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A Theory of Quality Management Underlying the Deming Management Method

John C. Anderson, Manus Rungtusanatham and Roger G. Schroeder
The Academy of Management Review
Vol. 19, No. 3, Special Issue: "Total Quality" (Jul., 1994), pp. 472-509
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/258936
Page Count: 38
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A Theory of Quality Management Underlying the Deming Management Method
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Abstract

In its current form, the Deming management method contains a prescriptive set of 14 points that serve as guidelines for appropriate organizational behavior and practice regarding quality management. Despite the apparent effect of these 14 points on both the industrial world and the practice of management theory around the world, there is little evidence of the role of the Deming management method in the formalization and advancement of management theory. Although its impact on management practice is clear, neither its theoretical contribution nor its theoretical base has yet to be articulated. Yes, there is a theory of quality management underlying the Deming management method, but at present, this theory is presented in the prescriptive form of these 14 points. We propose and articulate a theory of quality management to describe and explain the effects of adopting the Deming management method. This theory is based on the conceptual synthesis of Deming's writings, literature on the Deming management method, observations of practice, and, more specifically, the results of a Delphi study involving a panel of experts on the Deming management method. We trace the development of this method, position it within the context of theory, describe our theory formulation process, propose and explain an underlying theory of quality management, and offer implications for practice and further research.

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