Monday, October 30, 2017

What is Total Quality Management and What is it doing in my library?

Warnken, Paula N. “What is Total Quality Management and What is it doing in my library?” The U*N*A*B*A*S*H*E*D Librarian, no. 85, pp. 9-10.
PART I: What Is Total Quality Management?
Everyone is talking about Total Quality Management (TQM) and its earliest and most well-known spokesperson, W. Edwards Deming. In the past year the media have focused considerable attention on this management phenomenon. Public television has featured several programs on the “Quality” movement, including an hour program profiling Deming’s life and career. In 1991 Business Week devoted an entire issue to Total Quality Management, and the cover story of May, 1992 issue of Nation’s Business was also about TQM. That same month Library Journal published an article by Terry and Kitty Mackey about applying the Deming approach to libraries. There’s even a journal, Quality Progress, devoted to the principles of Quality Management. So Total Quality is moving toward total coverage – from manufacturing to health care to education and libraries!

Although this widespread attention has been relatively recent, the concept of Total Quality Management has been around at least since the 1940’s, shortly after World War II. It was then that W. Edwards Deming went to Japan and introduced to the Japanese his 14-point management system that is the basis of today’s Total Quality Management principles.

What is Total Quality Management? In its simplest terms, it is a management approach that assumes long-term success comes through making decisions based on facts, and with the goal of ensuring customer satisfaction. The success of such a program is based on the participation of all members of an organization in improving processes, products, and the culture in which the members work.

The term “Total Quality Management” was initially coined in 1985 by the Naval Air Systems Command to describe its Japanese-style management approach to quality improvement, but the ideas have been advocated and practiced since shortly after World War II.

Although Deming is the best known advocate of Total Quality management, there are several others who have contributed to the ideas of quality. Dr. Joseph Juran has been influential in quality improvement since the 1930’s. Juran offers a ten-point management system to improve quality, one step at a time.

Dr. Kaou Ishikawa was the most influential quality advocate from the 1940’s through the 1960’s. He advocated the use of simple statistical and graphical tools and he developed the concept of Quality Control Circles, which is the basis of “empowerment” that we hear so much of today.

Dr. Armond Feigenbaum was the first American to look at quality as a company-wide effort, and his approach served as the fore-runner of today’s Total Quality Management.

Dr. Genichi Taguchi developed the Taguchi Loss Function, which determine factors that can be altered to ensure the best and most predictable quality. This Loss Function is the theoretical basis for Continuous Improvement, integral to the Total Quality Management philosophy.

Philip Crosby, the fifth person closely associated with today’s Quality Movement, began his quality career by advocating Zero Defects, a thesis imploring workers to make fewer mistakes. Crosby’s theories measure quality by determining the cost of defects. Crosby, lik many of the other Quality advocates, streses the importance of employee training.

So, just what does it mean to practice Total Quality Management? It means you must be committed to the process of developing an organization based on your customers’ needs. It means you must give employees the responsibility of making their own decisions – with the purpose of continually improving. They in turn will analytically evaluate how well the processes they are involved in do contribute to meeting customer needs. There are five basic elements involved in the development of such an organization.

1. A systems approach is an integral component of TQM. Deming places most responsibility for Quality on management and the overall “system”. The “system” is what delivers what the customers want. A systems approach looks at individual departments in the context of the entire organization. You must break down barriers among departments. A problem in circulation may well be related to a policy in technical services.

You must look at the library’s mission and relate all department goals to that mission. Departments in your library must work as a team – or at the very least teams in the same league.

Deming has an “80/20 rule.” 80% of an organization’s problems are “system” problems. Only 20% of the problems are due to employees. In recent years he has changed that to the “95/5 rule.” You cannot address problems involving individual employees or departments without thinking of the system as a whole.

2. Empowering employees is another aspect of the TQM management philosophy. The word “empower” literally means to give power to, to authorize, to enable. People are born with intrinsic motivations to learn, to be innovative and creative, to develop positive relationships and self-esteem. Deming believes that traditional management grinds these motivations out of people by making decisions and establishing priorities for employees, and by creating competition through rankings, ratings, and personnel appraisals.

You must give people the responsibility and authority to solve problems at the level at which they arise. If there’s a dispute over a fine, let the circulation assistant attempt to resolve it. This approach builds self-esteem and motivates employees to make their best efforts.

In order for such delegation to work, there must be adequate training, which is an important part of empowerment. People require the resources necessary to do their jobs well. This includes not only relevant training, but also sufficient staff, work space, equipment and supplies.

Another key factor in successful empowerment is communication. Managers must communicate to know what employees’ needs and concerns are, and to let employees know what management’s priorities are. Good communications involve both group and one-on-one interaction, and are essential if employees are to be motivated to work at their highest potential, or to be empowered.

3. Total Quality Management challenges us to make decisions based on facts. It is important to collect and analyze good data. Ishikawa and Deming both advocate the use of statistical and graphical tools. Juran pioneered the use of Pareto charts, which are a graphic way of looking at the frequency of problems and factors. TQM also recommends use of statistical tools such as cause-and-effect diagrams, check sheets, control charts and flow charts to help organizations understand and improve processes.

4. A Quality organization must know its customers and their needs. That is not to say a library will be open every hour its patrons request, or purchase every requested book or journal. It does mean that libraries find out from their customers what their needs are, and make decisions based on a thorough understanding of who the customers are and what they have expressed as their needs.

5. Finally, Total Quality Management challenges organizations to continuously improve. TQM is not a project that has a beginning and a definable end. TQM is a process that continues. Policies and procedures constantly need to be reviewed and revised. We must get away from the “because that’s how it’s done” mentality.

TQM practitioners often use something known as the “PDCA Cycle,” sometimes referred to as the Deming Cycle. PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act. Using this cycle, an organization plans for changes, does the changes on a small scale, checks on the results to determine what was learned, and acts to apply the lessons learned, making them permanent. The PDCA cycle continues, incorporating changes from the previous cycle.

That’s an overview of Total Quality Management. Many of the principles are based on commonsense, and many practices have been around for some time. Xavier University Libraries had actually been implementing TQM for some time, without labelling it as such. The Dean of the Business College, hearing of some of the libraries activities, commented on how impressed he was that Total Quality Management was being implemented in the library.

What the library has been defining as a “customer approach” to services, and its subsequent efforts to identify and determine how we were meeting customers needs, was indeed Total Quality Management.
---Paula N. Wanken
Director of Libraries
Xavier University
Cincinnati, Ohio

Monday, October 23, 2017

Administrators’ Update. Library Administration and Management, v. 11 (Summer 1997): 130-131.

Administrators’ Update. Library Administration and Management, v. 11 (Summer 1997): 130-131.
President's Column
In my final article in the series “High Performing Teams for the New Millennium,” I’d like to discuss the necessity of providing highest quality service to library customers. Satisfying and delighting our customers must be our number-one priority. While libraries may offer comprehensive collections, inviting buildings, and access to the information superhighway, if our customers are not pleased it really means nothing. To be successful, quality service must be perceived from the customer’s point of view and not the library’s.

Customer service has been an important issue to libraries since Hardy Franklin adopted customer service as the “heart of a library” during his term as ALA President. Franklin suggested that libraries identify users’ needs and provide them service with a friendlier attitude. He recommended that libraries eliminate terms such as patrons or users because of their negative connotations and call customers (because library patrons are “paid-up customers”) customers.

Making “quality service” work depends on having staff who are willing and trained to deliver this service, and who have the power to satisfy customers. Staff must be empowered, and management must allow them to take risks without punishment. They must be given the tools to build their self-confidence if a customer service program is to thrive. I think that libraries should follow the example of Nordstorm’s, which has only one rule for staff in making customer service decisions: “Use your good judgement.” We need to make heroes and sing the legends of librarians who “break the rules” and do something extraordinary to satisfy our customers.

Technology has probably raised customer expectations. Even though people grumble about navigating through voice message systems, technology has given customers the taste of instant gratification. It has also enabled librarians to deliver a higher level of information and services than was delivered previously. Today when a customer comes to the desk in search of a book not on the shelf he may hear, “The book is not on the shelf? My terminal tells me that it is on loan for another four days, and we can put a hold on it for you. You will be automatically notified by telephone when the book becomes available, and the book will be waiting for you at the reserve desk. May I do anything else for you?”

Organizational structure needs to be designed to create teams that work together to satisfy customers. Organizational communication and decision-making networks should guide behaviour that reinforces customer satisfaction.

Once excellent customer service has become part of the organizational culture, the staff is quick to correct those employees who do not share the common service standard. Over time this causes the culture of service to be reinforced. The beliefs, values, and assumptions of the library can create an organization where extraordinary customer service is the normal operating procedure.

Following are some things to keep in mind in developing a customer-driven organization:
  • Make sure that commitment to quality service is etched in your library’s mission statement.
  • Identify both your internal and external customers. 
  • Find out what your customers want and expect from the library.
  • Make sure that everyone in the library is committed to quality service. If commitment does not start at the top, it won’t take place at the service desk.
  • Provide training so that staff can provide excellent service. Do roleplaying, videotape service interactions, provide supportive feedback after a difficult customer interaction. Skills need to be reinforced and training should be ongoing. Continuous staff training will always be needed. Indeed, many people enter librarianship because they feel they will be buffered from some of the unpleasantness of dealing with difficult people (which we know isn’t true)!
  • Make sure that library staff have the authority to make on-the-spot decisions to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Serving customers needs to be built into tasks or work assignments. Put library customer needs ahead of your own at all times. Look like you want to be “bothered.” Customers are often reluctant to bother staff working at a service desk reading a journal. Staff need to recognize customers, smile, and provide a service interaction that is pleasant. Librarians are people who bring people and information together, and the process should be joyful for both sides.
  • Every once in a while check to see how you are doing by taking a fresh look at the service you are providing from the customer’s point of view. Walk around your buildings and watch what is happening. Listen to and respond to customer letters and phone calls. 
  • Visit stores and agencies that provide both good and bad customer service. Ask what the key to god service is, and what should be avoided. There are many excellent organizations that libraries can use as models.

Thomas L. Brown, in an article in Industry Week entitled “A Job for Management: Eliminate the Hassles,” (Thomas L. Brown, “A Job for Management: Eliminate the Hassles,” Industry Week 242 (Sept. 20, 1993): 23) summed it up well: Don’t make me wait, especially when you’re ready to do business right now. Don’t make me work around your cumbersome processes. And don’t make me slog through pages of rules and regulations if I just want to get a simple answer.” Good advice for us all.

I enjoyed my term as LAMA president. LAMA is a great organization because of the people who participate and the staff who support it. I have made many new friends and learned a lot during my term, which is what we should desire and expect from life. I hope that these four columns help you develop “High Performing Teams for the New Millennium”—Bill Sannwald.

Monday, October 16, 2017

MBO by any other name is still MBO

Romani, Paul N. “MBO by any other name is still MBO.” Supervision; Dec. 97, Vol. 58, Issue 12, p. 6, 3 p.
MBO philosophy
MBO by any other name is still MBO

In the literature on management science there are few concepts as frequently mentioned and, simultaneously, as widely misunderstood as management by objectives (MBO). Most who come upon the phrase for the first time invariably say, “Is there any other way to manage?” Yes, there is. Even the “inventor” of the term ‘management by objectives’ is misidentified more often than not. Most persons give credit to Peter Drucker. Others, George S. Odiorne, who authored a text with that title in 1965. But the term was coined first by Alfred P. Sloan in the early 1950’s. Drucker’s contribution was to place the term in a central position and add flesh to its bones by emphasizing the results of managerial actions rather than the supervision of activities. Thus, he introduced the present conceptualization of MBO to the world. His vehicle: the 1954 classic The Practice of Management.

First, it is important to remember that MBO is a philosophy. It is not a step-by-step prescription for running any business. Secondly, MBO encompasses the idea that a business has many objectives and all businesses do not have the same objectives. There is only one common to all – “the customer is king.” That is, the core purpose of a business is to satisfy the customer. Third, MBO shifts the focus of management though to productivity – output – away from work efforts – inputs. The key question then becomes: “What is the objective toward which we are working?” Expressed differently, Drucker saw management that concentrated on processes – rather than goals – as inadequate to meet today’s challenges from foreign and domestic competition. Process-oriented management, dating back to Adam Smith’s 1776 volume The Wealth of Nations and extending beyond Frederick W. Taylor to the Hawthorne studies in this century, was adequate for that 150-year span. Old-time managers were expected to learn the ins and outs of a business and to keep people busy. MBO shifts the focus to goals, to the purpose of the activity, rather than the activity itself. The operative question shifts from “What am I supposed to do?” to “What is the objective toward which I am working?”

As is the case with most seemingly straightforward ideas, there have developed cleavages between the way Drucker conceived MBO, the way others have promulgated it, and the way it is practiced. Under the concept, Drucker wished managers to be accountable for results, not activities. The number of meetings they attended, reports generated and other measures do not count. What is crucial is how those activities pay off in terms of contributing to the objectives of the organization. There are no smoke and mirrors to the concept; it is not meant to give managers a sense of participation – real or phony. By definition, managers have responsibility. Thus, managers know the purpose of MBO, and the goals of the unit of which they are a part (e.g., sales units, etc.) because MBO encompasses the idea of participation in individual goal-setting. Managers also have control over the way the goals are achieved. A unique feature of MBO is that the control is self control. With objectives being the objective word, not management, self-control implies enhanced freedom to choose and to act. If behavioural science has taught us anything, it is that all wish freedom to participate more fully in work situations and to share ideas. MBO encourages sharing and harmony.

Those who misunderstand MBO or give it lip service include some of the Nation’s foremost CEOs. This is unfortunate because business is complex and tough. Some managers never tire of hearing and reading about things that may enable them to see a little more clearly and be a little more successful. MBO can do both. A little more concentration on its proper application could result in real dividends to many firms. Not only financial dividends, but those associated with increased employee esteem, development of goals by teams of employees, self-control rather than management pressure to perform and the motivation that often accrues when information is shared more widely.

Following are some negative reactions to MBO found in three of the most quoted management texts available at this time:

Steve Jobs, co-founder and chair of the board of Apple Computer, is quoted in Naisbitt and Aburdene’s bestseller Reinventing the Corporation as saying: “The way we run Apple is by values. You’ve heard of management by objectives? We don’t use that management system. Apple’s the fastest growing company in American corporate history and when you’re growing that fast, the only thing you can do is hire incredibly great people and let them go to it. In general, we hire people who were to tell him what to do didn’t have a firm grasp on what they were to do.

In Beyond Quality, Bowles and Hammond speak to CEOs “consigning quality improvement to the executive closest, alongside “excellence” and “management by objectives” and all the other quick-fix management toys of Christmases past.”

Equally hard on MBO is Reengineering the Corporation. Hammer and Chompy state that: “not one of the management fads of the last twenty years – not MBO, diversification, zero-based budgeting, Theory Z, matrix management, value chain analysis, decentralization, quality circles, “excellence,” restructuring, portfolio management, or one-minute managing – has reversed the deterioration of America’s corporate competitive performance. They have only distracted managers from the task at hand.”

Hammer and Champy’s answer to the Nation’s competitive dilemma: “Companies must organize work around process.” To quote the authors: “We define a business process as a collection of activities that takes one or more kinds of input and creates an output that is of value to the customer.” Thus, as with MBO, outputs are the key. Later: “Under the influence of Adam Smith’s notion of breaking work into its simplest tasks and assigning each of these to a specialist, modern companies and their managers focus on the tasks in this process: receiving the order form, picking the goods from the warehouse, and so forth – and tend to lose sight of the larger objective, which is to get the goods into the hands of the customer who ordered them. The individual tasks within this process are important, but none of them matters one whit to the customer if the overall process doesn’t work – that is, if the process doesn’t deliver the goods.” Drucker could not have expressed these words any clearer. MBO, as a concept, emphasizes the future, is optimistic about it and how managers will cope with change. I see it, when properly applied, as the dominant concept in management today. It reminds me of an anecdote dating back over 150 years. In the 1830s de Tocqueville asked an American sailor why American ships were built to last for only a short time. The sailor replied that “the art of navigation is every day making such rapid progress, that the finest vessel would become almost useless if it lasted beyond a few years.”

One of the central problems today’s manager must face is that there are too many theories, not too few. Dozens appear in crowds of expert opinion and reports. All contain statistics (some contradictory) on most every aspect of every issue. Unfortunately, some of these theories are untried in real life situations, some in organizations dissimilar to the manager’s, some are the results of “studies” conducted by persons with no or little corporate experience and others are reformulations of theories already being used by companies with solid success records. Turmoil is the result of this bumper crop of new-found wisdom.

I am not a champion of MBO. But I have seen nothing on how to manage, organize and succeed which contains more wisdom than this 50 year-old concept. It avoids the criticism other concepts have suffered – too analytical, too quantitative, unconcerned with consumers inside and outside the organization, too conservative, too shortsighted or too uncreative. On the other hand, it has withstood the test of time (seven texts were written about MBO during the 1960s and 1970s), has been scrutinized by practitioners and theoreticians and hits the reason for an organization’s being squarely on the head – to satisfy a customer. Until a philosophy equally complete and personalized appears, MBO looks like the most sensible route to success for the thoughtful manager.
By Paul N. Romani
Paul N. Romani is President of R3, a consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginia, specializing in cost containment, proposal development and network selection and configuration. Earlier in his career, he served for nine years at the White House, three as deputy director of the computing center and six as director of administrative operations for the White House and the 17 agencies of the Executive Office of the President. He holds a doctorate in public administration and an MBA in information technology.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Managing quality: TQM in libraries

Riggs, Donald E. “Managing Quality: TQM in Libraries.” Library Administration & Management v. 7 (Spring 1993): pp. 73-78.
Beginning in the late 1970s, continuing through the 1980s, and gaining greater momentum in the early 1990s, total quality management (TQM) has had a significant impact on American industries. TQM began getting attention by non-profit organizations (e.g., city governments, hospitals, and universities) in the mid 1980s.

One of the first indicators of the importance of TQM occurred in the 1950s when W. Edwards Deming, a statistician, tried to convince the leaders of American businesses they should commence using the principles of quality improvement. Not finding a receptive audience here in the United States, Deming went to Japan and began a revolution from shoddy products and services to those designed for zero defects.

Quality is a difficult term to define. It could be described as the “rail on which the train runs.” Like some other things, one will know when one sees it. My dictionary defines quality as “any of the features which make something what it is.” Customer/user satisfaction is as good a definition of quality as there is.

Why is there a cry for improved quality? Customers/users believe they are short changed when they have paid for inferior products and services. Price tags continue to get larger while products and services fall short of expectations.

Why TQM for libraries?
No matter how a library’s management fabric is cut, it becomes abundantly clear that nearly every aspect of a library can still be improved. The installation of TQM in libraries should not imply that the staff has not been engaged in a continuous improvement process. Quite the contrary. TQM provides a systematic, formalized process for focusing on improvements. It is a process that manages by facts, uses tools for analyzing and measuring work, and evaluates progress on a regular basis.

Libraries are essentially service organizations. They have internal and external users. Internally, the reference staff, for example, depends on the work of the technical services staff. Externally, there are users who expect quality services from the library. Based on TQM’s heavy emphasis on user satisfaction, it is an excellent tool for the management of libraries. Who can argue with a library’s intent to offer improved services for the user through a methodical, systematic approach?

A requisite ingredient for a successful TQM program in the library is commitment from the director. Without this commitment, TQM is nothing more than another buzzword. Before accepting this responsibility, the director should know, among other things, how much TQM is going to cost the library and how much time will be required for training the staff. For it to work, managers throughout the library must also share the director’s commitment to and interest in TQM. They must be convinced that TQM is the correct management program for their library and, subsequently, they must devote the necessary time and resources to make it successful. In addition to “talking the talk,” library managers should practice the TQM principles in their daily work lives.

Strategic planning and TQM
Before implementing TQM, the library should already have a strategic plan in place. Can a library begin TQM and concurrently formulate a long-range, strategic plan? Yes, but it will be difficult in terms of reallocating staff time and sequencing the work. A strategic plan lends credibility to the quality improvement process. Mission statements provide the library staff with long-term projections and philosophical directions. Goals and objectives, respectively, specify the broad and more precise intentions of the library. Strategies, in turn, offer the library staff possible courses of actions for realizing the goals and objectives. The attributes of a well-designed plan are critical to the success of TQM. “A ship without a rudder” is the best way to describe a TQM program that does not have a supporting strategic plan.

TQM is a complex undertaking; it requires a thoughtful introduction, a through training program, and continual library-wide communication. Ideally, before implementing TQM, an orientation session should be held for the entire library staff. After the orientation, specialized training must be held for those participating in TQM. This training does not have to be offered to the entire library staff during the early stages of TQM, but it is crucial to provide this training for those who are going to serve on TQM teams.

Staff serving as team leaders should undergo training that prepares them to manage the project team: calling and conducting meetings; assigning administrative details; orchestrating team activities; creating and maintaining channels that enable team members to do their work; and communicating the work of the team with the rest of the library. The library director and the assistant directors should take the team leader training as early as possible.

Assisting the team leader on a respective project will be a facilitator whose responsibilities include observing the team’s progress, evaluating how the team functions, and using these findings to help the team improve its processes. The facilitator’s role is to help move along the team’s work—coaching team members in needed skills and tools—but not to participate directly in the team’s activities. (Peter R. Scholtes, The Team Handbook: How to Use Teams to Improve Quality (Madison, Wisconsin: Joiner Associates, 1988), 3-13)

Team leader and facilitator training can take between three and five working days to complete. If the library’s parent organization has made a commitment to TQM, perhaps the training programs could be shared financially. Otherwise, the library should expect to pay for all of the training. The cost per person depends on the number being trained at one time and who does the training. The library may decide to do its own training after a few staff members have completed the training sessions.

Training zeroes in on the principles and tools of TQM; the process is given heavy emphasis. Participants engage in exercises that delineate problems, extract the root causes of problems, perform work simulations, conduct evaluations, and provide feedback on how to improve the various processes discussed. Taking several staff members away from their regular work for large blocks of training time may have a major impact on various staff areas. In lieu of asking the staff who are receiving the training to leave their work for three to five consecutive days, it may be better to have the training broken down into two or more sessions distributed over a period of a few weeks. Training is paramount and truncating the necessary time for it will result in serious long-term, negative repercussions.

Targeted areas: identification and selection
Normally, an entire library department/unit is not targeted as a candidate for TQM. For example, one should not focus on a project that studies how to improve the hiring of new employees, but on a smaller part or process such as the employment of entry-level clerks. Selecting the first areas for application of TQM may be very sensitive. If the director arbitrarily selects an area without much forethought, the staff in the respective department may come to a fast conclusion that it is not performing up to par and has been singled out as a problem area. Nothing could be more demoralizing to a department/unit than for the director to announce that the respective area has a process in dire need of TQM and, consequently, has been selected to be the very first entity to begin using TQM.

Several alternatives should be considered during the selection of areas; they include asking the entire library to suggest processes that could possibly benefit from TQM, or asking volunteers (involved in a respective process) to participate as the first project teams. Various staff can be involved in the selection of those processes that may benefit from TQM. It is important that the initial areas selected will result in “success stories.” They should reflect a model that other areas can replicate. Beginning the TQM program with some poorly selected areas could mean its early demise. Common errors in selecting projects include selecting a process that no one is really interested in; selecting a desired solution, instead of a process; selecting a process in transition; and selecting a system to study, not a process. When selecting the first area for TQM, the library should choose a process with the following features: it has a direct impact on its users; has a time cycle that can be reduced; is relatively simple, with clearly defined starting and ending points; is something a large number of staff agree is important; and has a lot of visibility. 2 Each library should formulate criteria that can be used in identifying and selecting processes that will benefit from TQM. No single formula will work for every library. Each library has to customize its own quality-oriented infrastructure.

After the target areas have been selected, the next step is to establish respective teams to address the specific challenges. All team members do not have to come from the respective areas; some members may come from other areas in the library, and some may come from outside of the library. Should the department/unit head chair the team? Not necessarily. Quality improvement teams make up the basic building blocks of the quality improvement process. They consist of three major kinds of teams: (1) A functional team--library staff from a work unit; the team is ongoing and its membership is voluntary, (2) A cross-functional team—staff from more than one functional area to work on targets for improvement that cut across functional lines; the team is ongoing and its membership is voluntary, and (3) A task team—staff from one or more functional areas to solve a particular problem, after which, the team disbands. Membership is selected on the basis of qualifications required.

Assessing the current situation
After the library identifies an area that it assumes can be improved by using the principles of TQM, the respective team has to determine its own reasons for working on this particular area. It may want to survey the users of the products/services of the area, interview individuals from the work area, determine how much improvement is needed, describe the current processes/procedures used in the problem area, and establish quality-improvement indicators. Data on all aspects of the problem area should be collected. These data will be useful in developing the quality-improvement indicators. Brainstorming is a good way to explore a broad range of options; it will be useful in generating ideas, garnering participation by all team members, and encouraging creativity. The team should also stratify the problem area from various viewpoints. After the situation has been stratified, it will be specific enough to analyze.

The analysis phase should primarily address the root causes of the problem area. These causes have to be verified by data, and those root causes with the greatest impact must be identified. Team members are to present ways to discover the “cause and effect” components of the problem area. The following are examples of tools that may be used during the analysis: (1) “Fishbone analysis,” so named because it resembles a fishbone, is a good tool for diagramming those categories of potential causes (or solutions) of the problem. Subcategories are drawn off the main categories. It is an effective tool for studying processes and situations, but should not be used for planning purposes. (2) A Pareto chart depicts a series of bars whose heights reflect the frequency or impact of problems. The bars are arranged (from left to right) in descending order of height (based on degree of importance—taller bars being the most important). The Pareto principle advocates that 80 percent of the trouble comes from 20 percent of the problems. Pareto charts narrow down which causes to address first, and they are good tools to use in building consensus among team members. They assist in the search for significance. Arranging data on a Pareto chart helps to highlight the “vital few” in contrast to the “trivial many.” (3) A scatter diagram is another tool often used in the analysis phase. By using a horizontal axis (called the x axis) and a vertical axis (called the y axis), a scatter diagram allows the team to see if there is a relationship or correlation between two characteristics. The scatter diagram is often used for further examination of the elements isolated in the “fishbone diagram.” Other tools frequently used in analyzing root causes are the histogram, control chart, and dot plot.

After the root causes of the problem have been identified, the next step is to select countermeasures (proposed solutions) to the root causes. Some solutions to the problems may appear to be obvious, but this rarely occurs. Much care has to be taken in choosing a solution; in making the choice, the team should work from its database (its research options), be as creative as the issue allows, and be diligent in the pursuit of not just an adequate answer but the “right” answer (QualTech Quality Improvement Program, Team Leader Course Participant Workbook (Miami, Fla: Power & Light Company, 1987), 4). One highly effective technique is to compare the alternative countermeasures. Each countermeasure should be rated in terms of effectiveness and feasibility. What will each of them involve in terms of people, funding, space, and time? After the right countermeasures have been chosen, they can be judged by checking to see if the root causes have been reduced or eliminated, the quality-improvement indicators have been satisfied, user needs have been met or exceeded, and cost benefits were achieved.

The team should develop an action plan to implement the countermeasures; the plan should answer who, what, when, where, and how. Formation of an action plan is a technique that catalogs all the things that must be done to ensure a smooth and objective trial of solution or improvement. (Ibid, 4-20.) Moreover, the plan must contain standards of behaviour that will prevent the root causes from reoccurring. The standards and solutions should become part of the respective library area’s daily work, and they should be considered for replication in other areas that have identified problems. Periodic checks with assigned responsibilities have to be built in the action plan.

Continuous improvement is at the core of TQM. This ongoing improvement process refers to all activities that fall under the purview of TQM. Countermeasures, for example, should be evaluated to see if they require fine tuning or a major overhaul after a specific time. In a sense, nothing in a TQM-driven library should escape some scrutiny to see if improvement can be brought forth in the various processes. Even the problem-solving activity itself should be put under the microscope to see what was done well, what could be improved, and what could be done differently.

Deming translates his methodology for evaluation as the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) system and describes it in four steps:
  1. Organize an appropriate team that can study a process and decide what change might improve it.
  2. If enough data are not available, tests or studies need to be performed with support from the group. Make the necessary changes, preferably on a small scale.
  3. Observe the effects.
  4. Determine what was learned. Repeat the test if necessary, perhaps in a different environment. Look for side effects.
      (Mary Walton, The Deming Management Method (New York: Putnam, 1986), 86).
After a library has had TQM in place for a couple years, an external visiting team (people with TQM experience) should be invited to evaluate the library’s TQM activities. The visiting team should seek answers to questions like: “What went right?” “What went wrong?” “Is TQM transforming the culture of the library, and, if so, how?”

Points to remember
  • TQM is user focused. If the user is not the centerpiece of the TQM endeavor, then the library is missing the target.
  • TQM attacks the process, not the people. Deming believes 85 percent of the problems are traceable to the problem itself, and just 15 percent to the people (W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Study, 1985), 21). Library staff even at the lowest level possible should be empowered to make day-to-day decisions. 
  • Without commitment from the library director, TQM will have a short life. 
  • Implementing TQM will require additional resources. 
  • A large investment will have to be made in training. A new or renewed culture of quality is one of the dividends realized by TQM libraries. 
  • Instant gratification should not be expected from TQM. Expect at least two or three years before its benefits are evident. Organizations that have failed in their TQM quest did not allow enough time for the benefits to evolve. TQM requires patience; it is not instant pudding. 
  • The TQM principle of continuous improvement will enhance the library’s opportunity to offer more value-added services. A new psychology of value will evolve among library users. • The success of TQM depends largely on how well its philosophy and expected benefits are communicated within the entire library. 
Libraries stand to gain much from using the principles of TQM. Based on the service orientation of libraries, it is heartening to see a commitment to improve service further and make user satisfaction a top priority. TQM should not be perceived as a panacea. It is simply another management technique that focuses on continuous improvement in a formal, systematic manner. Its emphasis, for example, on bench marking and reducing cycle time is commendable and appropriate for managing libraries. Focusing on cycle time means speeding up the total time, start to finish, that it takes to complete a library transaction. Who can argue with reducing the cycle time in libraries and becoming more responsive to our users?

Are libraries a good fit for TQM? Deming responds by stating that “service organizations need quality improvement even more than business or industry.”
(W. Edwards Deming, Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Study, 1982), 235). An all-out quality commitment could possibly require some libraries to move from entrenched habits (e.g., we’ve always done it this way) toward creating a somewhat new attitude about user services. In closing, I offer the following “quality creed”: “We shall strive for excellence in all endeavours. We shall set our goals to achieve total customer (user) satisfaction and to deliver defect-free, premium-value products on time, with service second to none.” (author unknown)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Can management by objectives and total quality management be reconciled?

Passi, Wolfgang J. Can management by objectives and total quality management be reconciled? “Total Quality Management,” Mar 03, Vol. 4, Issue 2, p. 135, 7 p.
Management by objectives (MBO) goes back to 1954 when Peter Drucker (Drucker, P. F., (1954). The Practice of Management (London, Pan Books)) proclaimed it as the management system of the future. It was credited with the flourishing of Western business in the 1950s and 1960s and seems common sense.

The tasks to be carried out are described.

They are associated with expected outcomes.

These are quantified, and time constraints and conditions are specified.

The people entrusted with carrying out the tasks are accountable for achieving these defined, measurable objectives.

The system is based on a hierarchical structure where the objectives and sub-objectives and sub-sub-objectives are passed ‘down’ in a cascade, so that each employee is governed through a set of performance standards or work quotes. Reddin (1977) defines MBO as: The establishment of effectiveness areas and effectiveness standards for managerial positions and the periodic conversion of these into measurable time-bounded objectives linked vertically and horizontally and with future planning. (Reddin, W. J. (1977), Effective MBO (New York, McGraw Hill)

Unfortunately, MBO often encourages quantity over quality, short-term over long-term success, controls over dynamic improvements and innovation, the emphasis on results rather than on the processes leading to them, individual accountability rather than scrutiny of the systems within which staff work, individual performance over team work, and inward orientation over customer orientation. Since all this is happening despite warnings from interpreters of MBO, the system appears to be somewhat conducive to these pitfalls.

Over the last couple of decades the success rate of MBO-led companies and organizations has become less spectacular in comparison with a new management philosophy which established the relationship between quality and competitiveness and which has been used by Dr Edwards Deming and other consultants (Deming & Edwards, 1982 a/b; Scherkenbach, W. W., (1987) The Deming Route to Quality and Productivity (Washington DC, Ceep Press); Deming, E. W. (1982a) Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position (Cambridge, MA, MIT Centre for Advanced Engineering Study); Deming, E. W. (1982b) Out of the Crisis (Cambridge, MA, MIT Centre for Advanced Engineering Study). It has, in particular, helped Japan to overtake the US economically. This philosophy is called total quality management (TQM).

TQM seeks continuous improvement in the quality of performance of all the processes, products and services of an organization. It emphasizes the understanding of variation, the importance of measurement, the role of the customer, and the involvement of employees at all levels of an organization in the pursuit of such improvement. An important feature of this philosophy is that management plays a key role and carries the responsibility for the bulk of mistakes, defects and waste.

When comparing modern texts of MBO and TQM, there seems to be no striking contradictions, rather shifts of emphasis. However, MBO is built on old ingrained attitudes, and some modern aspects are emphasized inadequately. Although MBO could claim flexibility at the time of its formation, it now appears rigid when contrasted with TQM. Table 1 contains a brief comparison of the two management systems.

Table 1. Comparisons of MBO versus TQM

Company culture Emphasis on financial management Emphasis on customer satisfaction (quality)
Focus Result orientation Process orientation
Organizational structure Hierarchy Matrix (network)
Strategy Three-step:
1 set objectives
2 direct their attainment
3 measure results
Four step:
similar to MBO but includes additional improvement step
Operation Setting of numerical objectives Designating of desired outcomes = quality into performance systems
Never the Twain?
Is there a question of choice between the two systems, exchanging one for the other? I think not. According to my own experience and that of others, TQM ideas may be used to further develop and modernize MBO. However, this will make attitudinal changes necessary, which is difficult within an established system. T QM thinking would improve the traditional MBO system in several areas as outlined below.

Dedication to quality and improvement
Although MBO includes improvement in its system, in particular concerning organizational and staff performance, progress and competitiveness are founded on financial strategies. There is some talk of customer orientation. The term ‘quality’ is often missing in the indices of MBO texts (Drucker, P. F., (1979), Management (London, Pan Books); McConkey, D. D., (1983), How to Manage by Results (New York, AMACOM)). The TQM principle of continuing improvement is much more comprehensive. Dedication to quality in TQM becomes the organizational culture, with much greater emphasis on the processes leading to the ‘results’. Thus, the organization, the ‘system’, becomes much more ‘staff friendly.’ By tailoring quality precisely to the customer’s needs, TQM is also by far more ‘customer friendly’ than MBO.

We must not forget that MBO was formulated at a boom period, when manufacturers and providers of service could sell almost any product or service because of great demand, with only limited need for ‘quality’.

Organizational structure
MBO is based on the outdated hierarchical system, with the general manager at the top of a pyramid and managers at the tops of the sub-pyramids. There is continuous talk of ‘up’ and ‘down’. The reliance on status and superior-subordinate relationships bears the historic shackles of the master-slave (later servant) polarity. This attitude also ignores the fact that most modern economies have comparatively highly educated workforces whose potentials are inadequately tapped.

Management as a separate layer is counterproductive—a manager ‘sitting on top of a pyramid’ can be perceived as a burden. If we have to stick to the pyramidal structure, a useful manager would be one that supports the tip of an inverted pyramid. Managerial positions distinguish themselves by their authority and power to provide resources and to modify the system within which staff work, to enable them to achieve optimum results.

This is not to say that proponents of MBO have not seen the writing on the wall. McConkey (1983) notes: “The traditional, hierarchical form of organisation structure, usually portrayed as a pyramid, will be replaced by ‘matrices’ or ‘networks’ of teams formed to achieve the needs of the organisation.”

Management strategy
MBO states three main steps: (1) establish objectives, (2) direct their attainment, (3) measure the results. This strategy can be represented by a circle which allows comparison of ‘what was wanted’ with ‘what has been achieved’. According to TQM, this is inadequate. MBO underemphasizes the need for a review step which allows improvement of similar processes in the future. Lifting the quality of processes within a category to ever higher levels can be perceived as an upward moving spiral. TQM relies on the participation of the entire staff for continuous improvements everywhere in an organization. Simply ‘doing a job according to the book’ is not enough!

However, it must be acknowledged that with MBO a balanced participative management style replaces the authoritative one. Because of clear definitions of authority, decisions can be made at the point nearest action, at the time when action is to take place. This is helped by in-depth delegation and safeguards that the right information is passed on at the right time, to the right place. Clear accountability prevents ‘decision drift’ and procrastination. At the same time, modern MBO encourages change, and keeps policies and procedures flexible and to a minimum. Controls are tight but minimal. All this ensures a measure of dynamism.

Planning and processes
MBO must be credited with replacing fuzzy objectives with well-defined ones; these are based on goals which in turn emanate from a mission statement. Subordinates participate in objective setting and planning. Results are not (officially) used for immediate apportionment of blame but serve as yardsticks by which the employees can ‘measure their own performances’.

Unfortunately, followers of MBO have gone too far, placing too much emphasis on numbers. Often, the chosen numerical objectives are purely fictitious and often adequate groundwork has not been done. It is interesting to note that McConkey (1983) also lists the tendency to ‘quantify everything’ as one of the pitfalls of MBO.

Proponents of TQM are in total opposition to numerical quotes and performance standards. There is no question that it is always possible to improve on a performance, but what is the setting of a numerical objective to achieve, unless we can calculate the outcome from our inputs? Situations where staff sabotage the achievement of an objective are rare. As a rule, the opposite is the case. Hence, if someone is unable to achieve the target, what advantage is there in making this person feel bad? Or else, do we want to encourage the setting of ‘safe’ objectives? Or, if the target can be surpassed, are we to gain from discouraging overachievement?

Focus on numerical objectives often distracts from the real goals and can even be harmful. There is also, by necessity, a bias in the setting of the so-called ‘performance indicators’ to prove achievement. Since not everything can be measured, management must select them. What if a dieter simply assessed ‘progress’ in losing weight by standing on scales, ignoring body build and state of health?

In line with its axiom that quality must pervade the entire organization, TQM demands the designing of all processes and systems in such a way that the desired results are assured. Building the necessary ‘quality’ into the entire system ensures that delegated tasks have adequate support. There is also less risk of compartmentalization and segmentation of work.

TQM thus focuses overwhelmingly on the planning and design of systems and processes instead of numerical objectives. It is not surprising to find the opposite approach in MBO texts.

Assessment of results
This is the area where TQM contradicts MBO most. MBO is dedicated to the performance appraisal of individual staff, TQM to the continuing critical assessment and improvement of systems. Arguments against performance appraisal are as follows:

(1) With performance evaluation, one may be inclined to disregard that employees work within a group. The individual results are influenced by all members of the group.

(2) With performance evaluation, one may be led to overlook the fact that employees work within a system (for which management is responsible). Mager and Pipe (Mager, R. F. & Pipe, P. (1984), Analyzing Performance Problems (Belmont, CA, Lake Publishing Company) list 12 points to be clarified concerning the system within which the employee works, before the issues of ‘sanctions’ and ‘rewards’ should be tackled. The necessity of investigating possible system failures, and the fact that ‘management’ is responsible for 80% (or more) of failures, are even discussed in MBO texts. Nevertheless, ‘sanctions’ and ‘rewards’ regularly appear as the alternatives in performance evaluation flowcharts!

(3) With performance evaluation, one may tend to ignore that employees work within variability and instability. No jobs are precisely the same. If the variability of a system is due to the ‘common cause’ and inherent in the system, and not to any special cause’, employee performance will be randomly scattered around the average independently of the employee’s efforts! A particularly unfair situation may arise where employees are singled out, often unconsciously, for the performance of certain tasks (because of their special skills or special aptitudes) but are assessed by the number of tasks performed and not the difficulties associated with them.

(4) Employees are invariably evaluated within an evaluation system that is biased and inconsistent. The evaluator is by necessity under pressure to grade employees as average, above average or below average. The evaluation also depends on current company policy and evaluator philosophy, no matter whether or not these can be sustained. The performance of the employee is also strongly influenced by the Pygmalion and Galatea effects which have been investigated extensively (Livingston, J. S. (1969) Pygmalion in management, Harvard Business Review, July-August, pp. 81-89; Rosenthal, R (1973), The Pygmalion effect lives, Psychology Today, September, pp. 56-63); Babad, E. Y., Inbar, J., and Rosenthal, R. (1982) Pygmalion, Galatea and the Golem, Journal of Educational Psychology, 74, pp. 459-474). The first effect is connected with the phenomenon of a subordinate’s performance rising or falling to meet the manager’s expectations. The second effect concerns a person’s performance rising or falling according to his/her own expectations. In addition, employees themselves may overestimate the influence they may have had on an outcome.

Other disadvantages associated with performance assessment are given below. (1) No one likes assessments.
(2) Competition douses cooperation, team work, the inclination to help others.
(3) Systems are likely to be squeezed.
(4) Spontaneity is discouraged; important tasks not listed as objectives are neglected or at least delayed; this may be particularly detrimental in research and development.
(5) If assessments are to mean more than a toss of the coin, they are prohibitively time consuming.

Some benefits are often listed as results of individual performance appraisal:
(1) Staff receive direction.
(2) Staff receive feedback on their performance.
(3) Staff training needs can be developed.
(4) Communication between management and staff is fostered.
(5) Staff can be promoted and reward according to performance.
All these are better achieved through other means.

Promotions and rewards
A person’s inclination or capabilities to take on a wider range of responsibilities or more demanding work are often not visible in a given job situation and can thus not be detected by performance appraisal. It is better to give staff special assignments, or allow them to show their talents in improvement projects. Listening to ‘customers’ is sometimes revealing; they may prefer the services of certain people. In general, a flat organizational culture is preferable. In an age where most mindless or repetitive jobs are carried out by machines, it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide which job is more demanding than another. Indeed, if there is no machine for mindless jobs, staff assigned to these jobs may have to be paid more than others in less boring jobs.
The Deming school states:
To take something as unreliable and capricious as performance appraisal and use it as basis for salary increase, wages, bonuses, merit pay, etc., turns the reward system into a form of lottery. Flipping a coin would be more fair. (1) Personnel policies must not reward people for being lucky or punish people for being unlucky;

(2) must not induce fear or create barriers; rather fear must be driven out and barriers broken down;

(3) must not tamper with anyone’s system of internal motivation;

(4) must encourage everyone to work together to accomplish the transformation;

(5) must foster a climate of teamwork and trust.
Incentive plans. Proponents of MBO sometimes favour such plans as superior to fixed salaries because incentives can be better tied to performance. Yet there are serious risks associated with incentives as a means of eliciting higher performance. Attainment of short-term benefits may take precedence over long-term benefits. Quantity may be pushed at the expense of quality. The system may be squeezed, short-cuts taken, successes faked. Ultimately, customers may become dissatisfied and markets may be lost. However, incentives may be useful for achievements outside ordinary job performance (improvements, novel concepts, gaining of customers, etc.).

If we wanted to adhere to the MBO approach, but introduce the progressive thoughts of TQM, what would we have to do?

(1) Base long-term competiveness and success primarily on quantity management instead of financial considerations.

(2) Replace any hierarchy with a horizontal matrix where individuals and teams relate to each other as providers and receivers of all services. (This system does not end at the doors of the organization or company but extends to all external suppliers of materials and services as well as to all external customers.)

(3) Extend the MBO strategy by including a review step for continuing improvement.

(4) Thoroughly study system performance. This may be expressed numerically.

(5) Beware of introducing numerical targets into objectives. Go for the ‘optimum achievable’ under the current system. If this optimum should prove unsatisfactory, improve the system.

(6) Replace performance appraisals of individual staff with performance appraisals of systems.

(7) Award salaries according to ‘market rates’, seniority or overall prosperity of the organization. Adopting these recommendations will not only improve staff morale and cooperation, but also help an organization to become more prosperous and more competitive!

If we introduce TQM into MBO by putting into practice these recommendations, have we not changed the salient features of MBO? I believe that only redirecting performance appraisals from people to systems would be a fundamental alteration. MBO showed itself superior to the management systems preceding it and has been refined over the past decades. Introducing the ideas of TQM would mean just another step in the evolution of MBO.