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How to Implement Total Quality Management in Strong Cultures: Alignment or Saturation?

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Essay title: How to Implement Total Quality Management in Strong Cultures: Alignment or Saturation?

How to Implement Total Quality Management in Strong Cultures: Alignment or Saturation?

At the end of this case study, Bernal Flores asks if he should use the alignment strategy or the saturation strategy to implement Total Quality Management (TQM) at the San Juan facility. When the implementation process at Playa Negra and Bocagrande is evaluated, it becomes clear that better choices in implementation and management’s role could have been accomplished. For Bernal, it is a matter of reviewing what his colleagues did and adjust the overall plan. “The smart man learns from his mistakes, but the wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” First thing to look at though is how the culture affects these decisions.

San Juan, like many South American communities, perceives status by the level of respect one receives. Part of that respect and status comes from a person’s position or perceived position in the community. This means for a supervisor to give up authority to subordinates in the decision process is something that most are unwilling to do. This makes them seem weak and possibly diminished in status. Although the TQM process is for the good of all through improved processes and fewer customer complaints, internal and external, few are willing to give up that power. In this culture, position does not always reflect status or influence an individual may have. Take Churrasco who has been around for a long time. He has his opinions and others listen to what he has to say. Though he is not a member of management but only a timekeeper, he still holds considerable influence with the locals. The implementation of TQM must include people like Churrasco from the beginning. Last is the perceived loss of status that comes with change. Take the woman whom the manager wanted to move to a smaller house. A loss of status would have been perceived not only by the woman, but also by the community. As for how these things were kept in mind during the two previous implementations of TQM we must look at the strengths and weakness of the previous plans of implementation.

With each experience comes knowledge and there is a wealth of wealth of knowledge from Playa Negra and Bocagrande. First, Playa Negra saturates the facility with new information, though not said, and probably given in a classroom only setting. That is a lot of information to absorb in a short time. It would have been more prudent to train the supervisors and a select few from the ranks more intensely. Making sure they had the concepts down, let them start the process while on site trainers/facilitators continued with the rest of the population. The select from the ranks would be those who have influence. You find them in any company, the ones that have been there forever and people listen to what they have to say. One such person seems to be Churrasco. The training and cooperation of men like Churrasco can make a big difference when dealing with a culture based on pride/status. They can pressure/encourage people to accept change. Second, it is a concern when the manager Armando makes the comment, “They’re good soldiers and they’ll do as they’re told. However, I could be transferred. The new GM will come in and could throw TQM out if there is no support from the department heads.” This leaves the feeling that one, headquarters is not supporting the initiative properly or Armando does not want to aggravate the supervisors. If headquarters is totally committed then they will make sure the next GM continues the process. In addition, with a little push to show how the process works the supervisors might buy in more readily. Success will breed more support than all the training in the world. As for the cross functional teams, the managers needed to be more involved and just pushed for the start of a team that would look at and address a particular problem. In stead “subordinates were trained, named to cross-functional teams, and we got rolling.” The plural “teams” here is the point of concern. How many teams did they start with? What were they working on? It might have been more prudent to start with a single cross-functional team working on a problem that is simple to some degree but requires technical knowledge from more than one department. This will show how the system can work for them and that it is not just a passing fad. This gives a few of the personnel experience working on a team and can pass it on when assigned to other teams.

Karl the GM at Bocagrande used a more alignment approach but ran into his own problems there. First, the loss of a human resource manager should not have slowed things down that much unless the manager conducted the training him/herself. The council wanted internal facilitators so interruption of training would be kept to a minimum. Internal facilitators would have been the answer to the first

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