Purpose – The present paper seeks to establish, through literature reports, if TQM is still a management theory in vogue or now a management fad. To achieve this, the innovative change process of TQM is examined, along the dimension of creativity, invention, innovation, diffusion and adoption. Design/methodology/approach – The approach for data collection is basically secondary sources. The literature is extensively reviewed to arrive at the position presented in the paper. Findings – From the reviews made it is argued that, although TQM looks faddish in graphical presentation of articles on TQM, it cannot be concluded that it is now a management fad. Though reports on TQM seem to diminish among popular press but academic scholars are still very much engrossed with empirical studies on TQM. This is based on the fact that many organizations still adopt and implement TQM and its diffusion is on the increase globally. Research limitations/implications – The main source of literature for the presentation is the ABI‐INFORM database. This might have reduced the generalizability of the findings in the present research. It is encouraged for other sources of literature to be explored. Practical implications – It is implied from the present research that TQM is still a management philosophy in practice. Because it is diffused cross‐culturally, it is encouraged for its adopters not to use it as a “canned technique” of management change. Rather the management ideas need to be adapted within specific organizational settings, putting into consideration employees' personality, organizational leadership styles, reward system, and other cultural practices. Implementers of TQM should endeavor to fully understand the antics of the management philosophy and implement accordingly. A clear understanding and training of personnel on TQM philosophy is pertinent for protecting it from becoming a management fad. Originality/value – What is original about the paper is the conceptualization of TQM along the organizational change process. TQM is presented as an innovation and its diffusion and adoption processes are sequentially analyzed.
Management Decision – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 2005
Keywords: Innovation; Total quality management; Organizational change; Nigeria
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