Total Quality Management

September 21, 2008

Human Resource Management in TQM


Total quality management (TQM) has far-reaching implications for the management of human resources. It emphasizes self-control, autonomy, and creativity among employees and calls for greater active cooperation rather than just compliance.

Indeed, it is becoming a maxim of good management that human factors are the most important dimension in quality and productivity improvement.

Involvement: A central idea of Human Resource utilization

At the heart of the TQM is the concept of intrinsic motivation-involvement in decision making by the employees. Employee involvement is a process for empowering members of an organization to make decisions and to solve problems appropriate to their levels in the organization.

The Lean (Toyota) systems, utilizing JIT techniques are more productive, smaller and more efficient, increases worker pride and involvement on shop floor.

Define Employee Empowerment

The dictionary definition  of empowerment is to invest people with authority

Empowerment should not be confused with delegation or job enrichment. Delegation refers to distributing and entrusting work to others. Employee empowerment requires that he individual is held responsible for accomplishing the whole task. The employee becomes process owner- thus the individual is not only responsible but also accountable. Employee empowerment requires that the individual is held responsible  for accomplishing a whole task.

Suggestion System

Suggestion systems are designed to provide the individual with the opportunity to be involved by contributing to the organization. The key to an effective system is management commitment. It is the responsibility of management to make it easy for employees to suggest improvements. Stimulating and encouraging employee participation starts the creative process.

Five Ground Rules for Stimulating and Encouraging Suggestion System are:

1. Be Progressive by regularly asking your employees for suggestions

2. Remove fear by focusing on the process and not on the person.

3. Simplify the process so it is easy to participate

4. Respond Quickly to suggestions and within specified period of time

5. Reward the idea with published recognition so that everyone knows the value of contribution.

Why Training is important in TQM based organizations?

As, at the heart of TQM is the concept of intrinsic motivation-involvement in decision making by the employees, it means more responsibility, which in turn requires a greater level of skill.
This must be achieved through TRAINING.

Basic Steps of Effective Training Plans

  • The first step in training process is to make everyone aware of what the training is all about. Thoughts suggestions should be gathered.
  • The second step is to get acceptance. The trainees must feel that training will be of value to them.
  • The third step is to adept to adapt the program. Is everyone ready to buy into it? Does everyone feel they are a part of what is going to take place?
  • The fourth step is to adept to what has been agreed upon. What changes must be made in behavior and attitudes.

What kind of Training be imparted to the employees?

The type of training depends on the need of the particular company. The areas that should be common to all organizations’ training program is problem solving and communication skills.

In addition to above areas, all members should receive training in quality awareness (TQM), statistical process control (SPC), safety, and technical aspects of job. The only difference among types of training is that some may be required more often and for greater length of times than others.

Following chart is based on recommendation of Dr. Juran regarding the type of training to be imparted at different organizational levels. The areas recommended are indicated in green color:


The Performance Appraisal

The purpose of performance appraisal is to let employee know how they are doing, and provide a basis of promotions, salary increases, counseling. Many supervisors look at appraisals as one of the unpleasant duties they must performance. Conversely some supervisors feel it a pleasant duty and can reveal how effective an employee is in contributing to the success of organization.

Every effort should be made to avoid errors in performance evaluations. An unfair evaluation could cost an organization a valuable employee.

Criticism on Performance Appraisal System

The critics of  appraisal system suggests that appraisals nourish short-term performance and destroy long-term planning.

Another criticism states that individual appraisal destroys teamwork. If teams are to become a cohesive unit of “all for one and one for all,” then individual ranking would undermine the entire concept.

A third concern is the assumption that an individual is responsible for all results. In reality results are frequently beyond an individual’s control, such as processes and equipment. Deming has stated that 85% of the problems are the result of the system.

Last, there is a concern that appraisals are frequently based on subjectivity and immeasurable.

Dr.J.Edward Demming

Dr.J.Edward Demming



The Deming’s Reservation about performance appraisal system

The traditional performance appraisal system has been criticized as being counterproductive and unnecessary by Deming.

He once stated, “In practice, annual ratings are a disease, annihilating long-term planning, demobilizing teamwork, nourishing rivalry and politics, leaving people bitter, crushed, bruised, battered, desolate, despondent, unfit for work for weeks after receipt of rating, unable to comprehend why they are inferior…”

Should individual performance appraisals be eliminated, as suggested by Deming?

The answer is: This unlikely in view of historical and widespread use of human resource management tool. Rather than scrap performance appraisals, a number of practitioners have suggested that the performance appraisal system be improved.

What should then be a good performance appraisal system?

First of all, there should be a good relationship between the employee and appraiser. Employees should be made aware of appraisal process, what is evaluated and how often. Employees should be told how they are doing on a continuous basis, not just at appraisal time. The appraisal should point out strength and weaknesses as well as how performance can be improved. The performance must be based on standards that are developed and agreed upon by the appraiser and employee. And lastly, an employee should always be given an opportunity to comment on the evaluation, to include protesting, if desired.

Compensation System

The traditional compensation systems have been based on:

1. Pay for performance
2. Pay for responsibility (a job description)

Each of these are based on individual performance, which creates a competitive atmosphere among employees. If compensation criteria are focused exclusively on individual performance, a company will find that initiatives promoting teamwork will fail

Compensation System in TQM Philosophy

The TQM Philosophy emphasizes flexibility, lateral-communication, group effectiveness, and responsibility for an entire process that has the ultimate outcome of customer satisfaction.

A team based compensation approach is Gain Sharing or Performance Bonus to all employees. It is a system of management in which an organization seek higher levels of performance through involvement and participation of its people.

The approach is a team effort and reinforces TQM, partially because it contains common components, such as involvement and commitment.



  1. Interesting information, thanks for sharing

    Comment by Javier Marcelo — September 27, 2011 @ 3:43 am

  2. it has nice content! thanks for sharing

    Comment by mitku assefa — June 13, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

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