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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

Section 1) Article Summary

There is period of downsizing or rightsizing that organizations are going though. The other types of reorganization are re-engineering and restructuring and this is with ultimate goal of terminating, layoff or turnover resulting in the reduction of number of members in the staff. There are developments of leaner organization and it is mainly aiming at reducing cost. They are adopting and implementing various forms to reduce and minimize costs, which they aim as for restructuring and improving in costs.

According to study in 1991, there was noting that more than 85% downsized employees in white-collar, it was of the Fortune 1000 firms, and this statistics was 1987 to 1991. Moreover, there was more than 50% downsizing results in 1990. Much of the change driven in the public sector by rationalist model in economic and usual focus is services contracting, selling enterprises parts, corporatizing and deregulating.

Most of the organizations are investing in activities of continuous improvement and adopting total quality management principles. There is use of quality award models so that they will be presenting quality image and reputation as quality assurance and excellence in business. There are various doubts about quality maintenance during downsizing period. Moreover, there are challenges in quality surviving when there is complete removal of quality department including team members.

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

Most of the existing employees will become insecure due to restructuring for possible layoff. The concept of total quality management will be able to assist in the restructuring of business process and most of the people in the management do not realize this. The authors are addressing several issues that are affecting quality due to restructuring. There is investigation on several large public sector and private sector organization and examining was in 1994 by survey of quality management practices in self-assessment.

There were interviews with senior quality managers along with material of relevant documentation. There was organizational re-examination in 1996 with the application of similar techniques of research. All were undergoing restructuring substantial form including restructuring of employees. Some of them implemented divisions removal, outsourcing and corporatizing.

There is little effort in investigating and examining downsizing and total quality management relationship. Most of the participants were quality managers discussing four major ways differentiating: 1) Definite relationship existence showing that downsizing and total quality management compatible absolutely and it will be helping in focusing process keys improvement and prioritizing when there is downsizing. 2) It is showing no relationship in terms of improvement in work process. It will be including eliminating certain jobs leading to create possible total quality

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

management conflicts. There is possibility of handling such conflict by handling by means of planning in human resource and channels of communications. 3) Total quality management is making process of downsizing effectively and there is no full understanding from senior management about the concept of total quality management effectiveness during the process of change. 4) There is lack of total quality management effectiveness and this is causing downsizing. If there is proper application of total quality management, then there will be effective results but management is showing lack of attention to customers and market.

There is no research available about the relationship between downsizing and total quality management and downsizing effects on total quality management. There is existence of total quality management in the organizational process. The author developed research and empirical studies showing the relationship of total quality management and downsizing.

The samples limited but there is information-providing insight that is interesting and important for organizations. There are challenges and issues on maintaining relationship between total quality management and downsizing. It is certain that total quality management can survive and restructuring should maintain it during restructuring. The focus of downsizing should be change in the process bringing more improvements.

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

The factors discussed in article by the authors are support from senior management, quality activities integration and maintenance in the organizational activities, strategic planning and quality integrating and enterprise agreements using. These are importance factors that is influencing quality and during organizational downsizing.

There should be employee views and opinions inline with senior management discussions. This will include proper examining of relationship and changes to make during restructuring. Some of the organizations are reducing the number of employees to function within quality improvement and this overloading employees existing creating ineffective restructuring. They are reducing in the size of quality department or eliminating it from their business function and process. There is loss of important driving forces due to elimination or reduction in quality activities.

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

Section 2) Aims

The aim of article is to provide relationship between downsizing and total quality management along with findings from various organizations. There are interesting insight challenges in total quality management and downsizing as form of restructuring. There is indicating that total quality management will be able to survive during restructuring and providing change process focus. Therefore, it is to provide understanding that there is relationship when there is formation of restructuring and organization should maintain total quality management.

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

Section 3) Article Strengths / Positive Findings

There are strong points that authors are making that when there is restructuring there are possibilities for reduction in the level of quality in the organization. Therefore, they are not restructuring but it is eliminating important part of their business process that will benefit them. The author makes good point that organizations are obtaining awards that will provide good image and reputation on the organization.

Restructuring is affecting improvement level that organization will be aiming at due to reduction in quality. There is elimination of quality in the business function process and that is affecting productivity and desired outcome. Due to restructuring, the business improvement will decline. Most of the organizations are assuming that eliminating quality during restructuring will be reducing their costs but actually, this will reduce their quality and image. There is no success or actual cost reduction by implementing restructuring forms of downsizing in quality department or their job function. Not anything that is dealing with organization excellence should be part of restructuring or downsizing.

Senior management support is essential and this is true because without top management support and involvement in the process of downsizing. No improvement implementation will be possible that is effective and possible difficulties in enforcing changes during restructuring.

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

Section 4)

Article Weaknesses / Negative Findings

The article is missing several points directly linking opportunities and strengths when maintaining total quality management. The readers will not be able to determine exactly reasons for maintaining total quality management and possible failure during restructuring due to elimination of quality. There should be clear outline and information on the benefits, advantages and opportunities for maintaining total quality management along with negative sides.

It is not only award representing good image and reputation of the organization but also other benefits and advantages that organization can obtain reflecting their excellent image in the external environment. They can obtain ISO certification or any other quality certifications to assure that they are possessing excellence.

There is more attention and focus on senior management support but restructuring involves employees initiation and support. The presence of senior management and absence of team support will not have success during downsizing. Therefore, it is about teamwork and contributions to make it effective implementation of restructuring. It is about teamwork and senior management support working together towards successful implementation of restructuring. There are possibilities that important function and areas eliminated during restructuring due to absence of employees involvement. This is because senior management might not be aware

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

absolutely about exact importance of functions that might affect after implementation of restructuring or downsizing.

Section 5)


There are organizations restructuring and implementing reengineering business function that is important and decision taken will be business function incurring costs. During downsizing costs should not be the only factor but collection of improvements in the form of restructuring. The concept of total quality management is bringing absolute improvements in continuous quality and there is no definite benefit by eliminating or downsizing it.

During restructuring, employees and senior management should work together for identifying improvements and downsizing without quality elimination or work process restructuring that is essential for the organization. It is about team rather than senior management making decision without exact cause of eliminating. During downsizing, there should be no affect on quality department or employees because it will reduce amount of excellent work and process.

It is true there is definite relationship between quality and downsizing but the relationship is to maintain the best without affecting continuous improvement. With the help of empirical research and study, there is proving from gathering of information that there is relationship between total quality management and

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

downsizing or restructuring. There is strategic link and connection between quality and strategic planning for the well-being of the organization. The proving will be by adopting quality international certification and motivating growth of quality activities.

Section 6)


Brown, A., and Wiele, T. V. D. (2005). Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations. Benchmarking for Quality Management & Technology, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 1-11. Ireland: MCB University Press.

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Insights into TQM and Downsizing in Large Organizations

Noora Al Shehhi

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