AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Total quality management (TQM) represents one of the most prominent management philosophies of this century. Rooted in the ideas of Deming, Juran, and Feigenbaum, and embraced by the Japanese on a national scale since the 1950s, TQM received serious attention from manufacturing firms in western countries only around the mid-1980s. In response to sagging market shares, US manufacturing firms such as Ford, Motorola and Xerox initiated a change in quality management. Inception of the Malcolm Baldrige national quality award in 1987 was a clear acknowledgement that a focus on quality was imperative to regain and retain industrial competitiveness in the global market. As a result, manufacturing, service and public sectors started adopting the TQM principles with vigour in the last decade[1,2].
Educational institutions, unfortunately, have just begun to realize the importance of this philosophy. This is evidenced by an increasing concern among academics about dissatisfaction of various constituencies (students, parents, and industry) regarding the quality of education and overall management of educational institutions[3-5]. In response, some educational institutions have started implementing TQM, primarily in administrative and non-academic domains[6,7]. However, TQM implementation in the critical areas of curriculum design, delivery, and research remains relatively elusive. This is reflected in a paucity of published research on actual application of TQM in these areas.
Researchers identify the two most important challenges in higher education: practicing TQM (implementation) and preaching it (teaching). A recent survey of 220 US colleges and universities shows attempts to integrate TQM principles into the curriculum. Thus, one can see a gradual acceptance of TQM as a body of knowledge which needs to be formally disseminated to the business students. However, teaching a TQM course in a traditional "I teach, you learn" fashion could lead to a one-way interaction. Such a mundane course delivery may represent an instance where academia teaches one set of values and adopts a different set for itself. It may very well reinforce Showalter's concerns about such double standards in adopting TQM in higher education. Industries seek graduates with contemporary knowledge and attitude. Thus, educating business students about the TQM philosophy certainly raises a fundamental question: how should we teach TQM? This article presents an approach that was used by one of the authors in teaching a TQM course at a business school in Michigan. The author adopted a non-traditional approach by practicing TQM principles in the classroom. We found it to be a successful experiential learning approach to teaching TQM, and one with a significant potential for meeting industries' challenge.
The remainder of the article is organized as follows: first, we discuss the planning phase of the course. Next, we describe the methodology adopted for the course delivery. This is followed by a discussion on the TQM facets of the course. Then, we present a summary of the outcomes of this experiment, and conclude with a discussion on the potential of this approach to disseminating TQM knowledge.
The course, entitled "Total Quality Management" was offered as a senior-level management elective in our college of business in the autumn term of 1993. The school has the second highest enrollment at the undergraduate level of all American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited schools. The graduates of the business school are employed by industries in Michigan and elsewhere, which include automotive, furniture, food, pharmaceutical, insurance and banks. The main goal of this course was to provide a holistic understanding of the TQM philosophy to students. It was clear that the course should cover major TQM concepts, coupled with the practical issues related to its implementation. To provide a thorough understanding of the TQM principles, the following objectives were identified:
* a detailed coverage of the literature;
* understanding the implementation issues via field …