Some maintain that Total Quality Management delegates the determination of quality-to-quality experts rather than to "real" people. TQM claims that quality is a complicated entity that is beyond the average employee to comprehend without specialized training in statistical techniques. It takes what is common sense to the ordinary worker and makes it sound complicated by changing the name and dressing it up with technical language.
Total Quality Management calls for the elimination of performance assessments that rate employees in relation to each other. Critics fear that without performance assessment managers would have too much power over employees and may be use it capriciously. Many managers feel performance assessments let them document employee performance for possible reward, but some employees fear the assessments might be used against them in some disciplinary actions. Performance assessments may give employees with grievances the documentation they need to prove managers are treating them unfairly. Without them, managers could make unfair accusations about an employee’s performance and the employee would not have the documentation to counter the claims.
Some argue that the claims of success by TQM supporters are not supported by facts but by anecdotes and stories. They argue that TQM proponents tell heart-warming stories about how teamwork makes everyone happy, but that they cannot back up their claims with hard data.
Critics maintain that TQM focuses manager attention on internal processes rather than on external results. When this is taken to an extreme, managers may become too preoccupied with internal issues, such as the documentation required by TQM methods, and ignore the shifting perceptions of customers. Managers become so concerned with the process of TQM that they neglect the needs of the customer, which was the initial reason for implementing TQM.