The critical success factors of TQM

Nowadays, in small firms implementation of Total Quality Management becomes important. There are many quality gurus who give different critical factors for Total Quality Management. Here Porter and parker give the eight critical success factors after a study. There is little difference between all these critical factors. There are eight critical success factors which affects the implementation of Total Quality Management. Among all of those factors Management behaviour is the most important. One survey of different ten organizations following TQM was carried out. Summary of surveyed organizations is also given in the table. The interviews were conducted during summer 1991 and each interview lasted approximately two hours. TQM is used at many areas like in education, manufacturing, services, public sectors and many more. Comparison of critical factors given by the Porter and Parker, Saraph et al and standard Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is given.

2) What the article is about

This article is about the critical success factors that makes possible to implement Total Quality Management. Porter and Parker have compared their critical success factors with Saraph et al (1989) and Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award (1992). Then they surveyed ten organizations whether they were following the TQM factors or not. At last they give brief introduction about all their eight critical success factors. The survey indicated that the eight critical factors can be arranged in ascending or descending order. Out of those eight factors, management behaviour is the most important.

3) How does the article fit with the principles & concepts of Quality Management?

Principles of Quality Management are as following:

Customer focus


Involvement of people

Process approach

System approach to management

Continuous process improvement

Factual approach to Decision making

Mutually beneficial supplier relationship (Goetsch, pages 12 – 17)

In this article there are eight critical success factors from those eight some fit with the principles and concepts of Quality Management.

1. Customer Focus:

There is no evidence in the article that talks about this issue.

2. Leadership:

There is many evidence of management behaviour. It means management behaviours of top position should be good to implement Total Quality Management. Managers should personally behave to motive their employees and they should encourage their employees to perform high levels and they should be committed to TQM. Management behaviours like understanding, leadership for TQM is the critical success factors. Change in organization culture is the main area to implement the Total Quality Management. Management see the TQM as an optional thing then it will be very tuff to implement TQM. According to M. P. Follett, the mother of management, if the workers or employees have relevant knowledge then managers should give permission to improve the process. Managers should behave like coaches and facilitators rather than a controller. To implement TQM, management should adopt behaviours necessary to create environment for TQM. Importance to be given to the relationship between senior management as a driver and the facilitator as a lubricator of TQM process.

3. Involvement of People

There is clear evidence of in involvement of employees. To implement high level TQM all the employee should participate in TQM process. Management should construct a strong strategy like reward so employees involve -ment in process increase automatically. Managers should not act as a controller. Motivation can encourage employees to take part in the TQM process

4. Process approach

There is an evidence of process management in the article. Documentation is the integral part of TQM. Processes should be under ISO 9001/BS5750. To make positive contribution in process management, top management should be committed with TQM processes. A need to achieve the highest degree of integration was required for the organization to have more matured TQM processes. Management needs to involve others in the implement process but they should not give the overall responsibility and must be seen to drive the process. The profile of TQM must be raised to a level such that the employees are given sufficient time for TQM. A limited span of control is necessary in order to maintain effective control and operation of the teams. Need for training in communication and presentation skill for managers and supervisors to ensure the effectiveness of the communication. The training task of a manager must be correctly phased in order to give necessary support and reinforcement to the subordinates. Need to ensure careful selection of relevant course material to enable the employees to relate the course examples to particular activities for the organization.

5. System approach to management

The approach of the company was to develop a key strategy for the process of management by doing exactly what TQM meant for their particular organization. The results indicated the need for better planning of the implementation strategy. TQM must be seen as a positive business strategy and not as an “optional extra” by the management.

6. Continuous process improvement

A presence of certain management behaviour such as understanding, commitment, leadership and continuous support for TQM process are the success factors needed by the organization for continuous process improvement.

7. Factual approach to Decision making

There is some evidence of factual approach to decision making.

8. Mutually beneficial supplier relationship

There is some evidence of mutually beneficial supplier relationship.

4) What are the key issue/problem that the article addresses and its conclusion?

Critical success factors for TQM are different for each and every organization. Many authors wrote different critical success factors for TQM so that’s the main key issue. Porte and Parker surveyed 10 organizations and they found many organizations finding some problems for implementing TQM.

Management behaviour is another key issue of this article. Where the management takes TQM as an ‘optional area’, it fails to implement Total Quality Management. It means management is not committed for TQM.

Many times compulsory or optional involvement of employee was viewed as the disadvantage. In optional involvement leads to loss of quality and compulsory involvement leads to disturbances in TQM process because of undesired participation.

5) Critique of the article


The nature to facilitate role to the employees was found to be unique in each organization.

The span of control to be a key issue in the development of appropriate team structure for the organization.

Personal communication was seen as a powerful tool for the organization.

Provision of improved feedback mechanisms was appreciated by staff although the level of feedback was regarded as generally low.

For the implementation of TQM, it might be useful for many organizations.

This article is very useful and knowledgeable for me because I am doing Quality management and it would be helpful for my future.

By reading this article mangers are able to understand the occurrence of problems and solution of those problems.

Authors have given critical success factors of TQM for Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award so it would be helpful to those organizations who want to achieve that award.

They have surveyed 10 organizations and carried out their problems for implementing TQM and at last they gave solutions for those problems so organizations can improve their processes by reading this article.

Training was viewed as a continuous process for the organization offering an opportunity for enforcement of TQM process.


The strategies developed cover the broad concepts of TQM, but they generally appeared to be underdeveloped and lack of details.

Unclear definition of phases of activity had resulted in early projects considerably overrunning.

The degree of integration was very low due to which the organization has immature TQM process.

Senior management was slow in delegating the responsibility for quality improvement activity resulting in slow rate of progress.

Critical success factors are different for each organization. They surveyed only ten organizations. At the time of survey particular company might be faced some problem that’s why they were not able to implement TQM.

They have not elaborated much about the eight critical success factors.

They have mentioned management behaviour as a most important factor for the implementation of TQM. I think there might be some other factors like Training and education, communication which are more important.

There is no evidence of motivation of employees in this article. It will be useful for achieving the targets.

The necessary management behaviour needed to be developed further.

Viewing TQM as an “optional extra” by the management likely led them towards failure.

Use of part time facilitators to redistribute the work theoretically creating inadequate time for the TQM.

The availability of resources was a limiting factor in the variety of media used for communication.

6) Conclusion

In the first part of paper eight factors are critical to successful implementation of Total Quality Management where identified evidence was collected in the second part. A model was developed from the results suggesting the process that senior management need to undertake a successful strategy for implementing TQM, which can only be developed when the necessary management behaviour has been adopted. The article talks about necessary behaviour that has to be developed keeping in view for perceptions of TQM.

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