Relationship of Hard TQM Soft TQM with Organizational Performance

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The first approach conceptualizes TQM as a limited set of technical tools(such as statistical process control and Pareto analysis) while the second approach views TQM as part of broader changes to human resource (HR) practices.
Soft TQM corresponds to human factors like commitment, teamwork and so on which contributes to organizational performance. It plays dual roles. One is to create an environment where seamless diffusion and implementation of hard TQM can take place, and the other is to directly affect organization’s performance in the same way that traditional human resource management (HRM) practices impact organizations. (Ahire et al. 1996).
Hard TQM tools tend to be more profound in companies that adopt strategies to increase stakeholder commitment and incorporate the views of employees in decision-making processes. It views the organization on the whole as a system.
It can be concluded that soft TQM will affect elements of hard TQM, in addition to having a direct impact on performance. In this study Organisational performance is expressed using seven variables used by (Samson and Terziovski, 1999) amongst six variables of soft TQM used by (Dow et al. 1999) and the four elements of hard TQM adopted by (Power et al, 2001).
1. A direct effect of soft TQM on organization’s performance: Three (executive commitment, open organization and employee empowerment) of 12 soft TQM factors correlate to corporate performance (Powel, 1995). Again 3 (workforce commitment, shared vision and customer locus) of 9 factors influence corporate performance (Dow et, 1999).
2. An indirect effect of soft TQM on
organization’s performance:
Here soft TQM influences hard TQM for performance. A blend is required as attention to process, product and information technology may yield quality improvements, but ultimately it is ‘people that make quality happen’ (Bowen, 1992). Executives appear to understand that employee motivation, education and corporate culture all have an important role to play in efforts to improve quality, even if they are uncertain about how HR-based quality improvements can be implemented in practice (Bowen amp. Hart).
3. The direct effect of Hard TQM on corporate performance: Hard TQM contemplates in stressing continuous improvement and treat the organization as total systems (Sitkin et al, 1994). For instance, product and process benchmarking has resulted in optimal product design and process cost reduction at companies such as Ford, Motorola, Xerox, and General Motors
A total of 3000 Australian manufacturing sites were surveyed of which 962 sites responded, yielding a response rate of 32 percent. A telephone survey of 108 non-respondents was conducted after the main survey, and no evidence of non-response bias was found (AMC, 1994). Since the survey instrument consisted of a large number of questions (a total of 260), the results of the survey were also tested for respondent fatigue.