TQM And Organizational Change And Development
By Thomas Packard, D.S.W.
From Total Quality Management in the Social Services: Theory and Practice. Burton Gummer and Philip McCallion, Eds., Albany, NY: Rockefeller College Press, (1995).
Table of Contents
TQM as Large-Scale Systems Change
People's Expectations and Perceptions
Sources of Resistance
Dealing with Resistance
Exhibit I: A Force Field Analysis
Exhibit II: Resistance to Change
Current Reality and Preconditions
Exhibit III: Conditions Supportive of Change
Steps in Managing the Transition Process
Institutionalization of TQM
Some Do's and Don'ts
While Total Quality Management has proven to be an effective process for improving organizational functioning, its value can only be assured through a comprehensive and wellthoughtout implementation process. The purpose of this chapter is to outline key aspects of implementation of largescale organizational change which may enable a practitioner to more thoughtfully and successfully implement TQM. First, the context will be set. TQM is, in fact, a largescale systems change, and guiding principles and considerations regarding this scale of change will be presented. Without attention to contextual factors, wellintended changes may not be adequately designed. As another aspect of context, the expectations and perceptions of employees (workers and managers) will be assessed, so that the implementation plan can address them. Specifically, sources of resistance to change and ways of dealing with them will be discussed. This is important to allow a change agent to anticipate resistances and design for them, so that the process does not bog down or stall. Next, a model of implementation will be presented, including a discussion of key principles. Visionary leadership will be offered as an overriding perspective for someone instituting TQM. In recent years the literature on change management and leadership has grown steadily, and applications based on research findings will be more likely to succeed. Use of tested principles will also enable the change agent to avoid reinventing the proverbial wheel. Implementation principles will be followed by a review of steps in managing the transition to the new system and ways of helping institutionalize the process as part of the organization's culture. This section, too, will be informed by current writing in transition management and institutionalization of change. Finally, some miscellaneous do's and don't's will be offered.
Members of any organization have stories to tell of the introduction of new programs, techniques, systems, or even, in current terminology, paradigms. Usually the employee, who can be anywhere from the line worker to the executive level, describes such an incident with a combination of cynicism and disappointment: some manager went to a conference or in some other way got a "great idea" (or did it based on threat or desperation such as an urgent need to cut costs) and came back to work to enthusiastically present it, usually mandating its implementation. The "program" probably raised people's expectations that this time things would improve, that management would listen to their ideas. Such a program usually is introduced with fanfare, plans are made, and things slowly return to normal. The manager blames unresponsive employees, line workers blame executives interested only in looking good, and all complain about the resistant middle managers. Unfortunately, the program itself is usually seen as worthless: "we tried team building (or organization development or quality circles or what have you) and it didn't work; neither will TQM". Planned change processes often work, if conceptualized and implemented properly; but, unfortunately, every organization is different, and the processes are often adopted "off the shelf" "the 'appliance model of organizational change': buy a complete program, like a 'quality circle package,' from a dealer, plug it in, and hope that it runs by itself" (Kanter, 1983, 249). Alternatively, especially in the underfunded public and notforprofit sectors, partial applications are tried, and in spite of management and employee commitment do not bear fruit. This chapter will focus on ways of preventing some of these disappointments.
In summary, the purpose here is to review principles of effective planned change implementation and suggest specific TQM applications. Several assumptions are proposed: 1. TQM is a viable and effective planned change method, when properly installed; 2. not all organizations are appropriate or ready for TQM; 3. preconditions (appropriateness, readiness) for successful TQM can sometimes be created; and 4. leadership commitment to a largescale, longterm, cultural change is necessary. While problems in adapting TQM in government and social service organizations have been identified, TQM can be useful in such organizations if properly modified (Milakovich, 1991; Swiss, 1992).
TQM as LargeSale Systems Change
TQM is at first glance seen primarily as a change in an organization's technology its way of doing work. In the human services, this means the way clients are processed the service delivery methods applied to them and ancillary organizational processes such as paperwork, procurement processes, and other procedures. But TQM is also a change in an organization's culture its norms, values, and belief systems about how organizations function. And finally, it is a change in an organization's political system: decision making processes and power bases. For substantive change to occur, changes in these three dimensions must be aligned: TQM as a technological change will not be successful unless cultural and political dimensions are attended to as well (Tichey, 1983).
Many (e.g., Hyde, 1992; Chaudron, 1992) have noted that TQM results in a radical change in the culture and the way of work in an organization. A fundamental factor is leadership, including philosophy, style, and behavior. These must be congruent as they are presented by a leader. Many socalled enlightened leaders of today espouse a participative style which is not, in fact, practiced to any appreciable degree. Any manager serious about embarking on a culture change such as TQM should reflect seriously on how she or he feels and behaves regarding these factors. For many managers, a personal program of leadership development (e.g., Bennis, 1989) may be a prerequisite to effective functioning as an internal change agent advocating TQM.
Other key considerations have to do with alignment among various organizational systems (Chaudron, 1992; Hyde, 1992). For example, human resource systems, including job design, selection processes, compensation and rewards, performance appraisal, and training and development must align with and support the new TQM culture. Less obvious but no less important will be changes required in other systems. Information systems will need to be redesigned to measure and track new things such as service quality. Financial management processes may also need attention through the realignment of budgeting and resource allocation systems. Organizational structure and design will be different under TQM: layers of management may be reduced and organizational roles will certainly change. In particular, middle management and first line supervisors will be operating in new ways. Instead of acting as monitors, ordergivers, and agents of control they will serve as boundary managers, coordinators, and leaders who assist line workers in getting their jobs done. To deal with fears of layoffs, all employees should be assured that no one will lose employment as a result of TQM changes: jobs may change, perhaps radically, but no one will be laid off. Hyde (1992) has recommended that we "disperse and transform, not replace, midlevel managers." This no layoff principle has been a common one in joint labormanagement change processes such as quality of working life projects for many years.
Another systems consideration is that TQM should evolve from the organization's strategic plan and be based on stakeholder expectations. This type of planning and stance regarding environmental relations is receiving more attention but still is not common in the human services. As will be discussed below, TQM is often proposed based on environmental conditions such as the need to cut costs or demands for increased responsiveness to stakeholders. A manager may also adopt TQM as a way of being seen at the proverbial cutting edge, because it is currently popular. This is not a good motivation to use TQM and will be likely to lead to a cosmetic or superficial application, resulting in failure and disappointment. TQM should be purposeoriented: it should be used because an organization's leaders feel a need to make the organization more effective. It should be driven by results and not be seen as an end in itself. If TQM is introduced without consideration of real organizational needs and conditions, it will be met by skepticism on the part of both managers and workers. We will now move to a discussion of the ways in which people may react to TQM.
People's Expectations and Perceptions
Many employees may see TQM as a fad, remembering past "fads" such as quality circles, management by objectives, and zerobased budgeting. As was noted above, TQM must be used not just as a fad or new program, but must be related to key organizational problems, needs, and outcomes. Fortunately, Martin (1993) has noted that TQM as a "managerial wave" has more in common with social work than have some past ones such as MBO or ZBB, and its adaptations may therefore be easier.
In another vein, workers may see management as only concerned about the product, not staff needs. Management initiatives focused on concerns such as budget or cost will not resonate with beleaguered line workers. Furthermore, staff may see quality as not needing attention: they may believe that their services are already excellent or that quality is a peripheral concern in these days of cutbacks and multi problem clients. For a child protective service worker, just getting through the day and perhaps mitigating the most severe cases of abuse may be all that one expects. Partly because of heavy service demands, and partly because of professional training of human service workers, which places heavy value on direct service activities with clients, there may be a lack of interest on the part of many line workers in efficiency or even effectiveness and outcomes (Pruger & Miller, 1991; Ezell, Menefee, & Patti, 1989). This challenge should be addressed by all administrators (Rapp & Poertner, 1992), and in particular any interested in TQM.
Workers may have needs and concerns, such as lower caseloads and less bureaucracy, which are different from those of administration. For TQM to work, employees must see a need (e.g., for improved quality from their perspective) and how TQM may help. Fortunately, there are winwin ways to present this. TQM is focused on quality, presumably a concern of both management and workers, and methods improvements should eliminate wasteful bureaucratic activities, save money, and make more human resources available for core activities, specifically client service.
Sources of Resistance
Implementation of largescale change such as TQM will inevitably face resistance, which should be addressed directly by change agents. A key element of TQM is working with customers, and the notion of soliciting feedback/expectations from customers/clients and collaborating with them, perhaps with customers defining quality, is a radical one in many agencies, particularly those serving involuntary clients (e.g., protective services). Historical worker antipathy to the use of statistics and data in the human services may carry over into views of TQM, which encourages the gathering and analysis of data on service quality. At another level, management resistance to employee empowerment is likely. They may see decision making authority in zerosum terms: if employees have more involvement in decision making, managers will have less. In fact, one principle in employee involvement is that each level will be more empowered, and managers lose none of their fundamental authority. There will undoubtedly be changes in their roles, however. As was noted above, they will spend less time on control and more on facilitation. For many traditional managers, this transition will require teaching/training, self reflection, and time as well as assurances from upper management that they are not in danger of being displaced.
Resistance in other parts of the organization will show up if TQM is introduced on a pilot basis or only in particular programs (Hyde, 1992). Kanter (1983) has referred to this perspective as segmentalism: each unit or program sees itself as separate and unique, with nothing to learn from others and no need to collaborate with them. This shows up in the "not invented here" syndrome: those not involved in the initial development of an idea feel no ownership for it. On a broader level, there may be employee resistance to industry examples used in TQM terms like inventory or order backlog (Cohen and Brand, 1993, 122).
Dealing with Resistance
There are several tactics which can be helpful in dealing with resistance to TQM implementation. Generally, they have to do with acknowledging legitimate resistance and changing tactics based on it, using effective leadership to enroll people in the vision of TQM, and using employee participation.
A useful technique to systematically identify areas of resistance is a force field analysis (Brager & Holloway, 1992). This technique was originally developed by Kurt Lewin as an assessment tool for organizational change. It involves creating a force field of driving forces, which aid the change or make it more likely to occur, and restraining forces, which are points of resistance or things getting in the way of change. Start by identifying the change goal, in this case, implementation of TQM. Represent this by drawing a line down the middle of a piece of paper. Slightly to its left, draw a parallel line which represents the current state of the organization. The change process involves moving from the current state to the ideal future state, an organization effectively using TQM. To the left of the second line (the current state), list all forces (individuals, key groups, or conditions) which may assist in the implementation of TQM. These may include environmental pressures leading to reduced funds, staff who may like to be more involved in agency decision making, and the successful applications of TQM elsewhere. On the other side, list restraining forces which will make the change implementation more difficult. Examples may be middle management fear of loss of control, lack of time for line workers to take for TQM meetings, and skepticism based on the organization's poor track record regarding change. Arrows from both sides touching the "current state" line represent the constellation of forces. Each force is then assessed in two ways: its potency or strength, and its amenability to change. More potent forces, especially restraining ones, will need greater attention. Those not amenable to change will have to be counteracted by driving forces. Exhibit I provides an example.
Exhibit I: A Force Field Analysis
DRIVING FORCES RESTRAINING FORCES
Environmental pressures leading to reduced funds Middle management fear of loss of control
Staff who may like to be more involved in agency decision making Lack of time for line workers to take time for TQM meetings
Successful applications of TQM elsewhere Skepticism based on the organization's poor performance regarding change
The analysis of the force field involves looking at which driving forces may be strengthened and which restraining forces may be eliminated, mitigated, or counteracted. If it appears that, overall, driving forces are strong enough to move back restraining forces, adoption of TQM would be worth pursuing. The change plan would include tactics designed to move the relevant forces.
It is also important to note and validate any points of resistance which are, in fact, legitimate, such as the limited amount of staff time available for TQM meetings. Klein (cited in Bennis, Benne, & Chin, 1985) encouraged change agents to validate the role of the "defender" of the status quo and respond to legitimate concerns raised. This will allow appropriate adaptations of the TQM process to account for unique organizational circumstances. Sell TQM based on the organization's real needs, note legitimate risks and negatives, and allow improvements in your own procedures. This should enhance your credibility and show your openness to critically looking at the process.
Another way to address resistance is to get all employees on the same side, in alignment towards the same goal. Leadership is the mechanism for this, and specific models known as transformational or visionary leadership (Bennis & Nanus, 1985) are most effective. Research on change implementation (Nutt, cited in Robey, 1991) has identified four methods. The first, "intervention," involves a key executive justifying the need for change, monitoring the process, defining acceptable performance, and demonstrating how improvements can be made. This was found to be more successful than "participation," in which representatives of different interest groups determine the features of the change. Participation was found to be more successful than "persuasion" (experts attempting to sell changes they have devised) or "edict," the least successful. Transformational or visionary leadership, the approach suggested here, is an example of the intervention approach. This would involve a leader articulating a compelling vision of an ideal organization and how TQM would help the vision be actualized. These principles will be discussed in more detail in a later section, as a framework for the change strategy.
A powerful way to decrease resistance to change is to increase the participation of employees in making decisions about various aspects of the process. There are actually two rationales for employee participation (Packard, 1989). The more common reason is to increase employee commitment to the resultant outcomes, as they will feel a greater stake or sense of ownership in what is decided. A second rationale is that employees have a great deal of knowledge and skill relevant to the issue at hand (in this case, increasing quality, identifying problems, and improving work processes), and their input should lead to higher quality decisions. A manager should consider any decision area as a possibility for employee participation, with the understanding that participation is not always appropriate (Vroom and Yetton, 1973). Employees or their representatives may be involved in decision areas ranging from the scope and overall approach of the TQM process to teams engaging in quality analysis and suggestions for improvements. They may also be involved in ancillary areas such as redesign of the organization's structure, information system, or reward system. Involvement of formal employee groups such as unions is a special consideration which may also greatly aid TQM implementation.
A change agent should understand that, overall, change will occur when three factors (dissatisfaction with the status quo, desirability of the proposed change, the practicality of the change) added together are greater than the "cost" of changing (time spent in learning, adapting new roles and procedures, etc.) (Beckhard and Harris, 1987). This is represented in the formula in Exhibit II. Any key group or individual will need a level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, must see a desired improved state, and must believe that the change will have minimal disruption. In other words, the change (TQM) must be seen as responding to real problems and worth the effort or cost in getting there. Conditions favoring change may be created by modifying these variables. The change agent may try to demonstrate how bad things are, or amplify others' feelings of dissatisfaction; and then present a picture of how TQM could solve current problems. The final step of modifying the equation is to convince people that the change process, while it will take time and effort, will not be prohibitively onerous. The organization as a whole and each person will be judging the prospect of TQM from this perspective. A variation of this is the WIIFM principle: "What's in it for me?" To embrace TQM, individuals must be shown how it will be worth it for them.
Exhibit II: Resistance to Change
C = (A + B + D) > X
C = Change
A = Level of dissatisfaction with the status quo
B = Desirability of proposed change
D = Practicality of the change
X = Cost of changing
A final possible area of resistance, the "not invented here" syndrome may be seen after TQM is successfully adopted in one part of the organization and attempts are made to diffuse it, or spread it to other areas. Such resistance may be prevented or reduced in three ways. First, the general techniques mentioned above should be helpful. Second, each new area (program, division, department) should have a new assessment and contracting process: different circumstances should be expected in each part of the organization (Chaudron, 19). Finally, a general principle of TQM implementation mentioned below is relevant here: every TQM application should be uniquely adapted: don't use "off the shelf" models or try to standardize all aspects of the process.
Implementation Principles and Processes
Specifics of TQM implementation will be discussed in two ways. First, a model for organizational transformation through visionary leadership will be presented. A full implementation of TQM does, as was emphasized earlier, represent a significant change in the culture and political economy of an organization, and a comprehensive change strategy is therefore required. After discussion of a change model, several do's and don't's culled from the literature on TQM in the public sector and the human services will be reviewed.
Current Reality and Preconditions
A preliminary step in TQM implementation is to assess the organization's current reality: relevant preconditions have to do with the organization's history, its current needs, precipitating events leading to TQM, and the existing employee quality of working life. If the current reality does not include important preconditions, TQM implementation should be delayed until the organization is in a state in which TQM is likely to succeed. The force field analysis discussed above is one useful tool in reviewing the current situation.
If an organization has a track record of effective responsiveness to the environment, and if it has been able to successfully change the way it operates when needed, TQM will be easier to implement. If an organization has been historically reactive and has no skill at improving its operating systems, there will be both employee skepticism and a lack of skilled change agents. If this condition prevails, a comprehensive program of management and leadership development may be instituted. A management audit (Sugarman, 1988) is a good assessment tool to identify current levels of organizational functioning and areas in need of change. An organization should be basically healthy before beginning TQM. If it has significant problems such as a very unstable funding base, weak administrative systems, lack of managerial skill, or poor employee morale, TQM would not be appropriate.
However, a certain level of stress is probably desirable to initiate TQM: people need to feel a need for a change. Kanter (1983) addresses this phenomenon be describing building blocks which are present in effective organizational change. These forces include departures from tradition, a crisis or galvanizing event, strategic decisions, individual "prime movers," and action vehicles. Departures from tradition are activities, usually at lower levels of the organization, which occur when entrepreneurs move outside the normal ways of operating to solve a problem. A crisis, if it is not too disabling, can also help create a sense of urgency which can mobilize people to act. In the case of TQM, this may be a funding cut or threat, or demands from consumers or other stakeholders for improved quality of service. After a crisis, a leader may intervene strategically by articulating a new vision of the future to help the organization deal with it. A plan to implement TQM may be such a strategic decision. Such a leader may then become a prime mover, who takes charge in championing the new idea and showing others how it will help them get where they want to go. Finally, action vehicles are needed: mechanisms or structures to enable the change to occur and become institutionalized. TQM processes and models of employee participation are such mechanisms.
Essential or desirable preconditions may be identified in two areas: macro and micro. Macro factors include those which are concerned with issues such as leadership, resources, and the surrounding infrastructure. Micro issues have to do with internal issues such as employee training and empowerment and organizational processes such as quality assurance. These are listed in Exhibit III.
Exhibit III: Conditions Supportive of Change
Top management support
Leaders championing new ideas
Continuity of political leadership
Long-term strategic plan
Healthy civic infrastructure
Employee recognitions and training
Key leaders having shared vision and goals
Employee empowerment and teamwork
Trust among those in power
Measurement and analysis of products and processes
Models to follow
At the macro level, Osborne and Gaebler (1992, 3267) have listed several "factors supportive of fundamental change" which showed up in their research on reinventing government. These factors, summarized in Exhibit III, are consistent with research cited earlier about effective organizational change. It should be noted that Osborne and Gaebler researched governmental organizations only; but several factors, including leadership and a longterm perspective, are relevant in notforprofit settings as well. The first factor, a crisis, was also identified by Kanter as a driving force for change. Next, Osborne and Gaebler noted the importance of leadership. Such leaders are usually at the executive level of the organization, where they can champion new ideas and protect risk takers. At the political level, a continuity of leadership is desirable: a longterm commitment is necessary, and politicians are often not willing to adopt this perspective. A healthy civic infrastructure is also valuable: an organization in a community with citizens, community organizations, and businesses committed to the public welfare is more likely to be able to engage in largescale change. Furthermore, key leaders in the community having a shared vision and goals, and a level of trust among those in power (e.g., executives and union leadership), are valuable. Outside resources, in the form of help from foundations, consultants, civic organizations, or other governments, will usually be necessary. Finally, while there is no one best way to implement particular change efforts, it does help to have models to follow: other organizations who have implemented change can offer useful guidance and reassurance that change is possible. At least half of these factors were present when "wholesale reinvention" occurred. Many of these factors are present in successful case studies of TQM and other largescale change.
On the micro level, the US Federal Quality Institute identified several key factors related to successful TQM. First, as many researchers have noted,top management support is necessary. This is typically represented partly through strategic planning regarding TQM. Second, a customer focus is an important precondition, since TQM often involves improving quality from a customer's point of view. Employees or their representatives (i.e., unions) must be involved early, particularly in addressing employee training and recognition and employee empowerment and teamwork issues. Attention to these issues is important in changing the organization's culture in the direction of teamwork and a customer and quality focus. The measurement and analysis of products and processes and quality assurance are final elements which need attention (cited in Hyde, 1992). Assessing these factors and private sector applications, Hyde (1992) listed the following implications regarding TQM implementation in the public sector. First, basic quality measurement systems have to be developed. These need to be accessible to all levels, and, in fact, must be designed and implemented with employee involvement. More specifically, any unions in the organization must be substantively involved. Consistent with a systems perspective, budgeting and resource allocation systems will need to be realigned to fit with the TQM culture: TQM cannot be used as a mechanism to simply cut costs or rationalize cutbacks. The same is true of human resource management systems: work may be redesigned to implement selfdirected work teams; performance appraisal and compensation systems may be change to reward teambased performance; and massive training for managers, supervisors, and workers will be necessary. Finally, thoughtful attention needs to be paid to the ways in which customer feedback is used.
With these principles and preconditions in mind, the following implementation steps will be discussed: using leadership to articulate a vision of the future for the organization and how TQM fits into it, designing a comprehensive change process, implementing TQM & related new systems, and ensuring institutionalization.
As was emphasized earlier, leadership is a key element in successful implementation of largescale change (Norman & Keys, 1992): the leader shows the need and sets the vision, defining the basic purpose, goals, and parameters or requirements of TQM. The leader needs to take a longterm perspective, and must be able to motivate others to stick with the process during early stages when resistance and obstacles may seem insurmountable. The preferred leadership style would be a participative one, so that staff may be involved in the design of the specific system elements. This may seem in contradiction to the earlier stated preference for an "intervention" approach as opposed to traditional participative decision making. In the former, the leader is, in fact directive regarding the big picture and overall goals, i.e., establishing PDM. Once that strategic direction has been determined, a participative style may be used on implementation details. Prior to this decision, of course, the manger should study TQM, talk to others who have used it, and perhaps attend a preliminary training session. This is important in order for the manager to accurately assess the fit between TQM and her/his style. This will be necessary in establishing an organizational culture which is compatible with TQM, nurturing and reinforcing continuous quality improvement (Cohen and Brand, 1993, 118).
In designing a comprehensive change process, the leader must acknowledge the existing organizational culture (norms and values, managers' leadership philosophies and styles at all levels) to ensure a good fit. TQM also needs to be congruent with or aligned with other organizational processes, including reward systems, financial & information systems, and training systems.
Implementing TQM essentially involves organizational transformation: beginning to operate in new ways, developing a new culture. This also includes redesigning other systems, as has been described above. Such change, while difficult, is possible in the public sector, in spite of Swiss's (1992) reservations (Packard and Reid, 1990).
Steps in Managing the Transition
Beckhard and Pritchard (1992) have outlined the basic steps in managing a transition to a new system such as TQM: identifying tasks to be done, creating necessary management structures, developing strategies for building commitment, designing mechanisms to communicate the change, and assigning resources.
Task identification would include a study of present conditions (assessing current reality, as described above); assessing readiness, such as through a force field analysis; creating a model of the desired state, in this case, implementation of TQM; announcing the change goals to the organization; and assigning responsibilities and resources. This final step would include securing outside consultation and training and assigning someone within the organization to oversee the effort. This should be a responsibility of top management. In fact, the next step, designing transition management structures, is also a responsibility of top management. In fact, Cohen and Brand (1993) and Hyde (1992) assert that management must be heavily involved as leaders rather than relying on a separate staff person or function to shepherd the effort. An organizationwide steering committee to oversee the effort may be appropriate. Developing commitment strategies was discussed above in the sections on resistance and on visionary leadership.
To communicate the change, mechanisms beyond existing processes will need to be developed. Special allstaff meetings attended by executives, sometimes designed as input or dialog sessions, may be used to kick off the process, and TQM newsletters may be an effective ongoing communication tool to keep employees aware of activities and accomplishments.
Management of resources for the change effort is important with TQM, because outside consultants will almost always be required. Choose consultants based on their prior relevant experience and their commitment to adapting the process to fit unique organizational needs. While consultants will be invaluable with initial training of staff and TQM system design, employees (management and others) should be actively involved in TQM implementation, perhaps after receiving training in change management which they can then pass on to other employees. A collaborative relationship with consultants and clear role definitions and specification of activities must be established.
Institutionalization of TQM
Ledford (cited in Packard & Reid, 1990) has proposed a model including four processes which are forces which determine whether a change will persist through the phases of institutionalization. These processes are concerned with congruence among these variables: the change (TQM) with the organization, the change with other changes initiated at the time, the change with environmental demands, and with the level of slack resources in the organization. TQM needs to be congruent with the organization's current culture, and with other changes occurring in the organization. In this period of diminishing resources, organizations are likely to be trying to cope, by downsizing or other methods. In some organizations there are increasing demands for quality or client service improvements. Many such changes are likely to be driven by environmental demands, and TQM may be more likely to be successful than at times of less environmental pressure. Unfortunately, the fourth element, slack resources, is less likely to be present: under current conditions, extra resources (money and staff time) are less likely to be easily available. The challenge is to find a way to make the initial investment outlay to start a process which will pay off in the long term.
Institutionalization may also be enhanced by overlaying another, but compatible, change model: the learning organization (Senge, 1990). This involves, at both the micro and systems levels, staff always learning how to do better and management learning how to be more responsive to staff and the community. Leaders help staff develop their own visions and align these with the organization's vision of quality.
Beckhard and Pritchard (1992) emphasized top management commitment to the change, and Cohen and Brand (1993) apply this specifically to TQM by recommending finding and nurturing a core group which is interested in organizational change. They also emphasize the importance of personal leadership and example: managers need to apply TQM in their daily work and to get people to think about and use the concepts and tools. Ongoing monitoring, and action research to make changes as needed, will be required. And, once again, the systems perspective must be noted: TQM must be built into other systems, particularly those involving planning and rewards. Leaders should expect a long term process, including a transition period. They will need to be persistent, using constant reinforcement, for example, through continuous training. Cohen and Brand suggest that TQM should eventually be made an "invisible" part of the organization, permeating all areas and the responsibility of everyone. TQM may be instituted organizationwide or started in one unit or program and then expanded. Diffusion occurs as TQM is spread from its initial application to other units. Dynamics of resistance mentioned earlier will have to be addressed at this stage.
Some Do's and Don'ts
Following are some miscellaneous do's and don'ts which are based on experiences with TQM in the public sector and the human services. Many are drawn from Cohen and Brand (1993), Hyde (1992), and Chaudron (1992).
First, don't "do TQM": a canned approach is likely to be met with skepticism and ultimately fail because it is not adapted to the uniqueness of a particular organization. TQM is particularly susceptible to this phenomenon, because some adherents adopt almost a religious fervor, (they have been described by one observer as "Deming lemmings" (Reid, 1992). "Deming as demigod" is another way this phenomenon has been described: a statement takes on an added aura when prefaced by "Dr. Deming said..." (Chaudron, 1993). Don't copy any particular model but use relevant basic principles such as an emphasis on quality, continuous analysis of tasks to improve performance, and work with suppliers to enable the organization to start with high quality supplies. TQM should be seen as a process, not a program. It should be integrated into ongoing agency operations, and the focus should be on how an organization can better accomplish its goals and objectives. At the tactical level, don't overemphasize techniques such as statistical process control and the use of charts. Focus instead on the systems the analysis and improvement of processes not on statistics or individual variations.
Whereas some largescale organizational change efforts are often driven by a centralized steering committee or group of executives, in TQM it may be best to not centralize the effort and establish a separate quality management bureaucracy ("qualiticrats", according to Hyde). Don't believe that top management support is necessary at first, as is axiomatic in organization development. While an organization needn't start TQM at the top, successes in particular units or programs should set the stage for diffusion in other directions. Change from below may be appropriate for those at lower levels who want to initiate TQM. It may work best to start TQM with a temporary task force and then hire trainers, expose staff, and hope that managers will be motivated to learn more. People responsible for leading shouldn't devote full time to TQM; they should maintain their regular work as well. Cohen and Brand believe that TQM is best taught by people doing it day to day in their work. Implement it gradually to ensure meaningful culture change, and use frequent feedback to ensure that change isn't just superficial. There is no need for a "grand plan" (a quality council, etc.); just start where the organization is.
Perhaps the most important "do" worth repeating is to involve employees in the decision making process, at whatever stages and levels possible. As a specific aspect of this, advance negotiations and discussions with any unions present should occur. Create "atmosphere of amnesty" (Cohen & Brand, 1993, 202) so workers and managers feel free to share improvement needs. Tell people what the quality standards are so that inspection and review isn't necessary. Emphasize client feedback and both quantitative and qualitative performance tracking. Make sure quality teams have the necessary tools and resources, such as training, facilitation, and time to meet. In large organizations, regional offices in particular will need lots of support in order to keep the process alive and thriving.
Several suggestions may be offered to managers. First, understand the direct service work of your organization. "Management by walking around" is a useful way to stay in touch with direct service workers and their needs. Practice what you preach: use TQM on your own processes. Meet frequently with middle managers regarding their personal efforts to use TQM. Focus on the nature of the work and try to establish in employees' minds excitement about a new way of working. TQM training will be needed for all involved work groups. Also, horizontal and vertical communication training may be useful to get groups communicating with each other. Team building is a core element of the process, to ensure employee involvement and effective problem solving. Build analysis into the culture: "stop and think about how we work," according to Cohen and Brand. Insist on objective measures of results. Look for visible improvement, but not optimization; and try to generate some quick results in terms of time or money saved. Constantly check with employees to assess their comfort with the process. If people are feeling threatened, slow down. Human resources aspects such as team functioning and analysis must be kept in balance. Prevent or watch for schisms between TQM and human resources functions or other parts of the organization.
In summary, first assess preconditions and the current state of the organization to make sure the need for change is clear and that TQM is an appropriate strategy. Leadership styles and organizational culture must be congruent with TQM. If they are not, this should be worked on or TQM implementation should be avoided or delayed until favorable conditions exist.
Remember that this will be a difficult, comprehensive, and longterm process. Leaders will need to maintain their commitment, keep the process visible, provide necessary support, and hold people accountable for results. Use input from stakeholder (clients, referring agencies, funding sources, etc.) as possible; and, of course, maximize employee involvement in design of the system.
Always keep in mind that TQM should be purposedriven. Be clear on the organization's vision for the future and stay focused on it. TQM can be a powerful technique for unleashing employee creativity and potential, reducing bureaucracy and costs, and improving service to clients and the community.
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