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The quality movement: where are you going?

Publiceringsår: 2011
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 493-516
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Total Quality Management & Business Excellence
Volym: 22
Nummer: 5
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Routledge


The aim of this article is to reflect on the evolution of total quality management (TQM) as the most widespread quality management approach during the last 25 years. However, during the first 10 years of the new millennium, the term TQM seems to have lost its attractiveness in Western parts of the world and instead new terms such as Business Excellence, Organisational Excellence, Six Sigma, and Lean seem to have overtaken the position even though the contents of these new terms can be understood within the framework of TQM. Through a literature survey the author reflects on the current status of the quality movement. Furthermore, the role of Japan is analysed under the term of 'Japanese morphogenesis' with an attached meaning of learning, renewing and improving ability. When the Japanese morphogenesis has been identified, the identified pattern is adopted as a framework for identifying and analysing the Western morphogenesis. By searching the underlying cognitive structures, and with an application of the identified morphogenesis in the history of quality management, it is possible to understand how Japan achieved the position of a world leader in quality, and also to understand 'the lost decades' from the beginning of the 1990s until today when the interest for TQM diminished. As a continuation of the previous research [Dahlgaard-Park, S. M. (1999). The evolution patterns of quality management, Total Quality Management, 10(4 and 5), 465-472; Dahlgaard-Park, S. M., Bergman, B., & Hellgren, B. (2001). TQM - managerial fad or a case of social becoming? In J. Lowstedt & B. Hellgren (Eds.), Management in the thoughtful enterprise. Oslo: Fagbook for laget], this article has included a discussion on the recent Toyota crisis with the massive withdrawals in 2010 used as an example of what happens when companies change their strategies from a 'customer first strategy' to a 'quantity first strategy'. This article, together with the selected articles in this special issue, addresses several critical issues and suggestions on possible solutions on how companies can escape stagnation and recover from the crisis. The driving forces and learning patterns identified may inspire many organisations and countries, which are struggling in learning, adopting, and implementing TQM principles, tools, and methods.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • quality movement
  • evolution
  • learning pattern
  • quality future


  • ISSN: 1478-3363

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