Deming W. Edwards (1900-1993) is known all over the world as the leading thinker in the management field of quality (Byrne, p. 44). After getting a mathematical physics PhD in the year 1928 from Yale University Deming dedicated the next ten years lecturing and writing books related to statistics, physics and mathematics. In the 1930s, however, Deming familiarized himself with the work of Walter Stewart (Tsutsui, p. 297). Stewart had been evaluating the outcome of applying statistical strategies to the process of manufacturing. Deming developed an interest in applying the statistical mechanisms in non-manufacturing processes such as clerical, management and administrative processes. Deming (1966) impacted the production processes in the United States of America during the World War 2 period and is renowned for his contributions to Japanese industry through the Statistical Process Control (SPC) and the Total Quality Management (TQM) (Tsutsui, p. 296).
In the year 1982 Deming published “Out of the Crisis” and outlined 14 main points which when applied in management would greatly increase the efficiency of the Japanese manufacturing industry. This paper will describe Edward Deming’s contributions to the Quality Movement, the evolution of the movement in the last couple of decades as well as the impact that Deming’s contributions have on human resource management.
2.0.0 Deming’s Contribution to Quality Movement
The main contribution of Deming to the quality management movement was as a result of his collaborative work with Bell Labs in the post war period which resulted in the Statistical Process of Control (SPC). Deming purported that the issues of quality are founded upon two types of variability: The special variability (caused by specific machines of people) and common variability (problems in the whole operation). The management is directly responsible for common variability. Deming then created SPC control charts to be used in the evaluation of variability and its causes. The PDCA cycle developed by Deming, (Plan, Do, Check and Act) places the responsibility of quality on the management in a commercial organization.
Deming came up with the System of Profound Knowledge in which he described the transformations that are necessary in any commercial organization. Deming asserted that “The prevailing style of management must undergo transformation. A system cannot understand itself. The transformation requires a view from outside” (Gitlow, 1987). Deming argued that it is important for all managers to possess the System of Profound Knowledge that is comprised of four main parts namely: the appreciation of the system (this implies an understanding of the sets of procedures by suppliers, consumers and producers), knowledge of variation (differences in quality and utilization of statistical sampling), theory of knowledge (phenomenon of knowledge and the limitations on what can be known) and knowledge of psychology (phenomenon of human nature).
3.0.0 Impacts on Human Resources
The contributions by Deming have been very impactful in the field of human resource particularly due to Deming’s fourteen points outlined in his writing “Out of the Crisis”. The first point that Deming described is the constancy of purpose. Deming was convinced that industries and commercial organizations ought to continually enhance long term planning and objectives as opposed to short time ones, and communicate them effectively to the human resource. In addition to this, the industry has to embrace and adapt to the emergent philosophy of the day owing to the fact that economics and industries are very dynamic (Gitlow, 1987).
Thirdly, Deming insists that the superiority of manufactured products should be emphasized in every point of the manufacturing or production process. Rather that reward business by means of the prices or costs of goods, managements ought to endeavor to create long term associations with its business dealers; such relationships should be based on trust and loyalty. In his fifth point Deming argued that industries and commercial organizations should consistently work towards the improvement of productivity and quality; one way to achieve this is the utilization of on the job training frameworks.
The seventh point described by Deming in “Out of the Crisis” is that the management of any organization is tasked with the responsibility of teaching its human resource leadership skills so as to ensure the improvement in the performance of all tasks in the organization (Tsutsui, p. 296). Rather than manage and administer through instilling fear, the managers in any commercial organization ought to create trust and utilize effective conflict management and resolution strategies so as to keep intradepartmental conflicts at a minimum. As his tenth point Deming argued that all forms of slogans should be eradicated from the work place and the morale and motivation of the human resource to work enhanced rather than workers being harassed by the management (Gitlow, 1987).
Deming also discouraged numerical objectives and work standard quotas. All hurdles or impediments in worker satisfaction should also be removed and the workers should be encouraged to get educated for purposes of self improvement and actualization. Finally Deming (1966) made it clear that all the members of an organization from the top managers to the employee at the bottom of the hierarchy are significant and responsible for any transformations in the commercial organizations aimed at improving quality and productivity.
4.0.0 Evolution of the Quality Movement
The phenomenon of “quality” has transformed since the 1970s to mean much more than simply the superiority of a manufactured product. MIT Sloan Management Review (p. 31) reveals that quality in the present day defines a system of strategies and techniques, ideologies and a recurrent commitment to business superiority engaging all issues and members of a commercial organization. In the 1080s Philip B. Crosby emerged as a quality leader. By the advent of the 21st century the emphasis of quality was enhancement in commercial operations and the fulfillment of consumer requirements.
Although the ideas by Deming were initially adopted by the Japanese and led to improved quality in Japanese products, they were later adopted by America. Deming claimed that his ideas were less successful in the US as in Japan due to the “seven deadly diseases” implied in his 14 points. Despite his demise in 1993, the ideas by Deming as well as his contributions to the quality movement and management remain very relevant. The main reason for the relevance of Deming’s contribution is the fact that these contributions touch on both the soft management (human relations) and the hard management (scientific management).
6.0.0 Work Cited
Byrne, John: Remembering the Godfather of Quality, Business Week, (1994), p. 44
Deming, W. Edwards: Some Theory of Sampling, New York Willey (1966)
Gitlow, Howard, S: The Deming Guide to Quality and Competitive Position, Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice-Hall, (1987)
MIT Sloan Management Review: The Evolution of Quality Management, The New Business of
Innovation, N.p., 31
Tsutsui, M., William: W. Edwards Deming and the origins of Quality Control in Japan, Journal
of Japanese Studies, Vol. 22, No. 2, (1996), pp. 295-325