A systems approach to TQM for integrating quality and environmental management.
Von Solms, Sebastian Heinrich.
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Total Quality Management (TQM) is both enthusiastically praised and severely criticised in the management literature. The current study discusses various problems related to TQM and suggests a model for TQM to attempt to alleviate these problems. This model integrates quality and environmental management basing the system on a combination of the ISO 9002 and ISO 14001 standards. A number of perspectives, which are consequences of the model, are discussed, including integration, participation and multi-criteria decision making. Different strands of Systems Theory are presented as providing insights that should assist in successfully addressing these perspectives. General Systems Theory is described as providing perspectives regarding integration and Soft Systems Thinking as providing perspectives regarding participation. Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) methodologies are not normally seen as part of Systems Thinking but the compatibility of these two approaches is argued and the utility for TQM of the link between MCDM and Systems Thinking indicated. Critical Systems Thinking is suggested as providing the theoretical perspectives to define a multimethodology framework linking three methodologies, Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), Strategic Assumptions Surfacing and Testing (SAST) and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). This framework is suggested as providing the diversity of perspectives needed to promote participation in the process and to give a sense of direction in the multifaceted management intervention on the problem of progressing toward a combined ISO 9002114001 system. T!Us framework was implemented at Mondi Kraft, Richards-Bay Mill via three workshops following an Action Research based process. This process is described and the data emanating from the workshops analysed and discussed. The process succeeded in the objective of promoting organisational learning on two levels. First, the introduction of the three new methodologies increased management knowledge by providing extra problem solving methods. Second, the issues and models discussed during the workshops heightened management awareness of quality and environmental matters across a wide front and, through the AHP ratings, management was able to prioritise these issues for later action. A number of recommendations and items for possible further research flowed from this study and are discussed.