Total Quality Management and Business Ethics


Total quality management and business excellence “is the culture of an organization committed to customer satisfaction through continuous improvement” (Taylor & Francis Group, 2011). As explained further “this culture varies both from one country to another and between different industries, but has certain essential principles which can be implemented to secure greater market share, increased profits and reduced costs” (Taylor & Francis, 2011). Today, business environments in different sectors are overwhelmingly competitive and vibrant. For a business to stay relevant and utilize changes taking place as an opportunity, quality is paramount (Kerzner, 2010). Quality creates customer satisfaction, reliability of a brand, and ultimately, increased profitability (Charantimath, 2006). This paper discusses total quality management and business excellence.


  • Understand total quality management and business excellence
  • Highlight the traditional and untraditional, quality management techniques by businesses, and their role in cultivating an excellent business environment


  • To carry out a study to identify the role of total quality management in creating excellence in businesses today
  • To understand total quality management techniques in order of their relevance and importance to a business
  • To analyze the role of total quality management and business excellence in increasing profitability
  • Emphasize the need for organizational review regarding quality management

Literature review

Total quality management (TQM) and business excellence are two philosophies put together to enable businesses to implement quality in a way that creates excellence in a business. TQM is defined by Ahire (1997) “as an integrative philosophy of management for continuously improving the quality of products and processes”. Business excellence is defined as “the systematic use of quality management principles and tools in business management, to improve performance based on the principles of customer focus, stakeholder value, and process management” (Kanji, 2002). The two put together are aimed at helping a business secure a well-developed and stable market share (Cobb, 2003). The essential principles further strengthen businesses and allow them to have increased profits through motivated employees and reduced costs, among others (Mukherjee, 2006).

Several theories attempt to explain total quality management and its role in developing business excellence (Cua, McKone, and Schroeder, 2001). Among them is Deming’s theory, “which rests upon fourteen points of management he identified, the system of profound knowledge, and the Stewart Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act)” (Roberts, 2011). The main points in this theory are focused on variation and psychological knowledge, as well as the importance of appreciating systems. Another significant theory is Crosby’s theory, “which is based on four absolutes of quality management and his list of fourteen steps to quality management such as forming quality improvement teams and attaining total commitment to quality, among others” (Roberts, 2011).


“In any study focusing on attitudes and perception, the importance of primary data cannot be over-emphasized” (Punch, 2006). In such a project, it is expected that at least 90% of the questionnaires distributed will be returned and filled correctly. Before any data is collected, permission will be sought from different authorities such as the relevant ministries.

Types of data employed

To accomplish the objectives of this study, several types of data will be employed. Data collected will be classified into exploratory, descriptive and confirmatory. By so doing, it will be possible to confirm or falsify already established hypotheses in the research. It will also be classified into primary and secondary data. Secondary data will be gathered from books, journals, online articles, past research projects on the same topic, government and non-governmental databases, just to mention a few sources.

Primary data will be collected through questionnaires and interviews. The target population for the questionnaires will be 100 people and will include employees in different industries, quality management experts, executives in major companies, and consumers. Interviews will be conducted with five participants. Three will be executives in major companies, selected based on their experience and knowledge on quality movement and business excellence. One will be a quality management expert and the fifth will be a government representative to explain the role of government in ensuring quality management in different industries. Answers to close-ended questions will be analyzed in percentages, while others will be individually analyzed and discussed.

Ethical issues and limitations

Several ethical issues arise during research projects. One of the most fundamental principles in research is voluntarism participation. The principle requires that no participant should be coerced to participate in research or give false information. During the research, ethics also demand that the process must not subject the respondents to any danger or harm. A researcher is supposed to apply the principle of anonymity to protect them from the consequences of revealing the information they give. It is also the respondent’s right to be treated with respect and dignity during the study. These ethical issues are expected to be adhered to during the research period.

Limitations expected in the exercise include a lack of cooperation from respondents as they may not give accurate answers or may take too long to respond. Conducting a research project is an expensive activity and finances could pose a challenge. These challenges will be addressed by explaining the scope of the research to respondents to ensure they understand the objectives and minimize resistance, and by ensuring a proper costing and allocation of funds is done before the task commences.

Reference list

Ahire, S.L., 1997. Management science-total quality management interface: An integrative framework. Interfaces, 27 (6): pp. 91-105.

Charantimath, P.M., 2006. Total quality management. India: Dorling Kindersely Pvt. Ltd.

Cobb, C.G., 2003. From quality to business excellence: A systems approach to management. Milwaukee, Wis., ASQ Quality Press.

Cua, K.O., McKone, K.E., and Schroeder, R.G., 2001. Relationships between implementation of TQM, JIT, and TPM and manufacturing performance. Journal of Operations Management, 19(6): pp. 675-694.

Kanji, G.K., 2002. Measuring business excellence. New York: Routledge.

Kerzner, H., 2010. Project management: Best practices: achieving global excellence. New York: J. Wiley & Sons.

Mukherjee, P.N., 2006. Total quality management. New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India.

Punch, K., 2006. Developing effective research proposals. London: SAGE.

Roberts, R., 2011. Theories of total quality management. Web.

Taylor & Francis Group, 2011. Total quality management and business excellence. Web.



  1. As a consumer, is quality a big consideration for you when choosing a brand?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  1. Does quality play a role in a company’s profitability?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  1. Is quality management related to business excellence?”
    1. Yes
    2. No
  1. Do you agree with your company’s quality management initiatives?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  1. Has your company been able to create business excellence through quality management initiatives?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  1. Should the government be involved in quality management in private business?
    1. Yes
    2. No

Interview questions

  1. What is total quality management and business excellence?
  2. In your opinion, is this a relevant philosophy in today’s business environment?
  3. Is the philosophy applicable in all industries or is it only relevant in selected industries?
  4. How have businesses been able to benefit so far from total quality management and business excellence?
  5. What is the role of management in ensuring total quality management and business excellence?
  6. What is the role of other stakeholders on the same?
  7. What is the role of the government in ensuring total quality management in different industries in a country?

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