The detailed analysis of the interviews with managers from RTA provides the following perspectives on TQM and business excellence practices in RTA. The major TQM challenge identified during interviews relates to employee management and motivation required for accepting the importance of delivering highly sensitive projects in a short period of time, while also meeting quality requirements. Specifically, it was found that managers refer to several problems behind, such as the lack of leadership involvement, insufficient organizational planning and resource management, as well as short timing for employee adaptation. The proposed solution was to develop customer-centric culture, where managers communicated strategic organizational direction, operational principles and values, the role of KPI setting, and collective action planning. These findings relate to the literature observations of TQM problems being associated with poor strategic planning, coordination, and employee empowerment in the Jordanian public sector.
The interviewees also mentioned several ways of emphasizing TQM and business excellence models referring to their respective departments. For instance, the managerial approach in the procurement department was to motivate employees to “work as one-team spirit when assigning a team-specific work”, while the health and safety department manager prepared structured communication plans for different groups. Further, managers reflected on the importance of adopting systems for process facilitation improvements and leveraging on Dubai government excellence standards by communicating work hints to employees. The role of regular workshops was particularly recognized, admitting its critical role in improving the technical mastery of employees. Hence, department managers seem to stick to the common managerial philosophy of team development and productivity in terms of business excellence strategies.
For the ‘wow’ factors, all managers agreed that ISO certification and non-conformity (NC) quality audit were the main organizational achievements in both TQM and business excellence. Separately, the procurement department demonstrated excellence as being the first public organization in UAE that was certified by CIPS as the leader in the industry, as well as the organization that pioneers support of SMEs in 2019. The Dubai government excellence was also admitted as the recognition for developing robust monetary and non-monetary motivation strategies for RTA employees and achieving core KPI targets.
For the planning process of adopting TQM and business excellence, the following essential steps were identified by the interviewees. First, continuous improvement and enhancement of internal policies and customer collaboration strategies were identified as a priority. Second, the importance of designing efficient development plans, managing teams, and creating organizational awareness was mentioned as a priority in the people management area. Finally, the necessity of having an organizational vision and structured approach to current business process documentation was mentioned as the opportunity for future improvement based on the evidence was advised.
The employee perspective is primarily based on practical applications of TQM and business excellence provision in daily work. Regarding the use of tools, almost all employees working in different departments admitted the importance of using flowcharts, fishbone diagrams, and PDCA cycle planning tools for various purposes. Specific application of tools per department includes using mind maps for associating initiatives with strategic goals, Pareto analysis for performance improvement analysis in health and safety, and the Dubai Government Excellence model for process standardization.
For the implementation challenges, the ease of communication and interaction related to TQM application in practice were voiced as focal areas of concern. For the problem of directing employees voiced by managers, it was mentioned that “leaders should commit to implementing the TQM & excellence standard in their work, so they can set an example for their employees”. Furthermore, the challenges with having skills in profound action planning as required by the standards, including the Dubai government excellence requirement were mentioned.
Regarding the department performance improvement, it was fairly mentioned that department activities helped to improve the overall rating, receive local awards from CIPS and Dubai Government, and foster the application of future technologies. Furthermore, it was found that TQM and business excellence help to improve the approach towards meeting KPI targets, which is highly efficient for the overall business objectives. Finally, certain improvements in benchmarking and reporting were mentioned, while specific examples were not provided and might require further investigation.
For the success factors, the majority of employees agreed on the necessity of leadership commitment, technological adaptation and selection, and agility at work. Both global and local levels were considered as foundational for applying and mastering the aforementioned factors. Additionally, it was admitted that continuous improvement principles should be used for both technology adoption and roadmap development for the department, which is recognized as a major step towards performance management. Finally, the use of soft skills was admitted as an area of future importance for the procurement department, while surprisingly was rarely or indirectly mentioned by other departments. Specifically, the reference was made towards the use of effective communication, team commitment, tolerance towards cultural clashes or changes, and the importance of regular training provided for the staff.