Dynamics of policy shifts involving three-way trade-offs among product, process, and human resources: Application to TQM

Luis Augusto Jones Borges, Marquette University

Abstract

Organizations are changing. The market place is very dynamic. The decision-making process still contains a core element: to establish priorities. The problem is how to identify the priorities that lead Management to make effective decisions about its operations. Many factors could affect the competition, or be generated by the competition, such as new products, new processes, and workers settlement on the jobs, with empowerment, teams, and unions. Companies need to hedge against changes in the competition, which could lead to a market share loss. Total Quality Management is one decision-making process that companies have used widely in the last decade. The TQM applications produced some good results, but also many failures. Many techniques used are simple, others are not. The difficult ones would demand complex approaches to deal with them. Nonlinear dynamics presents new ways to investigate problems in different disciplines apart from mathematics and physics which were its origins, such as psychology, biochemistry, genetics, and in organizational behavior. Nonlinear dynamics are also known as chaos theory, complexity theory. This work presents an application of nonlinear dynamics to total quality management particularly regarding the prioritizing aspect of the decision-making process. It included a survey of American manufacturing companies, in order to investigate policy shifts involving three-way trade-offs among product, process, and human resources. The comparison between priorities they set five years ago, and current priorities could possibly be chaotic; in that case organizations have an opportunity either (a) to control chaos, or (b) to promote self-organization. It was shown that current levels of plan adoption are nonlinear functions of the previous levels of adoption. Some feedback loops were hypothesized, and verified but these did not include the human resources function. It was also shown that there are complex functions of organizational size, which was defined as the number of employees. The results showed some significance among the three factors in the past, and small significance in the quality and process improvement at the present time.

Recommended Citation

Borges, Luis Augusto Jones, "Dynamics of policy shifts involving three-way trade-offs among product, process, and human resources: Application to TQM" (1997). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9811378.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9811378

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