Despite still having many supporters and much use outside higher education, total quality management (TQM) has had a remarkably small impact on colleges and universities. While numerous institutions of higher education have sponsored "quality" initiatives, nearly all of these have focused on non-academic activities. Thus, higher education TQM has concentrated on processes such as registration, physical plant, bill paying, and purchasing. It has ignored the most critical questions facing the academy such as faculty tenure, curriculum, tuition and fee levels vis-à-vis scholarship assistance. TQM has had virtually nothing to say about these matters. Two-thirds of institutions that began TQM projects in the 1990s abandoned them because the vast majority have been failures. Why? Because TQM has failed to address the most important issues. Nor, because of the nature of academic culture and the difficulty of defining the precise nature of higher education, is it ever likely to do so. TQM's time has come and passed in higher education.
The TQM Magazine – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2003
Keywords: Higher education; Colleges; Universities
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