An analytical study of modern quality management that includes a comprehensive history of its practice.
According to conventional wisdom, a rapidly shifting technological and commercial cosmos demands a radical new interpretation of fundamental business principles. Author Goski makes the argument that the new global landscape requires “total quality management,” which is a holistic strategy that focuses not only on the product, or even the process that created it, but a company’s entire organization and its culture, including the needs of customers and stakeholders. Bottom-line profitability is no longer considered the endgame. Instead, the overall values of the company are paramount, an approach that necessitates an emphasis on growth and ceaseless learning and improvement. The author emphasizes a broadened management horizon that prioritizes intangible goods like reputation, goodwill, and social capital as principal components of a sustainable approach. Goski marshals a bevy of data-driven studies to substantiate her claims, but the most impressive part of the book is its appraisal of Africa’s economic woes. On this score, she departs from the reigning interpretations and ascribes the continent’s perennial torpor to its “symbolic culture,” which, she says, has stymied innovation, entrepreneurialism, and the emergence of effective leadership. The author provides a remarkably thorough history of quality management, scrupulously researched. However, the book threatens to lose the reader with interminable accounts of academic disputes over theories that seem barely distinguishable. Goski endorses PISLAI (plan-implement-study-learn-adjust-improve) over PDSA (plan-doing-studying-acting). Also, the employment of bloodless academic language sometimes masks what seem to be banal observations. For example: “Bearing in mind that what is known is limited by the unknowable and the unknown, managers should rely on learning rather than knowledge. Effective management requires a shift from sole reliance on traditional management approaches to management by learning.” In other words, no one is omniscient, so everyone should be open-minded. This work is better understood as an expert review of the literature on quality management than a practical guidebook—it’s not clear that the conclusions finally offered will be all that useful to a manager in the field.
An impressive history of quality management with questionable practical applications.