Disadvantages of TQM
Some Total Quality Management detractors have noted that long-range plans advocated by TQM may limit an organization’s flexibility and agility. TQM teaches that a long-term plan is required to achieve a complete quality transformation, but a long-term plan that has been pursued for a long period may become an end unto itself. Completion of the plan becomes the ultimate goal. Objectives the plan was designed to accomplish are forgotten; achieving the transformation becomes the most important objective. Instead of maintaining continuous change, the organization may reach a stable point and stagnate. To produce continuously high quality services, an organization must react quickly to changes in the community and not be restricted by its management style.
TQM detractors also argue that although Total Quality Management calls for organizational change, it does not demand radical organizational reform. Real quality improvement requires radical structural change, such as flattening organizational structures. It requires liberation of employees from stifling control systems and the tyranny of functionalism, both of which stifle teamwork.
Total Quality Management calls for the elimination of the goals and objectives required by Management-by-Objectives. Critics of TQM claim that this may negatively affect motivation. They claim that having established production goals gives employees increasingly higher goals to reach, which motivates them to find new ways to reach the goals. When there are no established production goals, some employees will only produce the minimum required to keep their job.