The ethical dimension of leadership in the programmes of total quality management

Journal of Business Ethics 39 (1-2):59 - 66 (2002)
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Abstract

Total Quality Management (TQM) is an overall management philosophy that includes a set of principles whose application is increasing. In fact, the business world and public institutions, such as hospitals, universities or city councils, are implementing quality programs. However, despite the wide diffusion of TQM, the success rate of this type of initiative is limited and the results, heterogeneous. Academics and professionals are therefore trying to identify the keys that explain the success or failure of this kind of initiative. Different explanations have been given, but most of the literature agrees that managerial commitment, implication and leadership are indispensable elements in a successful implementation of TQM.Nevertheless, a study on the specialised literature shows a terminological confusion between managerial commitment and managerial leadership. Is it the same to have a committed manager in the implementation process as to have a leader of the implementation process? The author of this paper defends the thesis that "commitment" and "leadership" are not synonymous, and states that only managerial leadership is able to promote and sustain profound organisational changes.

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