Total Quality Management: Term Definition

Total quality management is one of the populate concepts in modern business which helps organizations to create unique value proposition and improve product quality. Today, value creation is indeed organizational priority and the change process is a part of this process. If superior quality is to be more than a short-lived experience, the effort exerted for improvement must be inexorable. In any modern organization, building a culture of quality through the use of symbols, norms and recognition systems serves as the culmination of effort, the final piece in the working prototype of the quality creating organization. The companies selected for analysis are IBM (manufacturing company), FedEx Corporation (service provider) and Iraq War Veterans Organization (non-profit).

In these organizations, quality is the main priority which helps these companies to meet diverse customers’ needs and desires, and support people in need. The case of IBM shows that purchases depend on buyers’ perception of expected satisfaction from possible alternatives. At the ultimate point of contact, buyer forces and corporate forces get together. The example of IBM demonstrates that the purchase-decision that links the external buyer and his environment with the internal quality requirements. Through buyer purchasing act, buyer goals are realized and market opportunity is translated into business goals. For IBM, customer satisfaction is the main criteria for product design and strategic growth. The consumer is the driver of marketing effort. In order to meet these demands, IBM introduced total quality management as the core philosophy of the corporation. He becomes the means of corporate fulfillment. By satisfying customer wants and desires, IBM becomes the means of customer fulfillment (Beckford 2002).

The case of FedEx allows to say that total quality management is crucial as it allows the company to meet increased customers’ demands and expectations. In contrast to manufacturing, service industry and service delivery demands exceptional quality and effective customer relationships management. Time-based frames such as response time and time to market, indices for job change and team management, and indicators of commitment are just a a small number of of the tracking mechanisms that can assist in locating the company on its value plan and enable corrective action. In the aspect of value creation and customer satisfaction, direct information shift between consumer and organization, service businesses enjoy an edge, because the consumer is in the organization. Their needs are, as a result, not remote and to be inferred but right here and given expression to. The possibility of a organization being able to match consumer needs exactly is correspondingly higher, provided the organization can customize its services (Burrill, and Ledolter 1999). The consumer could explain his/her needs–air travel routing with stopover, variations on a strict order, advice from a securities professional; and often receive service in real time. Again advice could also be instant, resulting in high quality, provided responsiveness, flexibility, and learning ability are incorporated into the organization. Rather, a spirit of quality with the organization and its strategy must be encouraged and created. At FedEx, consciousness, acceptance, and active detection of the organization’s strategy have to be consciously and constantly sophisticated. Furthermore, and equally importantly, a cadre of zealous and imaginative employees driven by the value needs to be established in order for plan to link the organization at all levels to the external environment. IQM will become a tangible, exciting process with consumer value as its prime mover, its living core (Beckford 2002).

Iraq War Veterans Organization exists since 2003 but has already established strict quality expectations and requirements for its employees. In contrast to manufacturing and service industries, quality is a duty and responsibility of employees based on humanistic and ethical values. These factors are explained by the unique target audience of the organization: war veterans ((Wadsworth and Stephens 2002). TQM belongs to the concept of philosophy in organizational culture. For Iraq War Veterans Organization, quality and clients satisfaction is one of those concepts that are often used and misunderstood. In the sense they just describe the attitudes, customs, and assumptions of employees although it is sometimes used, in the sense of educated or sophisticated. In the business context, on the other hand, it is not rare to find the word culture applied to a wide range of managerial situations, including the type of incentives offered, the nature of control exercised, the point of satisfaction, and, in fact, almost anything that describes the inner workings of the Iraq War Veterans Organization (George and Weimerskirch 1998). For this organization, quality is a philosophy of work and elations with clients. Quality is limited and focused, thus it is the foundation for this organization’s mission of value. Obviously, not only must important veterans needs be determined, measuring how well these needs are being provided for is also critical. The main aspects are indeed the faces of the coin of consumer value. For Iraq War Veterans Organization, weightlessness and less vibration could show contradictory since lowering the level of satisfaction might require a heavier involvement of all employees. In reaching a compromise between the criteria, employees have to remember that the disagreement arises not from design or marketing decisions but from a tension between consumer needs. Quality needs are consulted to make a determination of the benefits that could be de-emphasized at the cost of the most important ones. Not only must choices be made between contradictory criteria, resulting inevitably in a less-than-optimal decision, consumer needs are rarely static (Burrill, and Ledolter 1999).

The case of IBM and FedEx show that the need for a customer-driven quality is explained a need to attract target audience and retain potential buyers. The shifting sands of consumer needs do not invalidate a method of TQM; rather they make it all the more practical, provided the need for change and flexibility is understood and built into its accomplishment. Not only does TQM play an helpful role in the definition and translation of value and quality, it can also help in adjusting to shifting value perceptions. It is important note that quality should not become more important than the objective of consume satisfaction. Problems arising from a too narrow focus on quality and flexibility are easily overcome by using quality standards and customer surveys. In judging whether TQM or, for that matter, any consumer-to-organization communications are functioning effectively, ask the consumer (George and Weimerskirch 1998).

At IBM, consumers have divergent, changing, and conflicting quality expectations and needs. Feedback helps IBM reduce performance gaps through redesign, improved response time, user data. Though, it is unlikely that IBM will achieve perfection in the eyes of its consumers. Either it damages its reputation by comparison to its competitors or to its own past ability or its achievements engender a rising tide of expectations. IBM is constantly “pulled” by or drawn in the direction of specific consumer satisfaction, which is the origin of all efforts at constant improvement. To IBM, results provide not only an indicator of quality but also serve as a stimulus to further effort. Sales, market share, and productivity are useful criteria of quality achievement when used in conjunction with customer satisfaction. IBM supposes that high sales growth (say, at twice the rate of the other companies in the industry) in a organization whose consumers rate the organization a value leader is reinforcing data (George and Weimerskirch 1998). Sales growth without meeting consumer value perception, on the other hand, shows that the market success might be short-lived and could be due to aberrations in the industry such as competitors’ errors. The opposite situation (low growth in sales and superior value received) shows an inability or lack of effort to communicate the product’s inherent value capabilities and deliver he best quality (Burrill, and Ledolter 1999).

In Iraq War Veterans Organization, quality and clients satisfaction is driven by prestige of the organization and its moral principles. Value delivered to clients is a top priority for the organization. While, in the long run, the qaulity-maximizing organization will emerge as the winning whether evaluated by market, financial, technological, human or other issues, organizations cannot and do not live on visions and long-range positions alone. At the organizations employees are paid, so clients expect high quality of all services provided to them, administration regulations are to be complied with, and local communities have claims on the resources that may not brook disagreement or even delay (George and Weimerskirch 1998). Similar to other organizations, Iraq War Veterans Organization see quality as its value mission the humdrum necessities of everyday existence call for a mixture of the long and short terms, of detail and plan, so to speak. Other issues that could be considered as principles of performance, besides profitability, include market share, degree of compliance with rules, rate of innovation and extent of society involvement. In addition to an overall appraisal of consumer value, the input process of value creation must also be tracked and changes made as needed. In the issue of value, minor errors could later cause problems and require the type of radical change that a plan of continuously improving value seeks to avoid. A suitable frame of indicators for the process of leadership is provided by the other issues themselves. The leadership, Integration, Involvement, and Ingraining achieved by the organization are reliable factors of how effectively the organization is pursuing its stated eventual end (Chase and acobs 2003).

In all companies, leadership is a core priority which helps these organizations to motive and inspire employees. Manufacturing and service quality improvements are an natural outcome of attaining the time reductions and balance shown above. To be sure, total quality is not simply a matter of putting things together right or serving consumers with speed, accuracy, and courtesy. Leadership in design, service, a atmosphere, rides and assistance is extremely important in the quality actually built into the product (George and Weimerskirch 1998). FedEx which cannot boast the terrifying attractions offered by its nearby competitors, the TQM requires complex procedures to be followed before a plan can be taped,, are all struggling against imposing odds. Their services as conceived may be so harshly flawed that the best of efforts at constructing satisfaction (through quality awareness, thorough testing, and instant service) may fall far short of consumers’ expectations. A claim often made (and rarely contested since it is not easy to verify or refute) is that seventy percent of quality is determined at the design stage (Chase and acobs 2003). The matrix shows that manufacturing (IBM) has the highest scores of quality and customer satisfaction (see Appendix 1).

Three examples of companies allow to say that the need of a customer-driven quality is based on unique vision and philosophy of these organizations. While the important transition from quality-as-designed to quality-as-delivered is beyond dispute, researchers are not so sure they support the implied conclusions that (a) if quality is to be improved, it is best to focus on the design and, as a result, (b) any achieved in quality during the operations phase is minor and not deserving of all the attention showered on it by writers and managers alike. The objections of thinking are obvious. Customer satisfaction lies not only in what is done at each organization and product development stage but equally in how the stages are linked to each other. Certainly, poor understanding of customers’ requirements and needs limits the potential of later stages. A poorly-designed service harshly constrains how much quality can be built into it, just as there is only so much promotion one can do with a poorly-made service (George and Weimerskirch 1998). Quality is essential to establishing a culture of quality and to focusing attention on customer satisfaction as a basic organizational value. The purpose underlying all quality efforts, of customer satisfaction enhancement efforts in general, is, at one level, to establish both methods and philosophies of working which lead to improved outputs (quality and value) as well as techniques for keeping track of progress toward these output aims. At another, more important and more permanent stage, quality assurance becomes internalized and not continues as an introduced possibility. In three organizations, employee responsibility for quality and the realization that lapses in quality, in effect, break the ties that bind one activity to the other, are the final aims of a successful quality program (Wadsworth and Stephens 2002). Though customer satisfaction is by no means a notion, grounded as it is in specific needs, resources and actions, there is a sense of order underlying it and a sense of responsibility in its achievement that changes physical assessment.


Beckford, J. (2002), Quality. Routledge.

Burrill, C.W., Ledolter, J. (1999). Achieving Quality Through Continual Improvement. Wiley.

Chase R.B., Jacobs R.F. (2003), Operations Management for Competitive Advantage, Hill/Irwin; 10 edition.

George, S., Weimerskirch, A. (1998). Total Quality Management: Strategies and Techniques Proven at Today’s Most Successful Companies. Wiley; 2 edition.

Wadsworth, H.M., Stephens, K.S. (2002). Modern Methods For Quality Control and Improvement, 2nd Edition. Wiley.


IBM FedEx Iraq War Veterans Organization
Change Management 9 8 4
SO 9000 9 8
Lean Manufacturing 8
Relations with Customers 8 9 8
Quality Management 7 8 9
TQM 8 8 8

Rates: (the lowest) 1-9 (the highest)

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