Volume 2, Number 1 (2016) pp 14-25 doi 10.12691/gjsss | Research Articles
In today’s customer driven economy, organizations compete internationally. W. Edward Deming’s philosophy assumes great importance among managers. This is an opinion based survey on the awareness and applicability of Deming philosophy, among managers in general. The number of individuals clearing Masters Degree in Management and Business Administration (MBA) is alarmingly increasing since past few years. Hence those who enter into their career as managers must be so quality- conscious so that they are not out beaten by fresh graduates. This study becomes much relevant among present generation managers especially whenever they feel tensed in their endeavor for a qualitative future.
Keywords: Quality, System of profound knowledge, 14 point- Deming philosophy, Managers, Organization, Masters in MBA.
Citation | Vijay Lakshmy K V (2016). Managerial Perspectives on the Applicability of Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge and His 14 Point Philosophy: An Opinion Survey. Global Journal of Social Sciences Studies, 2(1): 14-25.
Copyright: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
Funding : This study received no specific financial support.
Competing Interests: The author declares that there are no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.
History : Received: 25 May 2016/ Revised: 8 June 2016/ Accepted: 13 June 2016/ Published: 16 June 2016
Publisher: Online Science Publishing
In the modern economy, Quality has become a critical component in every endeavor. Quality plays a vital role in almost all aspects of life. The need is much high when it is in the case of business especially in today’s world of cut throat competition. Quality needs to be developed as a built in feature at every level of a business organization and has to become a part and parcel of everything that the organization does. From answering the calls to assembling the products and serving the end customer, quality is the key to organizational success. Quality is about meeting the needs and expectations of people/ customers. Quality product is accomplished only through quality procedures concentrated on effectiveness, development, and constant change. These require a quality management culture not only in concern’s projects, but also within the organization. Quality Culture must be developed in almost all dealings among employees of a business concern in their relationship with each other and with the outside world. Quality must be the main criterion for any decision making in any concern. The concern must not take any decisions at the cost of low or no quality. Managers have a special role in connection with the maintenance of quality of a business concern in all activities whether it is related to procurement of raw materials, production process, waste treatment, marketing of finished goods, it’s storage, recruitment and selection of employees, taking managerial decisions on further projects, in areas of research and development and so on. In short, it means managers must be built in quality element to all functions that they handle.
Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive and organized way to deal with organizational management that tries to enhance the quality of products and services through progressing refinements in light of consistent feedback. It aims extensively at keeping up and enhancing quality benchmarks and to accomplish consumer satisfaction. TQM depends on the standards of quality integration, quality to start first, consumer loyalty, persistent change and anticipation instead of review, real based choice and workforce contribution. The major components of Total Quality Management are quality planning, quality control and quality improvement.
Quality control personnel are in charge of changing quality planning techniques and show quality improvement through the results on a day to day basis. However, quality control can be implemented by methodically going around the Plan- Do – Check - Act (PDCA) Control cycle, with the association of which the organization may accomplish ceaseless small steps of change.
Dr. William Edward Deming (1900-1993) is respectfully remembered as the Father of Quality evolution. Deming was a versatile genius who made significant contribution to Japan’s endeavors for manufacturing innovative and high quality products. Deming is popularly known for his 14- point principles, popularly called as Deming Philosophy which has worldwide acceptance. It encourages leaders in all fields, to plan for long term, adopt new philosophies in their career, cease dependence on mass inspection, to effectively utilize on- the- job training methods, drive out fear, to institute leadership and to stop awarding business on the basis of price tags.
The present study is about the "14-POINT DEMING PHILOSOPHY"- An opinion based survey on the applicability of Deming philosophy, among managers in general. The study is conducted on a general basis among all category managers irrespective of their specialization or the field to which they are presently connected with. The organizations where these managers are working are not given much importance in this study. The aspect of quality management becomes the responsibility of Quality Management Department if there is one such department in an organization. But it is not compulsory that all organizations must have a department exclusively managing quality. Thus all managers must know about the aspects of Quality management. Deming’s principles especially have world wide acceptance among managers irrespective of the field to which they are related. His 14- point philosophy is so simple to understand and can be brought into practice in a much easy way. Almost all managers, knowingly or unknowingly do apply these principles in their managerial methodology. Even if they are aware or not that they are applying Deming philosophy, its application would provide them with unexpected, unimaginable and valuable results, so what if they are well aware of these philosophies and apply them with complete knowledge? The same is the case with teachings of other quality gurus as well. This study thus tries to make an attempt to collect and analyze the opinion of managers in general about the awareness and applicability of Deming’s 14- point philosophy.
Quality is about addressing the necessities and desires of individuals. Quality not only relates to the final deliverable output, but also relate to the quality processes involved in production, in marketing of finished goods, in storage of finished goods, on various aspects of innovation, efficiency checking among staff in all departments, quality at the work place etc.; not on a one- time basis but on a continuous basis. Deming said that organizations that emphasis on quality will see their expenses go down while organizations that focus their attention on mere reduction of expense alone will see the vice versa especially if their attempt to reduce costs is at the expense of quality. Deming had a vision of a company that provides quality products and services to its customers as well as a quality environment to its employees. Managers following Deming’s principles help to create environment where quality thrives, benefiting the customers as well as effecting a quality management change within an organization. It also helps the managers to create a project culture where the team has the skills, knowledge, information and experience to make every day rapid decisions on its own. Deming is reminding the managers to eliminate the need for inspection by incorporating quality into the product in the first place. Thus by following Deming’s principles it would benefit not only the customers but also the organization as a whole. Also, this is a time when the number of educated unemployed youth is increasing on an alarming rate. The case is the same with relation to management graduates. The number of Management Colleges (B-Schools offering MBA courses) are increasing at a fast pace in India but it is hard time to put a control over it, shows literatures.It is very essential from the part of Government to check this using a proper tie- up with the best corporate giants in India.
Even small business units with different departments hire managers to work as departmental heads. These people have to work hard to earn an income in such a way that they can at least cover up the cost that they had to incur to get an MBA degree. The Deming’s principles can be applied by managers irrespective of whether there is a direct provision for its application in the organization or not. Once these managers start applying the Deming philosophy and the like of other eminent Quality Gurus, they can surely assure the long term success of the departments that they are leading through which they can aim at the overall improvement of their organization in this competitive environment. A manager who can develop a well structured quality culture in their organization can very well built in the quality feature into their fellow subordinates and through them, into the processes they are undertaking and finally into the output. Once these managers are successful in this endeavor of theirs, they can very well make the result in the form of satisfied customers thereby helping the concern in acquiring maximum brand loyalty among these customers. The activities of managers in all departments are in one way or the other connected with each other and as result, the quality build up exercise of at least one manager can make this flow through the chain, thus reaching at the focal point of concern , i.e; the customers. Managers who can very well incorporate the teachings or philosophies of Quality Gurus, in their execution of managerial functions can bring glory to their organization and at the same time get rewards for their attempt, from the side of Institution where they are working. This study is an attempt to know about the awareness and applicability of the 14-point Deming philosophy among managers in general. This study is relevant in this globally tough competitive business environment where numerous business concerns are arising each moment but only a few with efficient managers who can build, maintain and enhance quality are able to survive the competition. The study also assumes relevance in the context of increasing number of management graduates entering into job markets and also in the context of numerous managers losing their jobs because of dissolution or winding of the business concerns with which they worked. The layman understanding way or the simplicity of 14-point Deming philosophy also captures attention in this regard.
As Deming has rightly pointed out, “There is no substitute for knowledge”. Through this statement Deming clearly suggests that a manager though he does not know about the 14- point philosophy at the beginning of his career he can from his own experience learn these philosophies and that unless he is ready to learn from mistakes and from experience, there is no other substitute for his existence and successful completion of his career. Surveys like these will help the managers to know about the 14- point Deming philosophy, the concepts of Quality Gurus, the various philosophies of these Gurus etc.
Thus the researcher attempts to convey and popularize the 14-point Deming philosophy among those in the managerial cadre. The researcher also attempts to remind those managers who have actually learned these philosophies in their classrooms but left it there itself in the books, lecture halls, PPTs and the exam papers, to apply them in their work place. Deming was actually not in favor of the saying “Experience is the best teacher”. He said that experience will bring treasures of knowledge, judgments, expert advices, suggestions and numerous criticisms etc.; all of which if properly analyzed, sorted out and applied in practice will bring laurels to these managers and mould them in a perfect manner. Experience brings data, experts like Deming suggest processing ideas, Managers have to apply it and bring out the result i.e; the attainment of vision of satisfying customers and retaining them forever. In this entire process, quality should be the base, quality should be the essence and quality should be the flavor.
This study mainly focuses to analyze the opinion of chosen managers, about their awareness on, and applicability of the following aspects:
An attempt has been made to analyze the practical applicability of Deming philosophy, among managers in general. This is a study conducted mainly using primary data, collected through personal interview and via e-mail from the selected sample respondent managers in the state of Kerala in India. The study was conducted among managers in general without differentiating them according to their specialization. The study was done mainly in 3 dimensions:
The survey is conducted based on these three dimensions assuming the relation between these dimensions. Only those managers who are careful about the quality up gradations and need for maintenance of quality will be able to take necessary steps in that regard. Also, only those managers who are alert and make constant changes to their management methods can belong to what Deming calls “System of profound knowledge”. According to Deming, only those who are following the system of profound knowledge can make the “14- point Deming philosophy” into practice. Therefore there is a remarkable connection between these 3 dimensions.
With regard to the analysis part, simple percentages were used for analyzing the respondents’ versions towards quality in general and there was a quadrant based analysis done with regard to the Awareness and Applicability part.
(Henry R Neave, 1987) remarks that not much of the Deming’s philosophy was heard in Management schools at that time and Henry rightly adds that not all statisticians have the abilities and talents of Dr. Deming and also this researcher was pretty sure that a lot of statisticians would be quite hopeless at tackling that kind of work which Dr. Edward Deming has done. This researcher remembers that those philosophies were developed by Deming actually in 1950’s but they were not laid down rigid upon any stone or table but Deming himself used to modify them according to the changing needs of the Management world. Henry comments that a person who first sees the Deming philosophy might seem to have got an odd mixture to deal with but the researcher assures that through simple and clear terms the Deming philosophy is explainable to anybody. Throughout his paper, Henry R Neave tries to elaborate what Deming meant in his philosophies and Henry explains it in such a way that a management team is listening to those elaborations. (1990, Ford Executive) A Ford Executive commented, regarding a consultation with Dr. W. Edward Deming: “We wanted to talk about quality, improvement tools, and which programs work. He wanted to talk to us about management, cultural change, and senior managers’ vision for the company”. These words bring to light the wholehearted curiosity of Deming on the diverse facets of quality. Dr. Edward Deming gave importance to managerial role at both individual and organizational level while catering about quality and its management. As per this paper review, 80-90% quality problems of an organization can be resolved if emphasis is given on scrutinizing the in-house quality culture, managerial perspective revolutions on varying quality facets and upon the in- built of boss- worker co-operation and attempt for incessant quality enhancement. “Dr. W. Edwards Deming estimated that without knowledge of variability, 95% of changes made by management results in no improvement. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge is sometimes referred to as the Foundation of Quality, but I like to refer to it as the Foundation Principles for Leaders (FPL)”, writes Timothy J Clark. Timothy without a doubt spells out that, upon the application of Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge, one can progress his/ her concern’s quality to a great degree or at least lend a hand in averting worst situations from happening. This writer indubitably proposes the treatment of Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge and Deming philosophies for the proficient makeover of one’s self, their family, organization and nation on the rampage that much is the self-belief that this writer has upon Deming and his ideals. Dr. Deming emphasized that the key to quality management and success of an organization is in the hands of the management and that a good number of the troubles in any organization can be traced back to the system and not only that of employees. Therefore system needs the basic amendment and then only the system clients / aspirants.
According to the Oxford Learner’s Pocket Dictionary, the term ‘quality’ means (high) standard, how good or bad something is/ typical part of someone’s character. Juran, one of the quality gurus, defined quality as fitness for use.
Quality of a product or service is its suitability for use by the customer. Quality must be defined according to the type of product/ service rendered, and the lender and user of that product/ service. Same product which was found to be useful to one customer may turn useless for another customer. Then, the former will remark the product as of good quality while the latter will mark it as of less quality. Therefore quality of the same product/ service may be rated differently by the customers from their sheer experience in connection with the time of delivery, meeting of their expectations, after sales services etc. Therefore managers of any concern whether manufacturing or trading and also managers of those concerns providing services like imparting education, repairs and maintenance of automobiles, hospitals etc must be very careful about the quality requirements of the customers, the changing demands of their customers, the gradual up gradations happening in the business environment to which they belong , the competitor’s moves, other technological advancements happening in their area etc so that they can take timely strategic decisions regarding the movements they have to make in order to retain their customers, maintain their satisfaction level and even attract new customers.
In this study, the attitude of respondent managers regarding this quality aspect was being collected by asking their opinions on the following points on a 5- point Likert Scale. The points on which their opinions were collected are as follows:
Majority managers (approx. 80-85%) agreed that they must be alert about quality aspects and the remaining managers even strongly agreed to these points. This shows that these respondent managers are alert about the needs of the day. They are very much keen on understanding these varying needs of their customers and accordingly make changes in their concern.
This system of profound knowledge is a culmination of Deming’s works over his life time. Through this system Deming attempts to reveal four main aspects that the managers must be careful about. These four points will frame the system within which Deming assumes managers to enter themselves and act in this strategic environment. The following are the main aspects coming under Deming’s System of profound knowledge.
In this survey these points were discussed by asking the respondents to evaluate the following points on a 5 point Likert Scale:
From observation and analysis, it could be perceived that those managers who are very much alert about quality matters, had an affiliation to one or more of the dimensions that were cited under Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge. Though they were not aware about these points as coming under Deming’s system of profound knowledge, best part of the respondent managers (88-89%) approved that as managers they have to, at one time or the other undergo those dimensions what were covered under Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge. The rest did not disagree but were neutral upon certain points. They were cynical as to how far certain points mentioned under this System are practically pertinent. They were sure that only if they keep themselves modernized with the latest schemes/ patterns of their area of specialization, will they be flourishing in the long run, they felt suspicious about dealing with the psychological aspects of juniors/ subordinates/ colleagues as they sense that in this era, everyone has their own status quo and are not ready to forego and forgive things straightforwardly. But all the managers who were approached were sure that unless these systems are put to practice by all managers in all departments and at all levels, miracles are intricate to take place in any concern. But once all are ready with full-fledged, ambitious and visionary mindsets, and then they can bring glories in their concern by providing their King- the customers with perfect, effective and efficient products/ services, thus ensuring their concern’s long term sustainability. These managers suggested that they have to be geared up to convince their internal customers (juniors/ subordinates/ colleagues/ superiors/ teammates) initially in their journey to achieve and win loyal customers for their concern. The scrupulous study of theory and application of Deming’s system of Profound Knowledge, would develop a synergy within the management folk which they can make use of by channelizing in the proper way and thereby ensuring the realization of their corporate vision at the earliest.
With sheer experience and vast subject knowledge, one can surpass himself or herself as a manager whichever be the stream to which he/ she is coupled with. Along with the theoretical and practical knowledge developed on one’s own, the knowledge/ philosophies of Quality Gurus (A guru is one who takes his/ her disciple from darkness to the bright world using the tool of knowledge. The quality gurus take the managers to the world where quality is the buzz word. Through their philosophies they introduce the concepts of quality, quality maintenance and management, assurance of quality etc to the young as well as experienced managers to lead their concern to the world of success in qualitative way)are much helpful in guiding the managers through their path of applying Total Quality Management in their organization. The following are the 14 points coming under Deming philosophy related to which the researcher has given own explanations based on which the opinions of managers who were surveyed was collected. The explanations given are purely subjective to researcher’s own observations and opinions.
With regard to the 14- point Deming philosophy almost all managers expressed a positive feedback but there were some who commented that these philosophies and its application must be thought about by persons in their higher levels of hierarchy as well. The present survey concentrated on departmental managers and managers at the middle level. But the survey results are likely to be of great use to those managers who occupy the top most strata in the organization especially in those organization where ultimate authority on policy revisions, management methodology changes etc are in the hands of top authorities.
The survey mainly aims to give snapshots to those organizational leaders into the philosophies of the “Father of Quality Management, W. Edward Deming” which they might have covered in their curriculum but have not considered it seriously once they entered the practical side. There are managers who bother to look into and spread the ideas of these quality gurus but still there are many who have become managers just by acquiring a degree certificate alone. It is for those managers that the survey mainly provides some input. They must take care of these philosophies and its practical application because in the long run if they have to sustain and develop in their managerial hierarchy in an organization, then they have to make a practical application of these teachings and concepts. Regarding the awareness part in the survey, majority respondents had heard about W Edward Deming and his philosophy but were not fully aware of it. Most of them applied many of the points recommended under 14- point Deming philosophy without being aware of these philosophies. Many of the managers even commented that most of them apply these kinds of philosophies because they have seen their senior’s applying them but now that they have come to know about the Deming philosophy, they are curious to know more about the Quality Gurus in general and they opine that they would initiate conferences and other symposiums on the teachings spread by these Quality Gurus.
Quadrant I represent a positive figure, showing both awareness and applicability. The managers who were both aware about Deming philosophy and who practically applied it were placed in that quadrant (in this survey- approx. 49% respondents came in that quadrant). Quadrant II represents Awareness but Non applicability of the Deming philosophy. (In this survey that quadrant was vacant) Quadrant III represents Non Awareness and Non applicability of the 14- point Deming philosophy. (In this survey that quadrant was also left vacant) Quadrant IV represents Non awareness but Applicability of the 14- point Deming philosophy (In this survey approx. 51% respondents came in this quadrant) This quadrant analysis shows a positive picture. If the managers who come in the IV quadrant are given the opportunity to learn more about Deming philosophy and the like, then they can also excel and bring their organization to success and glory. All the respondents were equally giving positive strokes to researchers throughout the study asking for further such surveys but conducted in an in depth way leaving scope for further researches.
This survey, since was conducted in a simple way has its own limitations but the researchers can very well portrait those limitations as opportunities for further researches in the area. Present day managers have to assume the role as strategic managers if they want themselves and their organization to have a competitive edge to sustain and win in this competitive world. Now the entire globe has shrunk itself to a single market concept. Information world- wide can be easily accessed. Therefore the managers in all fields of operation must make use of the data that are available at their finger tips and thus gain the strength to fight back at the opponents and win over with flying colors. W. Edward Deming and his philosophies if properly observed (learned) and followed by organizations each and every organization can feel themselves as a global player even though they play locally. Deming has rightly commented that “Learning is not compulsory nor is survival”.
Henry R Neave(1987), Deming’s 14 points for Management: Framework for Success, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series D (The Statistician), pp: 561-570, Published by Blackwell Publishing for the Royal Statistical Society, URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2348667
Juran, Juran’s Quality Control Handbook, Third edition, MC Graw hill Book Company, New York, 1979, pp:5-12, quoted in “Total Quality Management”, (2014: 4th reprint), Subburaj Ramasamy, McGraw Hill education (India) Private Limited, p: 1.4
Oxford Learner’s Pocket Dictionary, (2013) 4th edition, p: 359
Subburaj Ramasamy, (2014: 4th reprint) , “Total Quality Management”, McGraw Hill education (India) Private Limited, p: 1.4
Swift J A, Vincent K Omachonu, and Joel E Ross, Strategic Quality Planning, Principles of Total Quality, 2nd edition, Boca Raton, St. Louis Press, 1998. 59, as quoted in URL: http://www.processexcellencenetwork.com/lean-six-sigma-business transformation/articles/deming-s-individual-transformed-part-ii,Putting Deming's principles into action to transform individuals, communities and organizations