Have the reports of TQM’s death been greatly exaggerated? A re-examination of the concept’s historical popularity trajectory
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMadsen, D. Ø. (2020). Have the Reports of TQM’s Death Been Greatly Exaggerated? A Re-Examination of the Concept’s Historical Popularity Trajectory. Administrative Sciences, 10(2), 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci10020032
There is a vast literature on Total Quality Management (TQM), one of the most influential management concepts introduced during the twentieth century. In the TQM literature, there are multiple conflicting views on TQM’s historical popularity trajectory. In the past, commentators have debated whether TQM represents a lasting trend, or instead should be considered a more short-lived management fad or fashion. Since the 1990s, skeptics have speculated about the imminent fall, death, and burial of TQM, and even delivered eulogies. However, others claim that the level of interest has picked back up and that TQM is alive and well. Therefore, this paper attempts to synthesize and reconcile these differing views on the long-term trajectory of TQM and provide an updated picture and status report, taking into account the latest findings and developments in research and practice. The evidence reviewed in this paper suggests that, even though TQM has become much less noticeable in public management discourse compared to the heydays of the 1980s and 1990s, the concept has persisted and even to this day remains widely used by organizations worldwide.