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Article: Human Resource Management

within Purchasing Management: Its


Relationship to Total Quality
Management Success. Related
articles
Article from:
Journal of Supply Chain Management
Article date:
March 22, 2000
Author:
Carter, Joseph R.; Smeltzer, Larry R.; Narasimhan, Ram
Copyright
The extent to which human resource management (HRM) within purchasing management affects total quality management (TQM)
was empirically tested. Five primary results emerged. First, organizations with more successful TQM programs were more likely to stress formal
performance evaluations of purchasing employees. Second, purchasing employees at successful TQM firms were more involved in key decisionmaking
processes that impact their jobs than their counterparts in less successful TQM firms. Third, purchasing employees in organizations with more successful
TQM programs had a greater level of perceived support through job security and less fear of failure when taking a risk. Fourth, purchasing employees in
more successful TQM firms had more TQM-related training. Fifth, purchasing employees in more successful TQM organizations were more likely to be
rewarded for individual goal attainment than purchasing employees in less successful TQM organizations.

The role of human resource practices in the successful implementation of total quality management programs has been frequently addressed. In an
attempt to develop a working definition for TQM, Miller argues that models should be developed and tested that examine the impact of quality
management in terms of overall organizational performance (Miller 1996). But what organizational processes lead to TQM? More specifically, what effect
does the interaction of human resource management and purchasing management have on total quality? An academic journal, the Journal of Quality
Management, has been dedicated to the role of human resources and quality. However, the interaction of human resource practices with purchasing
management and its impact on total quality have not been thoroughly analyzed. This statement is supported by researchers such as Morrow (1997), who
has made efforts to analyze the relationship of TQM and human resource practices.

Because this interaction has not been addressed, the purpose of this research is to analyze the human resource practices within the purchasing process to
determine their relationship to the success of total quality management programs. First, the literature on the relationship between human resource
practices and TQM is analyzed. Second, as a result of this literature, hypotheses are presented that relate to TQM success and purchasing management.
Third, these hypotheses are tested and their implications are discussed.

HUMAN RESOURCE PRACTICES AND TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT

The argument has been presented that within the context of TQM, human resource management must take a new or nontraditional perspective. The old

). A bona fide TQM program cuts


model of simply refining past practices is not sufficient (Cardy and Dobbins 1996

across the organization and brings with it dramatic changes from


traditional management practices (Hackman and Wageman 1995). These
changes mandate a corresponding change in both the process and the content of HRM (Gibson, Ivancevich, and Donnelly 1991). Accordingly, a major
research thrust within the context of TQM should be to develop a prescriptive model for appropriate

HRM practices. A major assumption of TQM is that people are naturally motivated to do a good job and to improve quality (Bounds and Dobbins 1992).
Thus, it would seem that a prescriptive model is needed for purchasing that fits within the constraints of this assumption.

To begin developing a model for HRM practices that is consistent for purchasing in a TQM initiative, it is necessary to delineate the key HRM practices and
test them within purchasing processes. A review of the literature indicates that five practices should be considered. Each of these practices is listed and a
corresponding hypothesis is stated.

Purchasing Performance Evaluation

No doubt one of the best-known TQM proponents is W. Edwards Deming (1983). An important characteristic of his writings is an argument for the
elimination of formal performance appraisals because they are perceived as contradictory to the purpose of TQM. But many academic HRM researchers
disagree with this perspective. For instance, Carson, Cardy, and Dobbins (1991) as well as Waldman and Kenett (1991) present evidence that formal
performance evaluation systems facilitate improved total quality performance. After a thorough review of the literature and management issues relating to
quality and performance review, Masterson and Taylor (1996) present a model in which they claim that quality and performance review processes
complement each other.

This body of literature, however, seems to omit a critical variable relating to the purchasing process. Specifically, purchasing professionals have a dual-
customer orientation in that they must be concerned with both internal customers and external constituents. Purchasing has a unique role as it must be
concerned with quality in other organizations -- suppliers -- as well as its own (Curkovic and Handfield 1995). This is unique in that if personnel performance
reviews are related to an organization's quality, the performance criteria would need to integrate the quality of another, external organization. To date,
however, no such research evaluates internal personnel's performance against an external agent's quality performance.

The extant literature indicates that personnel performance evaluations would be related to successful quality performance. However, the research has not
explicitly analyzed the performance reviews of purchasing personnel. This leads to the first hypothesis.

Hypothesis One: Organizations that are more successful with their total quality management efforts stress formal personnel performance evaluations to a
greater extent than organizations with less successful TQM programs.

Personnel Involvement in Decisionmaking

A cornerstone of TQM is its emphasis on the role of workers in analyzing current quality problems, measuring their causes and results, and evaluating and
recommending improvements (Walton 1986). As a result, it is generally accepted that the TQM environment fosters employee empowerment (Vogt and
Murrell 1990). A recent study by Giunipero and Vogt (1997) analyzed the role of employee empowerment in the purchasing function. Their findings indicate
that purchasing employees have demonstrated a high degree of adoption of empowerment approaches. However, these researchers did not test the
relationship between purchasing employee empowerment and an organization's success with TQM strategies.

If employee empowerment is a cornerstone of successful TQM, it would seem that purchasing employees who are empowered would be associated with
more successful TQM programs. However, purchasing employee empowerment has not been specifically examined to determine if this relationship holds
true. Furthermore, the argument has been presented that not all workers find the idea of empowerment appealing (Aeppel 1997). Because the relationship
among empowerment, purchasing management, and TQM has not been tested, the following hypothesis is presented.

Hypothesis Two: Organizations that are more successful with their total quality management efforts will have purchasing personnel who exhibit a greater
sense of empowerment than organizations with less successful TQM programs.

Tolerance of Employee Risk …

TQM Tools for Employee Empowerment

Organisation Name

STMicroelectronics

Problem

Employee empowerment is a key feature of ST's corporate culture and figures strongly in its shared values, but without specific tools to put 'values'

into practice, there is the risk that these values will lose their intrinsic value to the company and become redundant.

Solution

STMicroelectronics solved the problem with the following initiatives and tools its TQM and Back End Manufacturing departments developed to increase

competitiveness and efficiency by effectively tapping its employee's resources and involving them as directly as possible in the process of continuous

improvement.

• Knowledge Sharing Initiative: This initiative began in 1999. The challenge was to capture the most valuable knowledge contained in its

employee's informal experience and relationships and make this available to the company as a whole by formalising it and keeping it updated and

relevant. The company uses two tools, Communities of Practice (COPs) and Online Communities (OLCs), to manage this dynamic process. It

documents the activities and results of the communities’ interactions on IT systems that make them easily accessible to others in the company.

Between 1999 and 2003, 5,780 members, 450 facilitators, 80 active communities and 450 communities used the Online Community tool.

• Employee Suggestion Scheme (ESS): ST's Worldwide Back End Manufacturing department launched this scheme in 1992. Employee

suggestions since then have markedly increased from 12,478 suggestions in 1992 to 95,517 suggestions in 2003. The average number of

suggestions submitted per employee increased from 1.9 in 1992 to 7.3 in 2003. Suggestions made by individuals or team workers establish a

mechanism for steady improvements in productivity, service, quality, environment, safety, communication and cost-reduction.

Constraints

• Both initiatives required significant effort and time to inform and involve employees across the company. It can be a challenge to convince

employees of the benefit the tools offer them and the company.

Benefits
• The tools create a strong sense of connection and belonging to a shared company effort and bring people together adding a human

dimension to technical activities.

• Both tools increase the creation and distribution of the company’s intellectual capital, improving company performance and creating

powerful internal channels for problem solving.

• Employees appreciate that their efforts are valued and their opinions and suggestions integrated into company decision making and actions

in positive ways.

• The tools demonstrate that the company is serious about putting values into action and generates a strong sense of trust of TQM and CSR

in the company culture.

Period Of Implementation

Launched in 1992 and 1999

Place Of Implementation

Worldwide

Themes

Skills and Competence Building

Solution Champion

Top management leadership, employee empowerment, job satisfaction,


and customer satisfaction in TQM organizations: an empirical study

,
Isaiah O. Ugboro and Kofi Obeng
School of Business and Economics, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro,
NC 27411, USA
Received 1 June 1996;
revised 1 December 1999;
accepted 1 April 2000
Available online 22 May 2001.

Abstract
Top management leadership and employee empowerment are considered two of the most
important principles of total quality management (TQM) because of their assumed
relationship with customer satisfaction. As a result, many top management leadership and
employee empowerment strategies and practices have been suggested in the management
literature. However, few studies have been done to test this assumed relationship and
determine which of these strategies and practices may be most effective in bringing about
the intended results. This study surveyed organizations that have adopted TQM to
determine the relationship between top management leadership, employees'
empowerment, job satisfaction, and customers' satisfaction. The results reveal positive
correlation between top management leadership, employee empowerment, job
satisfaction, and customer satisfaction. Employee empowerment and improved
levels of job satisfaction are facilitated by top management leadership and
commitment to the TQM goal of customer satisfaction by creating an organizational
climate that emphasizes total quality and customer satisfaction. Effective strategies
for achieving employee empowerment and job satisfaction, together with top
management leadership roles in a TQM environment, are identified and discussed.
Author Keywords: Top management leadership; Employee employment; Customer satisfaction

Article Outline
Case Study of Empowering Civil Servant Secretaries with TQM - Improve Your Business with Total Quality Management (TQM). Also refer to Process Improvement Team,
supervisor, management, improve, performance, U.S. Air Force, Strategic Defense Initiative, SDI, Goverment, Ron Kurtus, School for Champions. Copyright ©
Restrictions

Case Study of Empowering Civil


Servant Secretaries with TQM
by Ron Kurtus (revised 9 January 2007)

Total Quality Management (TQM) is concerned with satisfying the customers. That
task is often not possible unless the workforce is productive and efficient. But
increasing worker effectiveness can often be a problem. For example, in an office
environment, many managers complain about the quality of work they get from their
secretaries. This problem seems even greater among government workers or civil
servants. A method to improve the effectiveness of the workforce by
empowering and allowing them more of a role in improving their processes.
The following material is a case study of an effort made to improve the performance
of civil servant secretaries working for the U.S. Air Force, through the use of Total
Quality Management (TQM) process improvement. Their role in improving their
working conditions and work process was a form of empowerment.

Questions you may have include:

• How was improvement effort started?


• What were meetings to improve like?
• What were the results of improvement efforts?

This lesson will answer those questions. There is a mini-quiz near the end of the
lesson.

Began improvement effort


In 1989, the U.S. Department of Defense issued an edict to reduce costs and
improve the quality of defense projects through the use of Total Quality
Management. This applied to both Air Force personnel and civilians working for the
Air Force.

Process Improvement Teams


One of the suggested methods in the Air Force was to form various Process
Improvement Teams to define a problem area, find its source, and then improve the
process.

Secretary-supervisor team
Since secretary performance was an issue among managers in the Strategic Defense
Initiative (SDI) Programs in the Air Force's Space Division in Los Angeles, California,
we formed a Process Improvement Team to work on the problem.

This team consisted of secretaries and supervisors. Its mission was to try to improve
the various processes involved in the secretaries' jobs. The SDI Programs consisted
of over 300 military and civilian personnel, so there were a substantial number of
civil servant secretaries involved.

This team was to meet for one hour, once a week to achieve the improvement goals.

Met to improve processes


In the first meeting of a group of secretaries and supervisors, we defined the ground
rules for these meetings. It was to take turns, avoid personal criticisms and aim for
improvement of processes for everyone involved.

The team was given an overview of the TQM method for improving a process, which
consists of outlining the steps involved and then trying to eliminate wasteful or
unnecessary actions.

Defining scope of the problem


Next, we had a session to determine the scope of the problem.

The supervisors had complaints about secretaries being slow, inefficient,


unmotivated, and error-prone.
The secretaries felt they were over-worked, underpaid and not appreciated. A bigger
problem was the lack of communication and clear directions as to what they were
supposed to do in many situations.

We listed the various major tasks the secretaries perform, defined the steps they go
through and stated who they interfaced with. Then we planned to brainstorm on how
to remove bottlenecks and improving the process.

Supervisors lose interest


Unfortunately, the number of supervisors dropped off dramatically with each
meeting, until soon none were participating.

This really pointed to the problem that supervisors felt that spending their time
trying to improve the output from secretaries was not as valuable as "putting out the
fires" required in their jobs.

In retrospect, it is probably true that such a process improvement effort was not that
valuable to them. The question is: Should managers have to spend time to better
define jobs and communication issues? Or is that something that Human Resources
and Training should handle?

Worked on solutions
The secretaries and an occasional supervisor met every week to try to improve the
secretary-supervisor process. The biggest problem was to keep it from being a gripe
session and try to propose some valid solutions. This was especially difficult, since
the secretaries had the impression that management really didn't care about their
concerns and the fact that most supervisors were not present to provide their input.

Recommended improvements
The major result of the Process Improvement Team was to recommend a title
change for the job from Secretary to Administrative Assistant. This was justified
because the job had been expanded from simply typing and filing to knowing how to
use word processors and spreadsheets on the computer, as well as other software.

Empowered
Although, it sounded trivial, the secretaries liked the change. It was also a case of
the secretaries having a role in their own improvement. They felt somewhat
empowered in the changes.

Also, a list of recommended improvements concerning attitudes, communications


and method for giving assignments was distributed to all managers and supervisors
in the Program Office. It did give some supervisors pause to think about their
communications, but in general, it is unlikely it really changed anything.

Luncheon with role models


Finally, we had a luncheon for all the secretaries (administrative assistants) to let
them know we were trying to improve their role and working conditions.

There were guest speakers, including a number of women who had started as low-
level secretaries and had worked their way up to well-paying management positions.
This was to inspire the women and show that there was the possibility to advance in
their careers. The meeting ended with a talk from one of the few female Generals in
the Air Force.

I was proud of the luncheon and the euphoria afterwards. I don't know how long it
lasted, though, before reality sunk in and things got back to "normal."

Regret and lesson learned


One regret I have about this experience—and this was a mistake—is that we did not
use any before-and-after measurements of performance and attitudes. I also learned
that changing attitudes is difficult and often just does not work.

Summary
The Air Force's SDI Programs made an effort to improve the performance and
working conditions of their secretaries through the use of a process improvement
team. Their participation in the process was a form of empowerment in their jobs.

The result was mixed and probably not long-term. But it was an effort in the right
direction.

Top management commitment and Empowerment of employees in


TQM implementation
University essay from Högskolan i Borås/Ingenjörshögskolan (IH)

Author: Thaddeus Litie Njie; Linus Teku Fon; Gbolahan Awomodu; [2008-
07-02T09:16:25Z]

Keywords: Total quality management; Employee empowerment; Top management


commitment;

Abstract: Top management commitment and employees empowerment is one of the most important and vital principle
in total quality management, because it is often assumes to have a strong relationship with customer satisfaction. In
TQM implementation top management commitment in creating an organizational climate that empowers
employees is very imperative. Thus, this can be achieved with top management commitment in training
employees and giving employees opportunities to be responsible for the quality of their work. TQM strategy
brings about a turn around in corporate culture as compared to the old traditional system of management in
which the top management simply give orders and the employees merely obey them. In this study we’ll show that
TQM objective of quality improvement and customer satisfaction can be better achieve if the top management are
committed to empower employees to be responsible for the quality of their work and also empowerment in relation to
decision making authority and process. We’ll as well show that empowerment in TQM brings about a flattened
organizational chart where there is a shared responsibility between the managers and the employees. Despite some
arguments put forward by some researchers to criticize employee empowerment, we’ll as well show that employees’
empowerment and improved level of job satisfaction can be facilitated by top management leadership and commitment
to the goal of customer satisfaction in TQM organization.

Empowerment, motivation, training, and TQM program implementation


success.
By Prybutok, Victor

Publication: Industrial Management

Date: Monday, May 1 1995


You are viewing page 1

Training is widely recognized by organizational development experts as an important component in successful planned change efforts. Training and

education are important in preparing an organization for a change, in accomplishing the change itself, and in institutionalizing it as a permanent part

of the organization. The importance of training in the successful implementation of TQM programs is also widely acknowledged

because it provides an opportunity to reform employees about the goals of TQM, and it provides workers with the skills and knowledge needed to

achieve those goals.

In a recent Industrial Management article concerning the successful implementation of TQM programs, Whalen and Rahim emphasized the

importance of training, planning, management commitment, worker empowerment and motivation, as well as measurement, evaluation, and

feedback. The authors point out that "lack of understanding and proper training [... are] a large contributor to worker resistance."

The outcomes of training, however, are not only knowledge and understanding as measured through objective learning outcomes. Educators and

psychologists agree that learning can also have emotional and motivational outcomes, as measured through attitudes toward the learning itself or

toward the change represented by the training. Thus, training can also provide an opportunity to empower and motivate employees, reducing

employee resistance and increasing the chances of TQM success.

In an another recent Industrial Management article concerning TQM program success, and its relative scarcity, Tippett and Waits point out, "TQM

emphasizes improving and motivating a company's most valued asset, its workforce." The authors develop a model that links employee empowerment

with improved motivation. As a result, this directly impacts project management and the ultimate success of the TQM efforts. Yet they acknowledge,

"The presence of important longer-term considerations such as motivation...and empowerment are often not closely monitored."

Worker empowerment is also important for keeping employees satisfied and productive, according to Harry Gaines, another author in the same issue

of Industrial Management. He suggests that a key component of achieving an organizational transformation is to allow employees to get comfortable

with change. He further points out that this comfort level may be the most important result of having employees take charge of their own personal

growth and satisfaction. Moreover, this results in "numerous benefits to the organization. Employees feel they have more control over their careers

and their lives...like being on a more equal footing...with managers, able to share more responsibility, and reap the benefits of improved motivation

and morale among employees."

Methodology

We recently conducted a field study of a massive organizational transformation at fifty-two branches of a $40-billion interstate bank. The branches

recently had been acquired from several small bank companies and were gradually being transformed in terms of the products and services,

procedures and technologies, and TQM programs and processes of the new owner. The focus of the study was on the change over to the corporate-

wide information system (IS) that supported all bank activities. The IS was a critical technological component of the company's TQM program because

it facilitated complete, comprehensive, and accurate customer service from any branch or service center. Operational for more than five years at over
600 branches in five states, this information system was already a proven success in terms of meeting technical and organizational requirements. This

allowed the study to focus directly on the process of change.

A questionnaire was pre-tested approximately two weeks before cutover to the new system. A total of 311 questionnaires were distributed using a

stratified sampling methodology, and 103 usable questionnaires were returned. Five weeks after cutover, the primary research questionnaires were

distributed. The entire population of 512 system users was polled, and 146 usable questionnaires were returned. These response rates were

considered acceptable, and, when adjusted for employee turnover, were 33.5 percent and 30.6 percent, respectively.

We measured both worker behaviors and attitudes, since it has been shown that distinguishing between the behavioral and psychological aspects of

employees improves our understanding of the roles employees play in successful change management processes. In other words, a behavioral-

attitudinal explanation of employee roles in project success has been shown as superior to a behavioral explanation. Therefore, we used a behavioral-

attitudinal explanation. Behaviors are observable; attitudes are not. Both were measured through the self reports of employees completing the

questionnaires. All measures were appropriately validated.

There were two behaviors of interest: training and empowerment. Training simply meant that the employee participated in training. Empowerment

involved allowing their employees to schedule their own training sessions as long as certain deadlines were met for completion of training.

Two attitudes were of interest: motivation and satisfaction. Both of these were measured with attitude scales. Motivation was measured with a need-

based - and therefore motivation-related - involvement scale used in marketing research. Involvement is a measure of the personal importance of the

IS and all that it represents, to the employee. Satisfaction was measured as an employee's overall satisfaction with a new information system.

Satisfaction is a measure of how a worker "feels" about the IS and all that it represents. Satisfaction is a reflection of worker morale. Employee

satisfaction was used as a surrogate for TQM program success since it is an essential ingredient in TQM success: Satisfied workers are more likely to

foster satisfied customers.

Results

First we tested the hypothesized superiority of the behavioral-attitudinal model over the behavioral one. We did this by testing which of the two models

depicted in Figures 1 and 2 fit the data best. Training was the behavior, motivation the attitude, and satisfaction the outcome. A path-analytic approach

was used. The behavioral-attitudinal model explained over 2,000 percent more of the variation in the data and was clearly superior to the model that

attempted to explain employee satisfaction only in terms of their participation in training. This means that in order to understand worker satisfaction,

we must look beyond their behaviors and examine their attitudes, particularly their motivation. This is because motivation "explains" satisfaction,

whereas training does not.

Next, we tested whether the addition of a worker-empowering behavior improved the ability of the behavioral-attitudinal model to explain the data. We

did this by testing which of the two models depicted in Figures 2 and 3 fit the data best. As before, in Figure 2 training was the behavior, motivation the

attitude, and satisfaction the outcome. These variables were also used in testing Figure 3 along with the second behavior of empowerment. The

empowered-behavioral-attitudinal model explained over twice as much of the variation in the data and was clearly superior to the model that

attempted to explain employee motivation and satisfaction only in terms of their participation in training. This means that in order to understand worker
motivation, and thus worker satisfaction, we must look beyond behaviors in general and examine behaviors that empower. This is because

empowerment "explains" motivation, whereas training does not.

Finally, we examined the correlations among these variables. We found that when workers were empowered they were twice as motivated about the

TQM program and twice as satisfied with it - between TQM-training and motivation-about-TQM was .148, while the correlation between empowerment

and motivation-about-TQM was .296. Although not reported in the table, the correlation between empowered-TQM training - calculated as the linear

sum of training and empowerment - and motivation about TQM was only slightly higher at .297 (p [less than or equal to] .0004). In addition, the

correlation between TQM-training and satisfaction-with-TQM was .075, while the correlation between empowered-TQM-training and satisfaction-with-

TQM was .146 (p [less than or equal to] .088).

These findings confirm the relationships depicted in Figure 4, wherein the statistically significant (p [less than or equal to] .01) causal relationships

between variables are shaded. Note that there is no causal relationship depicted in the figure between empowerment and training. Although there is a

significant correlation between these behaviors, there was, in fact, no causation between them. Every worker was trained; some workers also

scheduled their training. It is also interesting to note that, although not used in the model-testing calculations nor reported in Table 1, worker

satisfaction with training was also measured. The correlation between TQM training and satisfaction with training was .096 (p [less than or equal to] .

262), while the correlation between empowerment and satisfaction with training was .236 (p [less than or equal to] .005) - nearly 150 percent larger.

Conclusions and recommendations for managers

Worker empowerment is a critical part of practically every TQM program. This study showed that worker empowerment can also play a critical role in

the successful implementation of a TQM program. When workers were empowered with a very small degree of control over what was essentially an

organizational change process over which they previously had no control, their motivation and satisfaction regarding these changes doubled. Such

improvements in employee motivation and morale could effectively double the chances of overall TQM program success since workers play such an

essential role in the success of TQM programs. This is a very large payoff for a very small cost in reduced management control. Besides, as Whalen

and Rahim point out, such reductions are an essential part of TQM program success. Moreover, it would seem that letting people schedule their own

training could even reduce financial costs.

Empowerment pays off because every worker needs to feel some sense of control over their work experience, and fulfillment of needs is what

motivates people. We are suggesting that by meeting this basic human need for some [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 1 OMITTED] sense of control

during this otherwise "out-of-my-control" change process, employees became more motivated about the TQM program and their morale increased.

Several conclusions are apparent that have profound implications for those who are concerned with the successful development and implementation

of TQM programs in organizations. These include the following:

To understand TQM success at the level of the individual worker, one must consider the psychological dimensions. Clearly both behavioral and

psychological dimensions can be measured. Moreover, it has been shown that distinguishing between these behavioral and psychological aspects of

employees improves our understanding of the role employees play in successful change management processes. This means that managing TQM

change by managing technological or procedural change alone leaves too much unmanaged and, therefore, risks serious adverse consequences.
Worker participation in training, in and of itself, does not directly contribute to TQM program success. It is through its contribution to worker

understanding (not examined here) and/or because of its motivational outcomes (as shown here) that training pays off. It is interesting to note,

however, the inability of worker-went-to-training to explain either worker-motivation or worker satisfaction, and the strength of worker-empowered-

when-training to explain both motivation (directly) and satisfaction (indirectly). This implies that if training investments are to pay off, the entire training

experience must be considered - not just the content, but the entire context.

Even when it is very limited, worker empowerment can have big payoffs. This study clearly shows that giving workers an empowering opportunity,

albeit insignificant in relation to its impact on the overall change process, can have a significant effect on that employee's motivation and satisfaction

and, to some extent, on the overall success of the TQM program and of the organization. This strongly suggests that big dividends can come from a

purposeful search for additional opportunities for worker empowerment. Apparently, these opportunities for meaningful participation need not be

significant in the grand scheme of things in order to provide the organization with big pay-offs. Training is clearly one place to search for such

opportunities, but there are likely many other opportunities to be found before, during, and after TQM program implementation.

Although early in the TQM program implementation process at these newly-acquired branches, this empowerment came relatively late in the overall

life of this TQM program. Most workers will never have the empowering opportunity of contributing to the early, definitional activities of TQM program

development, but almost every employee will be trained. Even those who arrive long after the program is in place.

Although the particular organizational transformation examined in this study did focus on the IS change aspects of the overall TQM change process,

the implications are universal to all aspects of TQM program implementation. In fact, we suspect that these findings and their implications would be

similar for any organizational change.

Moreover, the training was utilized as an early opportunity to empower workers. As a result, it demonstrates that management was serious about the

empowerment principle of TQM. That is likely to result in early employee buy-in of the larger TQM program, and significantly increase the chances of

TQM program success.

For further reading

M.J. Whalen and M.A. Rahim, "Common Barriers to Implementation and Development of a TQM Program," Industrial Management, March/April, 1994.

D.D. Tippett and D.A. Waits, "Project Management and TQM: Why Aren't Project Managers Coming on Board?" Industrial Management,

September/October, 1994.

H. Gaines, "Employees Get Satisfaction, But Only When Properly Motivated," Industrial Management, September/October, 1994.

L.A. Kappelman & E.R. McLean, "Promoting Information System Success: The Respective Roles of User Participation and User Involvement," Journal

of Information Technology Management, v. 111, no. 1, 1992.

L. Zaichowsky, "Measuring The Involvement Construct," Journal of Consumer Research, v. 12, 1985.
Leon A. Kappelmen is an assistant professor in the College of Business Administration at the University of North Texas, Denton, Tex. Victor Prybutok

is the director of the University of North Texas Center for Quality and Productivity and an associate professor of management science in the Business

Computer Information Systems Department.

Methodology

We recently conducted a field study of a massive organizational transformation at fifty-two branches of a $40-billion interstate bank. The branches

recently had been acquired from several small bank companies and were gradually being transformed in terms of the products and services,

procedures and technologies, and TQM programs and processes of the new owner. The focus of the study was on the change over to the corporate-

wide information system (IS) that supported all bank activities. The IS was a critical technological component of the company's TQM program because

it facilitated complete, comprehensive, and accurate customer service from any branch or service center. Operational for more than five years at over

600 branches in five states, this information system was already a proven success in terms of meeting technical and organizational requirements. This

allowed the study to focus directly on the process of change.

A questionnaire was pre-tested approximately two weeks before cutover to the new system. A total of 311 questionnaires were distributed using a

stratified sampling methodology, and 103 usable questionnaires were returned. Five weeks after cutover, the primary research questionnaires were

distributed. The entire population of 512 system users was polled, and 146 usable questionnaires were returned. These response rates were

considered acceptable, and, when adjusted for employee turnover, were 33.5 percent and 30.6 percent, respectively.

We measured both worker behaviors and attitudes, since it has been shown that distinguishing between the behavioral and psychological aspects of

employees improves our understanding of the roles employees play in successful change management processes. In other words, a behavioral-

attitudinal explanation of employee roles in project success has been shown as superior to a behavioral explanation. Therefore, we used a behavioral-

attitudinal explanation. Behaviors are observable; attitudes are not. Both were measured through the self reports of employees completing the

questionnaires. All measures were appropriately validated.

There were two behaviors of interest: training and empowerment. Training simply meant that the employee participated in training. Empowerment

involved allowing their employees to schedule their own training sessions as long as certain deadlines were met for completion of training.

Two attitudes were of interest: motivation and satisfaction. Both of these were measured with attitude scales. Motivation was measured with a need-

based - and therefore motivation-related - involvement scale used in marketing research. Involvement is a measure of the personal importance of the

IS and all that it represents, to the employee. Satisfaction was measured as an employee's overall satisfaction with a new information system.

Satisfaction is a measure of how a worker "feels" about the IS and all that it represents. Satisfaction is a reflection of worker morale. Employee

satisfaction was used as a surrogate for TQM program success since it is an essential ingredient in TQM success: Satisfied workers are more likely to

foster satisfied customers.

Results

First we tested the hypothesized superiority of the behavioral-attitudinal model over the behavioral one. We did this by testing which of the two models

depicted in Figures 1 and 2 fit the data best. Training was the behavior, motivation the attitude, and satisfaction the outcome. A path-analytic approach
was used. The behavioral-attitudinal model explained over 2,000 percent more of the variation in the data and was clearly superior to the model that

attempted to explain employee satisfaction only in terms of their participation in training. This means that in order to understand worker satisfaction,

we must look beyond their behaviors and examine their attitudes, particularly their motivation. This is because motivation "explains" satisfaction,

whereas training does not.

Next, we tested whether the addition of a worker-empowering behavior improved the ability of the behavioral-attitudinal model to explain the data. We

did this by testing which of the two models depicted in Figures 2 and 3 fit the data best. As before, in Figure 2 training was the behavior, motivation the

attitude, and satisfaction the outcome. These variables were also used in testing Figure 3 along with the second behavior of empowerment. The

empowered-behavioral-attitudinal model explained over twice as much of the variation in the data and was clearly superior to the model that

attempted to explain employee motivation and satisfaction only in terms of their participation in training. This means that in order to understand worker

motivation, and thus worker satisfaction, we must look beyond behaviors in general and examine behaviors that empower. This is because

empowerment "explains" motivation, whereas training does not.

Finally, we examined the correlations among these variables. We found that when workers were empowered they were twice as motivated about the

TQM program and twice as satisfied with it - between TQM-training and motivation-about-TQM was .148, while the correlation between empowerment

and motivation-about-TQM was .296. Although not reported in the table, the correlation between empowered-TQM training - calculated as the linear

sum of training and empowerment - and motivation about TQM was only slightly higher at .297 (p [less than or equal to] .0004). In addition, the

correlation between TQM-training and satisfaction-with-TQM was .075, while the correlation between empowered-TQM-training and satisfaction-with-

TQM was .146 (p [less than or equal to] .088).

These findings confirm the relationships depicted in Figure 4, wherein the statistically significant (p [less than or equal to] .01) causal relationships

between variables are shaded. Note that there is no causal relationship depicted in the figure between empowerment and training. Although there is a

significant correlation between these behaviors, there was, in fact, no causation between them. Every worker was trained; some workers also

scheduled their training. It is also interesting to note that, although not used in the model-testing calculations nor reported in Table 1, worker

satisfaction with training was also measured. The correlation between TQM training and satisfaction with training was .096 (p [less than or equal to] .

262), while the correlation between empowerment and satisfaction with training was .236 (p [less than or equal to] .005) - nearly 150 percent larger.

Conclusions and recommendations for managers

Worker empowerment is a critical part of practically every TQM program. This study showed that worker empowerment can also play a critical role in

the successful implementation of a TQM program. When workers were empowered with a very small degree of control over what was essentially an

organizational change process over which they previously had no control, their motivation and satisfaction regarding these changes doubled. Such

improvements in employee motivation and morale could effectively double the chances of overall TQM program success since workers play such an

essential role in the success of TQM programs. This is a very large payoff for a very small cost in reduced management control. Besides, as Whalen

and Rahim point out, such reductions are an essential part of TQM program success. Moreover, it would seem that letting people schedule their own

training could even reduce financial costs.


Empowerment pays off because every worker needs to feel some sense of control over their work experience, and fulfillment of needs is what

motivates people. We are suggesting that by meeting this basic human need for some [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 1 OMITTED] sense of control

during this otherwise "out-of-my-control" change process, employees became more motivated about the TQM program and their morale increased.

Several conclusions are apparent that have profound implications for those who are concerned with the successful development and implementation

of TQM programs in organizations. These include the following:

To understand TQM success at the level of the individual worker, one must consider the psychological dimensions. Clearly both behavioral and

psychological dimensions can be measured. Moreover, it has been shown that distinguishing between these behavioral and psychological aspects of

employees improves our understanding of the role employees play in successful change management processes. This means that managing TQM

change by managing technological or procedural change alone leaves too much unmanaged and, therefore, risks serious adverse consequences.

Worker participation in training, in and of itself, does not directly contribute to TQM program success. It is through its contribution to worker

understanding (not examined here) and/or because of its motivational outcomes (as shown here) that training pays off. It is interesting to note,

however, the inability of worker-went-to-training to explain either worker-motivation or worker satisfaction, and the strength of worker-empowered-

when-training to explain both motivation (directly) and satisfaction (indirectly). This implies that if training investments are to pay off, the entire training

experience must be considered - not just the content, but the entire context.

Even when it is very limited, worker empowerment can have big payoffs. This study clearly shows that giving workers an empowering opportunity,

albeit insignificant in relation to its impact on the overall change process, can have a significant effect on that employee's motivation and satisfaction

and, to some extent, on the overall success of the TQM program and of the organization. This strongly suggests that big dividends can come from a

purposeful search for additional opportunities for worker empowerment. Apparently, these opportunities for meaningful participation need not be

significant in the grand scheme of things in order to provide the organization with big pay-offs. Training is clearly one place to search for such

opportunities, but there are likely many other opportunities to be found before, during, and after TQM program implementation.

Although early in the TQM program implementation process at these newly-acquired branches, this empowerment came relatively late in the overall

life of this TQM program. Most workers will never have the empowering opportunity of contributing to the early, definitional activities of TQM program

development, but almost every employee will be trained. Even those who arrive long after the program is in place.

Although the particular organizational transformation examined in this study did focus on the IS change aspects of the overall TQM change process,

the implications are universal to all aspects of TQM program implementation. In fact, we suspect that these findings and their implications would be

similar for any organizational change.

Moreover, the training was utilized as an early opportunity to empower workers. As a result, it demonstrates that management was serious about the

empowerment principle of TQM. That is likely to result in early employee buy-in of the larger TQM program, and significantly increase the chances of

TQM program success.

For further reading

M.J. Whalen and M.A. Rahim, "Common Barriers to Implementation and Development of a TQM Program," Industrial Management, March/April, 1994.
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