ERIC Number: ED408700
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Using the Lessons of Organizational Change and Previous School Reforms To Predict Innovation Outcomes: Should We Expect more from TQM?
Detert, James R.; Mauriel, John J.
Can Total Quality Management (TQM) improve the performance of school systems in meaningful ways? This paper evaluates the soundness of TQM as an improvement program for education by comparing its philosophy and prescriptions with the mounting theoretical and empirical wisdom on introducing and sustaining large-scale organizational change and more specifically, school reform. Following a brief introduction to the fundamental tenets of TQM, the paradigm is systematically compared with the common themes of the organizational change and school reform literature. Among the strengths noted for TQM as a school-improvement program are its focus on studying and evaluating processes, data-based decision making, systems thinking, and continuous learning and development for all staff. TQM's potential weaknesses (common to many reform efforts) include insufficient attention to the political nature of schooling, the difficulty of defining education's "customers," the difficulty of changing an existing culture, and insufficient time and money. The paper concludes by discussing a number of areas for future theoretical and empirical research on TQM as an educational improvement program. Twelve tables are included. (Contains 52 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A