Principles and practice of management question and answer

a) Compare and contrast Total Quality Management (TQM) and re-engineering as change processes. (10 marks)
b) Various economic factors have forced firms to downsize their workforce.


Explain the ways in which a manager may best manage a downsized workforce.
A comparison between TQM and re-engineering as change processes.

The meaning of TQM
Total Quality Management (TQM) is the name given to programmes that seek to ensure that goods are produced and services are supplied of the highest quality. TQM thus is an organization wide approach to continuously improving the quality of all the organization’s processes, products and services. TQM programmes are aimed at identifying and reducing or eliminating causes of wasted time and effort.

Activities in the organization are classified as either:
a) Core activities which add value to the business
b) Support activities which do not themselves add value
c) Discretionary activities such as checking products and dealing with complaints, these are symptoms of failure and should be reduced.

TQM rests on the following premises
• The firm adopts a customer orientation such that a quality product or service must be related to what the customer wants – both internal and external customers. Suppliers are chosen on the basis of consistency, quality and reliability of their product. Price is a secondary consideration.
• Design quality: TQM also requires that organizations pay attention to product design and is aimed at getting quality right the first time. The basic principle is that costs of getting things right the first time are less than the costs of correction.
• Conformance to quality. The organization should also ensure that the production system is designed in such a manner as to ensure that the final product conforms to the design specification. With TQM inspection should be used primarily for improving production processes rather than for detecting and correcting errors.
• There is absolute commitment the chief executive and all senior managers to doing what is needed to change the culture.
• TQM requires that employees and suppliers be adequately trained so that all parties know what is expected of the.
• TQM requires management to encourage education and self-improvement at every level. They should remove barriers to workmanship providing adequate equipment and encouraging pride in one’s work.
• In TQM communication is excellent and multi way.
• There is commitment to improvement in all processes. Attention is focused first on the processes and second on results.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)
BPR is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance such as cost, quality, service and speed.

BPR is a radical technique that has been advocated to overhaul existing business processes and practices with a view to improving organizational performance. BPR places emphasis

on processes as a change mechanism. Typical processes include ordering, buying, manufacturing, product delivery and invoicing.

In each case the idea is to ask radical questions about why things are done in a particular way and whether alternative methods could achieve better results.

The following main principles of BPR have been identified.

• Organize around outcomes not tasks.
• Ensure that those who use the output perform more of the process themselves rather than passing it on.
• Link parallel activities rather than integrate results i.e. consolidation of tasks
• Put the decision point where the work is performed – empower the people who do the work to make decision.
• Capture information only once – ideally at its source.
BPR and TQM are neither identical nor in conflict, they are complementary. Both are radical change processes. They give a lot of focus to the customer. TQM aims at providing a quality product/service that satisfy customers’ wants and in BPR the focus of performance and payment shifts from activities to results (expressed in terms of value created for the customer).

Both BPR and TQM pay great attention to empowerment of employees and at the same time a lot of room is given to communication, which is two way.


1. Motivation – A leaner workforce implies greater responsibilities. A manager needs to therefore motivate employees to work harder and better. He should look into all the factors that motivate especially better remuneration and employee benefits and provide these to the employees.
2. Revise Job Descriptions through job analysis. Duties and roles change with downsizing. A manager needs to do further job analysis to encompass all the additional areas so as to come up with job descriptions that are realistic for the staff available.
3. The manager needs to ensure that the remaining workforce is not overworked and this remains effective. One way this can be done is outsourcing some functions that have been traditionally done full time employees in Human Resources, Compensation and executive recruiting can be outsourced.
4. Improved technology is a major tool for managing a downsized workforce. e.g. the use of automated systems, the Internet or the World Wide Web. Reorganization must be done to change the way employees work with new technology.
5. Managers need to reassure employees and make the certainty of their certainty continued employment a guarantee. Downsizing is a ‘corporate anorexia’ that makes a company thinner but not necessarily healthier. It leads to a lot of uncertainties surrounding the remaining jobs, alongside this is mistrust for management.
6. Counselling services need to be provided to the remaining workforce. Most are usually greatly affected the loss of their colleagues and friends. They fret over the fate of the laid off persons and some even get psychological turmoil caused doing the work that another colleague used to do.
7. A manager must offer further training opportunities to employees so that they become competent in all the areas of increased responsibility.
8. Improved communication too will go a long way in solving problems that may arise in the leaner workforce.

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