Efficiency in Public Service through Total Quality Management

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Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is often used to help organizations in the public sector. It seeks to change administrative systems to improve public services, and also to find a way to streamline operations to create a more effective and efficient performance (Park, 1997, n.p). Park (1997) found that the impact of TQM was vague, largely due to the lack of empirical assessments (n.p.). Park’s (1997) study focused on assessing current management and their perspective philosophies to provide a measurement of TQM success, to suggest success or failure factors, and to discover method differences among private sector organizations necessary for success (n.p.). The study found that institutional barriers stood in the way of performance and streamlined operation of TQM. Total Quality Management is an important aspect of many publication organizations.

Total Quality Management can be introduced into academic studies for Master of Public Administration students. Rosenhoover and Kuhn (1996) theorized that TQM had not found its way into college yet because TQM isn’t widely accepted or tested for validity (n.p.). Their findings updated previous conclusions about TQM from other studies.

Total Quality Principles

Benson examined the relationship of Total Quality Management with the public sector, the Manufacturing sector and service organizations, such as hotels and hospitality management. Benson (2008) found that each sector required a different model of TQM to be successful and that TQM was most well suited for the manufacturing sector (n.p.). Training managers was a critical factor, as dealing directly with customers created problems for the public sector and service organization, which is likely a factor in why the manufacturing sector did the best with TQM. Benson (2008) reported that without “proper support from leadership in the organizations, the service company will be unable to effectively harness the benefits of TQM” (n.p.). So the focus of TQW should be on serving customers above all else, including just attaining a solid managerial team to guide employees.

The ARDEC’s primary guiding principle is a team approach to all strategic planning, goal-setting activities, and performance interventions. The center often partners with many other government agencies in order to work together on ideas and achieve the best results for its clients. Further, in an era when military spending is often questioned, ARDEC has established a reputation as a reliable provider and held its firm position in the market. This has also translated into measurable results in levels of customer satisfaction, as evidenced by scoring from annual surveys. The findings from these surveys are also used to influence future business decisions for ARDEC. Employees at ARDEC are allowed to succeed through receipt of specialized training, which also results in employee satisfaction (also measured by annual surveys) with satisfaction levels reaching nearly 90%.

Madsen focused on the convergence of public and private sectors and their approaches to managerial practice, and the issues of introducing TQM to public sectors. Madsen (1995, n.p.) said that public sectors were increasing their reliance on customer-oriented service, and were allocating their resources more frequently to attain the goal. The article approaches different methods for working around bureaucracy to best manage the political systems, and present a model of how best to achieve these important goals.

Talib, Rahman, and Qureshi focused primarily on the impact of TQM in the service sector, including banks. The study reported focused on studying TQW in the context of the banking sector, and the effect of TQM on banks adopting the approach. Like in the other articles, Talib, Rahman and Qureshi (2010) found that successful adoption of TQM depends on factors such as managerial involvement, employee training and development, and catering particularly to the needs of the customers, which the banks monitored through direct customer feedback (n.p.). The service quality monitored in this study includes customer service quality, online service, banking service product quality, and automated service, which include online banking. ATMs and telephone service (Talib, Rahman and Qureshi, 2012, n.p.). The managerial factors the study focused on were understood as the needs of the customers, providing the best product and service and to update themselves to improve the equality of banking services provided.


Since the end of the 1980s, Total Quality Management has been used in the public sector. TQM is an important part of managing a company in the public sector. It has been utilized to improve quality, building teams, and customer service. It has aided many businesses and large cities across the board to improve the satisfaction of their employees, and as a way to achieve their most important goals.


Benson, J. (2008). How different organizations use TQM to ensure customer satisfaction. Yahoo Contributor Network. Retrieved from http://voices.yahoo.com/how-different-organizations-tqm-ensure-customer-1689635.html.

City of Coral Springs. (2014). Coral Springs, Florida. Retrieved from http://www.coralsprings.org.

Iredell-Statesville Schools. (2014). Statesville, North Carolina. Retrieved from http://iss.schoolwires.com.

Madsen, O. N. (1995). Public enterprise and total quality management. Total Quality Management, 6(2), 165-174. Retrieved from http://www.tandfoline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09544129550035503#preview.

Montgomery County Public Schools. (2014). Rockville, MD. Retrieved from www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org.

Park, B. (1997). Total Quality Management (TQM) operation in public organizations: Empirical assessment of critical success factors. ETD collection for University of Nebraska. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAl9720842.

Rosenhoover, D. E., & Kuhn, H. W. (1996). Total Quality Management and the public sector.

Public Administration Quarterly, 19(4). Retrieved from http://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-9863564/total-quality-management-and-the-public-sector.

Talib, F., Rahman, Z., & Qureshi, M. (2012). Impact of total quality management and service quality in the banking sector. Journal of Telecommunications System & Management. Retrieved from http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/2167-0919/2167-0919-1-102.php?aid=5949.

U.S. Army. (2014). Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC). Retrieved from http://www.pica.army.mil.