Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the development of total quality management (TQM) from the very beginning to the present and to give a proposal for a redefinition for the future. Design/methodology/approach – To reach this purpose, experiences and problems from the past are described and corporate sustainability as a new frame discussed. Findings – Many attempts to imitate the “Japanese Way” in Western companies failed, because they were only using some instruments (often focused on product quality) and not understanding the necessity of a fundamental change of culture. Globalization and international competition lead to the introduction of National Quality Awards and their use by a growing number of companies. But the term of “quality” was not promoting these concepts, therefore all international award models do not use the term quality any longer. And as TQM has also been driven by consultants, many companies gave up this approach. As the contents of TQM are still a necessity for any organization, one has to look for a new headline representing identical contents. Using, e.g. the early ISO definition of TQM one can see that sustainable success has been related to a stakeholder approach. Therefore, corporate sustainability based on a stakeholder approach would be a future‐oriented concept to replace the name of TQM – but not the content. Originality/value – This paper shows a new – or until now not extensively discussed – perspective for the understanding of TQM.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 2, 2007
Keywords: Total quality management; Sustainable development; Corporate strategy; Stakeholder analysis
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