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This paper examines the multidimensionality of TQM in association with organizational performance. The primary proposition examined in this study is that TQM embodies two different models of practices, mechanistic and organic, with each showing a different role in the association with two different types of performance, quality and innovation. Using empirical data gathered from 194 middle/senior managers in Australian \ufb01rms, the \ufb01ndings support the proposition in pairing the mechanistic elements of TQM with quality performance and the organic elements with innovation performance. Further results, however, fail to support the proposition that organizations need to con\ufb01gure TQM practices in different ways for achieving different type of performance.
Prajogo and Sohal (2001) have presented a compre- hensive literature review on the relationship between TQM and innovation performance. They argued that the need to examine this relationship arises from the fact that, today, the basis for competitive advantage has shifted from quality to innovation, and given that TQM principles and practices were developed in the context of quality management, it is important to evaluate their suitability for pursuing innovation performance. In reviewing a body of literature concerning the relation- ship between TQM and innovation, they identi\ufb01ed two competing schools of thought with one suggesting that TQM is positively related to innovation performance and the other group contending that the implementation of TQM principles and practices could hinder organizations from being innovative.
As discussed in the next section, a number of scholars have suggested that TQM actually embodies several practices whose characteristics are different to each other, highlighting the multidimensionality of TQM.
This paper examines the multidimensional aspects of TQM and uses this to resolve the debate concerning the relationship between TQM and innovation by drawing on the experience of Australian \ufb01rms.
As a theoretical proposition, the multidimensionality of TQM has been suggested by a number of scholars (Dean and Bowen, 1994; Lau and Anderson, 1998; Mor- eno-Luzon and Peris, 1998; Sitkin et al., 1994; Spencer, 1994; Watson and Korukonda, 1995). In particular, Mor- eno-Luzon and Peris (1998) suggest that the multi- dimensionality of quality management can be easily found by examining the various terminologies so far introduced into the areas of quality control, quality assurance, total quality control, company-wide quality control, total quality management, and strategic quality management. Among these many terminologies, they argue that quality assurance (QA) and total quality man- agement (TQM) are the best models in contrasting the multidimensionality of quality management. This is because the \ufb01rst is focused on controlling processes and products to conform to and satisfy established require- ments, whilst the latter is directed toward involvement and commitment of management and employees, train-
ing, learning, and internal cooperation or teamwork\u2014 in other words, promoting the human aspects of the system. When contrasting QA with TQM, they used basic organizational design variables\u2014 formalization, stan- dardization, and centralization\u2014 and proposed that in general, QA was situated in the area with high levels of these three variables, whereas TQM was located in the opposite area. Considering the above description, it can be concluded that what is designated as QA can be clearly associated with the mechanistic or control approach, and that the TQM approach can be linked with the organic or learning approach. A similar view was also held by Kekale and Kekale (1995) when differen- tiating the\u201cbehavioristic\u201d approach of TQM practices, such as systematic measurement, control of work, stan- dards, and statistical procedures from a\u201ccognitive\u201d approach that emphasizes\u201csoft\u201d qualitative character- istics, such as open management style, delegated responsibility and autonomy.
Watson and Korukonda (1995) af\ufb01rm that examining the juxtaposition of different facets of TQM, particularly the dichotomy between mechanistic and organic elements, is problematic. This is, nonetheless, important to facilitate theoretical insights and conceptual clarity of TQM, as asserted by Watson and Korukonda (1995, p.105):
Yet, the promoters of TQM are not as enthusiastic about discussing the mechanistic aspects of TQM as they are about its organic aspects. This is to be expected considering the connotations of passivity, subjugation, and suppression of freewill stirred up by a mechanistic model. Yet, not to recognize them would be tantamount to ignoring some basic tenets of the TQM philosophy
Furthermore, Prajogo and Sohal (2001) have af\ufb01rmed that examining the dichotomy of TQM in terms of mech- anistic and organic models is important for resolving the controversies in the literature concerning the relationship between TQM and innovation. In this context, the work of Sitkin et al. (1994) and Spencer (1994) provide a theoretical basis to build up the link between the multi- dimensionality of TQM and innovation. In their argu- ment, Sitkin et al. (1994) hold that under similar underly- ing TQM precepts, organizations can apply two different goals and practices based on two different orientations, namely TQC (Total Quality Control) and TQL (Total Quality Learning) with TQC being associated with qual- ity in terms of conformance, and TQL being related to innovation. In her seminal work, Spencer (1994) argues that various practices under the TQM umbrella can be categorized into several organizational models, including the mechanistic and the organismic models. For example, the stated goal of TQM to improve quality is associated with the mechanistic model, because in prac-
tice the real objective of pursuing quality could well shift into productivity and ef\ufb01ciency, something on which a mechanistic organization focuses. On the other hand, the ideas of employee empowerment and cross-functional teamwork are closely linked to the organismic model1
A further link can be made between the arguments of Sitkin et al. (1994) and Spencer (1994) with control- orientation being strongly associated with the mechan- istic model and learning-orientation with the organic model. For example, Sitkin et al. associate the TQC approach (for example, through the application of SPC tools) with a cybernetic control system on the basis of the similarity of two critical requirements: the need for regulatory standards and the need for activities that are suf\ufb01ciently routine to be well understood. At the same time, Spencer (1994, p. 453) af\ufb01rms\u201cIn the mechanistic model, stability is prized because it increases pre- dictability, which, in turn, increases control\u201d.
In this regard, when referring to the mechanistic or control-oriented model, TQM will focus more on quality by conformance, and thus appear to meet all negative arguments concerning its relationship with innovation. On the other hand, both TQL and an organic model are more related to innovation. Sitkin et al. suggest that TQL stresses development of new skills, exploration of new arenas, and other innovative-like activities, whilst an organic model has long been identi\ufb01ed as instrumental in supporting innovation in the literature on innovation (Burns and Stalker, 1961).
Finally, the discussion of the multidimensionality of TQM is concerned with its application in organizations. In contrasting QA with TQM, Moreno-Luzon and Peris (1998) argue that although each of these approaches come from different conceptions and apply different tools, they are not exclusive; indeed, TQM arises as an evolution of the quality assurance (QA) approach and both perspectives can coexist in the same organization at different levels. The question then is how these two contrasting practices co-exist within one organization. Spencer (1994) argues that organizations that practice TQM do not necessarily hold strictly to any one of her three models; rather, they\u201coscillate\u201d among them. It can be inferred that under the umbrella of TQM, organiza- tions can emphasize or promote the exercise of certain practices over others. In other words, one could expect various con\ufb01gurations of TQM practices implemented in different organizations, particularly in the context of the pursuit of different strategic objectives.
In summary, the literature review above has addressed three issues. First, it highlights the theoretical aspect of the multidimensionality of TQM; second, it makes a link between the multidimensionality of TQM with organiza- tional performance in terms of quality and innovation; and\ufb01nally, it stresses the argument that organizations will show various con\ufb01gurations in implementing TQM practices in the context of pursuing different strategic performance. In order to test these propositions, we developed a research framework aimed at contrasting the different elements of TQM in association with different types of organizational performance.
As illustrated in Fig. 1, the research framework intro- duces TQM as comprising mechanistic and organic elements and relates these to quality performance and innovation performance simultaneously. The simul- taneous relationship between TQM and the two meas- ures of organizational performance is also aimed at speci\ufb01cally examining the impact of different practices on different types of performance. The research ques- tions of this study are articulated as follows:
of TQM practices be re\ufb02ected in different associations between its individual practices with different types of performance?
The objective of this study is also in line with past studies on TQM. Whilst most empirical studies on TQM were aimed at examining the relationship between TQM practices and organizational performance, particularly quality, some of these studies (Dow et al., 1999; Flynn et al., 1995a; Powell, 1995; Samson and Terziovski, 1999) have gone further to investigate which speci\ufb01c
The use of constructs has played an important role in designing a survey instrument in management research. In any research concerning behavioral elements, there is no device that can precisely produce measurement through a single metric unit, and researchers usually employ two or more measures to gauge a construct or scale (Ahire et al., 1996). Given that developing new constructs or scales of measurement is a complex task, we followed the suggestion made by Tata et al. (1999) to, wherever possible, use pre-tested constructs from past empirical studies to ensure their validity and reliability.
To measure the level of TQM practices in the organi- zations, the framework developed by Samson and Ter- ziovski (1999) was used as a basis and was comp- lemented by several variables derived from other models. The\ufb01rst reason is that the model has been used in the largest study of Australian companies so far con- ducted. Second, as argued by Samson and Terziovski, their model constitutes the criteria of the Malcolm Bald- rige National Quality Award (MBNQA) that has been accepted to articulate TQM practices by several scholars such as Juran (1995); Evans and Lindsay (1999); Ahire et al. (1995), and Dean and Bowen (1994). The MBNQA consists of six criteria of organizational practices and one criterion of organizational performance. Third, and most importantly, we hold that the criteria of the MBNQA are suitable for demonstrating the dichotomy of TQM practices in terms of mechanistic and organic models. The TQM practices embodied in the six criteria of organizational practices are leadership, strategy and planning, customer focus, information and analysis, people management, and process management; the detailed description of each category can be found in Samson and Terziovski (1999).
Leadership and people management are practices that mostly relate to human relations aspects in the organiza- tion and therefore exhibit practices that are more organic. This is because these two constructs incorporate such practices as sharing beliefs and values, providing role models, empowerment, participative management, and creating unity between departments, training and devel- opment, creating a quality work environment, and com- munication. The instrumental roles of these practices\u2014 that re\ufb02ect an organic style\u2014 in predicting innovation performance has been well established in the past empirical studies. Empowerment, for example, should make people having a certain degree of autonomy less
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