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Discuss the application of William Edward Deming's 1st principle of Quality Management (i.e. create constancy of purpose towards improvement of product and services) through the use of a 21st-century example.
Globalization informed customers and technological innovations dominate the contemporary marketplace. To keep ahead with these challenges, it is important that organizations integrate quality management with their system and keep improving the quality of their products/services. W.E. Deming often considered as the father of 'total quality management' gave a systematic and integrated approach to quality improvement via his 14 principles of quality management. They are transformative in nature. Deming's (1986) first principle says, 'Create constancy of purpose towards improvement of products/services, with the aim to become competitive and stay in business, and to provide jobs' (p. 18). In Brown's (2013) view, though the adoption of new approaches like business excellence, IQM, etc…, directed at organizational processes are becoming common; the flexibility and depth offered by Deming's abstract principles of quality management will remain valuable (p. 592). This essay examines the introduction and application of Deming's first principle of quality management which AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate School of Businesses) adopted at the start of the 21st century.
Introduction of Deming's First principle in AACSB
In consonance with Deming's beliefs, AACSB had to adopt a quality approach to stay in business and remain competitive amid 21st-century market-pressures. AACSB is responsible for giving accreditation to business schools worldwide. The burgeoning of competing for accrediting agencies particularly EQUIS created a strategic need for AACSB to transform its accreditation standards from traditional outcome-based model to continuous quality improvement approach. 'Their mission was to propose value-increasing enhancements to existing re-accreditation standards to make AACSB more relevant to 21st century [needs]' (Miles, Hazeldine, & Munilla, 2004, p. 30). That's how Deming's quality approach made its way in AACBS's revised standards in 2003.
Critically Analyzing Deming's first principle
Bringing a cultural change and a commitment towards continuous improvement of the quality of products/services are the foundations of Deming's first principle of quality management. These foundations rest on three major applications: first, clarity and commitment to organization's goals/missions to all stakeholders; second, an appropriate focus on the future plan and not get restricted by 'problems of today'; and third, the creation of a value-added atmosphere conducive to innovation and continuous quality improvement.
Implementation of Quality Approach: Was it effective?
From re-accreditation to maintenance of accreditation
The biggest challenge for AACSB was to forgo the traditional assumption that every business school has similar missions and resources, and acknowledging that different schools have different goals, resources, and expectations. After these differences were acknowledged, re-accreditation cycles were changed to give these differences considerate attention. Norms were changed from the re-accreditation process after every 10 years to an onsite review of the school's annual activities after every 5 years. Instead of re-accreditation, this puts an emphasis on 'maintenance/improvement' of accreditation via preserving quality. Following three evolutionary changes were brought to AACSB's standard categories to embed the philosophy of continuous quality improvement:
Strategic Management (SM) Standards:
SM standards required schools to define their own mission statements and to specify measurable 'action items' to track the school's progress towards those missions. These action statements will bring theory to practicality. According to Milton (Managing Director of AACSB), it will help business schools to invest their resources rightly in pursuit of their missions (Thompson, 2004, p. 431). Deming's first principle's requirement of 'consistency towards purpose' is fulfilled by achieving SM standards. It also creates a cultural consistency towards the school's missions. Also, SM Standards let a school create its own sets of missions and competition criteria but binds it under one peer-reviewed approach common to all schools. This gives freedom to schools to add value to their own learning quality.
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