Applying TQM: Organismic or mechanistic
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Management
The application of Total Quality Management (TQM) is examined in five organisations in light of the assumption that its implementation is an ongoing negotiated order rather than an objective reality as often accepted by the literature. Guided by a theoretical framework identified by Spencer ( 1994) and a qualitative methodology, the perceptions of a cross section of managers and employees in these organisations are used to establish the nature of applied TQM in terms of mechanistic and organismic 'mental models' of organisation. The findings indicate that TQM in three of the organisations is being applied in generally organismic ways although in two organisations, strong influences of the mechanistic model were detected. In many cases, elements of both mechanistic and organismic approaches can be found in the same organisation.