Date of Award

Fall 1993

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Engineering Management

Program/Concentration

Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Barry Clemson

Committee Member

Thomas Houlihan

Committee Member

Frederick Steier

Committee Member

Resit Unal

Abstract

This research consists of a formative evaluation designed to identify the steps necessary to revitalize a formerly successful Total Quality Management (TQM) process at a U.S. Navy engineering and logistics support organization. The research also developed a methodology to account for the fact that the investigator is a well-informed insider who served as one of the principle change agents for the TQM implementation.

The research is based on the researcher's observation that the major cause for the waning implementation was due to senior management and leadership issues and the organization-wide processes with which they interface. The investigation consisted of an extensive review of the literature to identify, from a leadership perspective and theory framework, an ideal implementation for this organization. Then a case study was conducted to identify the espoused and actual implementation processes, again from a leadership viewpoint.

The gaps or differences between ideal and espoused and espoused and actual were analyzed to identify conditions and relationships which must be addressed as part of the formative evaluation. Significant concerns were identified in leadership actions, TQM processes, allocation of assets and cultural issues which hindered the adoption of the principles of TQM. Each of these was addressed by the development of specific recommendations which, if followed, would result in actions to revitalize the implementation of TQM.

The research recognized that much of the discovery and mutually agreed understanding of the incidences associated with TQM had occurred during the actual implementation. The challenge was to develop methods of obtaining validity and insure a true mutual agreement on the occurrences in a manner to satisfy academic standards. This was accomplished through multiple techniques involving the researcher making statements which he believed accurate, frequently in writing, and then either finding substantiating documentation in the historical records or having multiple other insiders "correct" the understanding, either through interview or in writing response. This formed a method of "mutual mirroring" which insured multiple viewpoints and shared understanding.

This research developed a systematic revitalization process which may have application to other similar organizations and improved methods of implementing TQM, especially for planning and developing improvements in quality of daily work. The literature research provided an improved integration of TQM principles with the underlying theories of organizational change and leadership. Specific leadership actions to implement TQM were identified.

DOI

10.25777/z4vx-s004

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