Implementation of TQM Through Employee Empowerment and Management Commitment: A Case Study of Toyota

1.0  Introduction:

The present research would devise effective ways to implement Total Quality Management (TQM) through employee empowerment and managements’ commitment with an aim to improve product and service quality of Toyota.

1.1 Research aims:

The aim of the present study is to determine the level of employee empowerment and the participation of managers in the implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) in Toyota.

1.2 Research Objectives:

The research objectives of this present study are:

  • To identify existing problems and determine the current level of employee empowerment and managers’ commitment in Toyota.
  • To determine the role of employee empowerment and managements’ commitment for successful implementation of TQM.
  • To identify ways to develop effective employee empowerment and managements’ commitment.

1.3 Research questions:

  • How can TQM help in achieving increased productivity and reduced cost?
  • How employees’ empowerment can help in effective implementation of TQM?
  • How managers’ involvement can help in effective implementation of TQM?

2.0 Background and context:

Ability to maintain a sustained competitive advantage over the rivals has become the key to success in a modern business environment that is dynamic in nature. Total Quality Management (TQM), in this context, can increase the ability of the organisations to offer a better quality of products and services to the customers on a consistent basis ( 2014). Improved quality of products and services would lead to increased customer satisfaction that in turn would ensure brand loyalty among the customers. However, the implementation of TQM is impossible without the involvement of both employees and managers. In addition, empowerment of employees is a vital factor in this regard.

Toyota, an international manufacturer of cars, was founded by Saichi Toyoda in 1933. Though General Motors and Ford was operative in Japan this could not stop Toyota. Toyota Motor Corporation was started on August 28, 1937 (Toyota, 3. 2014). Natural resources being scarce in Japan led the company in developing vehicles that are fuel efficient. Currently, the company maintains a share of 9.8 % in the international automobile market. In addition, the company currently produces more than five million cars every year and has a manpower capacity of 320000 worldwide. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of cars and operates across Asia, Europe, Africa, and America. Toyota, being a highly capital intensive company has its manufacturing capacities across various countries. Some of the rivals of this company in international markets are Audi, Mercedes, and BMW. As the company operates in luxury car segment hence it is essential to consistently increase the quality of its products and services to the elite customers.

The company is in a capital intensive industry experiences a high amount of wastages from its production process. In addition, the company lacks proper involvement of lower and middle-level employees in its decision-making process. These two areas can be regarded as the scope of improvement for Toyota. These two issues, if not controlled effectively can lead to a loss in sustainable competitive advantage. However, if these issues are addressed then it can lead to an enhanced level of performance in terms of production, operations, and business. TQM is a popular management tool that can help Toyota to overcome these problems (Allen and Brady, 2009). The company need to aim at reducing the total cost of sales. This would allow the company to add innovations to its existing products which can further lead to increase in profit margin and increase in sales. However, commitment from the top management is vital for this purpose.

2.1 Rationale of the study:

The present research would identify various ways to engage both managers and employees in working towards the achievement of organisational goals in the long-term. In addition, the research would ensure to maximise the benefit from TQM.

3.0 Literature review:

In the view of Chenhall (2007), Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach that focuses on providing a better quality of products and services to the consumers through the active involvement of all the employees and managers of an organisation. Two essential aspects of this approach are the participation of all the members of an enterprise and continuous improvement in the quality of products and services. In the view of Arumugam et al. (2008), TQM aims to satisfy all the stakeholders of an organisation, rather than only customers. Involvement of all the members focus on continuous improvement, process approach, decisions based on facts and figures, unity and harmonisation of organisational members, commitment from top management are some of the essentials for implementation of TQM (Antony et al. 2006).

In the view of Douglas and Judge (2009), implementation of TQM helps an organisation to increase competitive advantage, create better work culture, and reduce the level of job dissatisfaction, the satisfaction of all stakeholders. However, Beer (2007) argued that TQM is more suitable for organisations that can benefit from the large scale of operations as the benefits from TQM are derived gradually.

In the opinion of Hendricks and Singhal (2006), the most crucial factor for the success of TQM is the empowerment of employees and commitment from managers. The employee involvement can be achieved only by empowering employees in taking decisions regarding individual work. Employees need to have enough autonomy to take individual work related decisions. This encourages teamwork, employee loyalty and results in an increase in productivity (Zhou and George, 2009). In contrast, Zairi (2010) argued that grant of excessive autonomy to individual employees can raise the level of wastages and error committed in work.

Samat et al. (2006) postulate that empowerment of employees is incomplete without a real commitment from managers. Research suggests that very often, the commitment from the managers lack practical applications. This reduces the effectiveness of the TQM. In the opinion of Chenhall (2007), identifying existing issues, identifying the current level of employee empowerment and managers’ commitment, devising strategies to implement TQM, evaluation of the implementation, and taking corrective measures if required, are the major steps for the successful implementation of TQM in any organisation. TQM being a continuous process requires commitment from all levels of managers. However, Douglas and Judge (2009), suggested that it is the responsibility of the managers to ensure that the empowerment granted to employees are not misused.

4.0 Research design and methodology:

This section would highlight the various aspects of research design and methodology that the researcher would adopt to conduct the research work.

4.1 Research philosophy

The researcher would follow a positivism approach that would enable the researcher to involve to the extent to which the effectiveness of TQM is determined by the engagement of employees and managers.

4.2 Research design

The present research is concerned with determining the role of employees and managers in the implementation of the Total Quality Management (TQM) rather than developing new theories. The deductive approach would allow the researcher to examine the existing principles and theories against the findings of the research. In addition, modifications can be made to the existing theories, if required.

4.3 Data collection method

The researcher would collect data only from primary sources as it would facilitate direct contact with the managers and employees. Though the collection of primary data involves higher cost and time as compared to secondary data collected from primary sources would be more relevant to the current research.

4.4 Sample size:

Data would be collected from 3 – 4 managers and 50 – 60 employees of Toyota with the help of questionnaires as this would increase the authenticity of the proposed research.

4.5 Sampling method:

This proposed research would apply simple random probability sample method for the purpose of interpreting and analysing the collected data. The research would collect the sample in a way that the entire population is represented by the sample. The different probabilities would be compared to develop better methods for effective implementation of TQM in Toyota.

4.6 Research limitations:

In spite of the several benefits offered by primary data, the source suffers from certain drawbacks. A sample of only 50-60 employees and 3-4 managers might not reflect the entire picture concerning the operations of a multinational company like Toyota.

4.7 Ethical issues:

The researcher would ensure that the feedbacks and data collected directly from the managers and employees of Toyota are kept confidential and used only for the purpose of this research work. However, there are chances that employees might not give honest feedbacks and hence the researcher would convince the employees that the feedbacks would not be shared with the managers and other employees. This would help to generate more realistic feedback from the concerned.

5.0 Conclusion:

Top management of renowned companies has accepted the fact that quality management is crucial to the success of the organisation. Though the cost of implementing quality management can be high in the initial stage and that the benefit derived from it might be visible in the initial years but this is offset by marginal increase in the productivity and the effect is observed in the long-run through minimisation of wastages, enhancement in productivity, reduction in marginal cost of production, and increased profits. However, engagement of employees and managers across the organisation is inevitable for the success of TQM.

6.0 Timetable:

Research Activities 1st Week 2nd Week 3rd Week 4th Week 5th Week 6th Week
Reviewing literature
Determining research methods
Designing the survey instruments
Conducting data collection process from the chosen sample
Analysing the data and derive conclusion
Proposition of recommendations




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