Total Quality Management: Is It a Fad, Fashion, or Fit?

This paper examines the fad, fashion, and fit theory using the case of total quality management (TQM). The examination has been undertaken using a range of research studies, commencing in the late 1980s. Three stages have been identified in the evolution by which a fad can become a fit with normal management practice. In stage 1, the fad must be clearly defined and measurable. In terms of TQM, the clarification was the ISO 9000 series and quality award models. In Stage 2 is the move to a fashion, which comes about when major pressures toward widespread adoption of the fad are present. In Stage 3 is the move either from fad to fit or the move from fashion to fit. It is also pointed out that, should such a move take place from fad or fashion to fit, then chances are that organizational performance will also be perceived to have been effected in a positive way.

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American Society for Quality