, control is achieved by pre-established inflexible responsive patterns laid down in the book of rules and procedures. People are customers of the “book,” which prescribes appropriate behaviors. In TQ, control results from shared values and beliefs, as well as knowledge of mission, purpose, and customer requirements.
Customers: In traditional management, customers are outside the enterprise and within the domain of marketing and sales. In TQ, everyone inside the enterprise is a customer of an internal or external supplier. Marketing concepts and tools can be used to assess internal customer needs and communicate internal supplier capabilities.
Responsibility: In traditional management, the manager’s job is to do the subordinates’ planning, and inspect the work to make sure the plans are followed. In TQ, the manager’s job is to manage his or her own process and relationships with others and give subordinates the capability to do the same through empowerment. The manager must be a coach and facilitator rather than a director.
Motivation: In traditional management, motivation is achieved by aversive control. People are motivated to do what they do to avoid failure and punishment, rather than contribute something of value to the enterprise. People are afraid to do anything that would displease their supervisor or not be in compliance with company regulations. The system makes people feel like losers. In TQ, managers provide leadership rather than overt intervention in the processes of their subordinates, who are viewed as process managers rather than functional specialists. People are motivated to make meaningful contributions to what they believe is an important and noble cause and of value to the enterprise and society. The system enables people to feel like winners.
Competition: In traditional management, competition is inevitable and inherent in human nature. In TQ, competitive behavior--one person against another or one group against another--is not a natural state. Instead, competitive behavior seeks to improve the methods for pleasing the customer, eliminating waste of nonrenewable resources, or preventing passing on to future generations a damaged planet, incapable of sustaining human life.