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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Tito Conti

After the Second World War, important initiatives were taken to avoid the risk of mankind self-destruction. The creation of the United Nations generated high hopes…

Abstract

Purpose

After the Second World War, important initiatives were taken to avoid the risk of mankind self-destruction. The creation of the United Nations generated high hopes. Unfortunately, after 70 years marked by the great technological progress, humanity seems to be ready to repeat the same mistakes; with the aggravating circumstance that the technological advances will greatly increase the risks of self-destruction. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to generate awareness and then contrast such risks, by going to the deep roots of the problems, which are cultural and ethics, and by analyzing them from the systems thinking and quality thinking perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is the synthesis of many years of experience in managing as well as advising large, complex organizations and parallel research on the viability of – and conditions for – merging systems thinking and quality thinking. In front of the evidence that systems’ sustainable development can be reached only through internal cooperation, the above research expanded to the study of natural evolution, which apparently can give a lead to direct man-driven evolution toward a healthy worldwide system.

Findings

First, with the increase of the organizational size, analytical thinking must give way to systems thinking. Education in systems thinking is then becoming the main critical factor. Second, world sustainable development is challenged by an uncontrolled man-driven evolution, where technology is often used for violence and wars (win-lose relations). Ethics, which is part of quality since it aims at win-win relations, should be at the foundations of sustainable development, where cooperation should be one of the sustaining pillars.

Originality/value

What the author wrote in the last 12 years on the above subjects, culminating in this last paper, has broken new ground in the field of managing for quality, bringing it to the highest levels of human organizations. As far as value is concerned, what kind of value can be considered higher than taking care of the future of humanity – and the whole ecosystem?

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1999

Tito Conti

Standards play an increasingly important role in the development of the “global village”, both from the economic and the quality of life perspective. However, development…

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1345

Abstract

Standards play an increasingly important role in the development of the “global village”, both from the economic and the quality of life perspective. However, development of standards should always be in tune with the needs of a free economy, whose main engine is differentiation. Standardization and differentiation can be complementary, but only to the extent that a correct balance between the two is kept. The balance becomes particularly delicate when standards move from product‐related issues to organization‐related issues, as is the case of quality system standards. Starting from a brief review of ISO 9000 and its role in the past decade, then moving to Vision 2000, the paper expresses reservations about the benefits and opportunity for standards to enter the organizational improvement area. In a situation of continuous change and global competition, differentiation seems to be the name of the game, more than standardization. Instead, a kind of “standards syndrome” seems to take place, where standards are expected to legitimize managers’ choices.

Details

The TQM Magazine, vol. 11 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-478X

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2011

Tito Conti

This paper aims at contributing to a better knowledge of organizations' nature, physiology and pathologies, in order to improve their fitness for purpose. The mechanistic…

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1693

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims at contributing to a better knowledge of organizations' nature, physiology and pathologies, in order to improve their fitness for purpose. The mechanistic view of organizations has in fact delayed that. Systems thinking is needed to bring average organizational fitness to the levels needed by a global and closely interconnected world.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a synthesis of the author's experience as manager, consultant and teacher. By thinking back to the last 30 years of history of managing for quality and excellence, failures and successes, the causes of delay and even regression are explored. Borrowing from the systems view of organizations, a parallel is made between history of human beings' and organizations' healthcare.

Findings

Knowledge of the factors that make organizations fit for their purpose is still scarce, absolutely unfit for the challenges of an uncertain future. That is particularly true for those large organizations that govern globalization. Risks for humanity increase. It is no longer time to fiddle with management fads or panaceas for all diseases. It is time to use the modern approaches to complexity that systems thinking offers, overcoming the resistance of traditional thinking. Analytical thinking alone, in fact, may lead to squeeze the planet resources dry, neglecting the risks of long‐term negative impacts.

Originality/value

Conformism in managing for quality is still high. Rare are the papers that discuss the evolution of TQM/excellence models towards systemic models, where the system is socio‐cultural and the model covers doing the right things, not just doing things right.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2013

Tito Conti

The protagonists of the “quality revolution” of the 1980s had a dream: to permeate each and all organizational activities – the strategic included – with the new “total…

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1323

Abstract

Purpose

The protagonists of the “quality revolution” of the 1980s had a dream: to permeate each and all organizational activities – the strategic included – with the new “total quality management (TQM) culture.” The name TQM was in fact conceived to express the pervasiveness of the concept. In reality, progress took mainly place in the area of “doing things right,” a mostly technical area, specifically concerned with defect reduction. The purpose of this paper is to explore TQM possible contributions to the eminently strategic area of “doing the right things”: that is, making the correct choices in a continuously changing, turbulent environment.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper claims that TQM, to be significant, should prove to be able to contribute to “doing the right things” in large organizations.

Findings

To face the challenges of world globalization a broader view of management, and within it of managing for quality (that is, managing for customer/stakeholder value) is needed. The cultural basis for such changes should be education in systems thinking.

Originality/value

This paper looks at the way in which quality-related concepts have evolved, will evolve and should evolve to face the challenges of globalization.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 25 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2010

Tito Conti

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the ongoing developments of quality management systems theories and to summarize results of experiments that the author has been…

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6404

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the ongoing developments of quality management systems theories and to summarize results of experiments that the author has been conducting since 2003 on convergence of quality thinking and systems thinking and the value generation process in the systems perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discusses the ongoing developments of quality management systems theories and summarizes results of experiments on convergence of quality thinking and systems thinking and the value generation process in the systems perspective.

Findings

The first finding is the real incorporation of the modern systems view into quality management; the second is the key role of joint quality and systems thinking in value generation. Techniques and technology are absolutely necessary, but they will not produce the necessary changes. Among the competitive factors, they are no longer the most critical. The fragmented view of management is not just a quality management problem, but also a general management problem. At the roots of the problem of approach and tool fragmentation there is a strategic fragmentation, the lack of systemic perspective, silos‐type organizations, excessive specialization.

Originality/value

The paper consequently focuses on the value creation process and on how to revisit managing for quality in the systems perspective.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 19 April 2013

Tito Conti

Good quality planning methodologies were developed in the last decades of the twentieth century that are still widely used. But competition is getting harsher and harsher…

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3431

Abstract

Purpose

Good quality planning methodologies were developed in the last decades of the twentieth century that are still widely used. But competition is getting harsher and harsher and the search for more effective approaches to planning for competitive customer value can never stop. The purpose of this paper is to offer an alternative method for planning for customer value that is the result of his long experience with large organizations, both in manufacturing and service.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper summarizes the approaches followed and the results reached. It also rationalizes such experience with the support of figures. Such process may require mental efforts to overcome conventional thinking in managing for quality, which should be accepted. A preliminary condition is understanding the author's quality vision, which quite often is at odds with traditional visions. For that reason the first part of the paper is dedicated to the illustration of the quality‐related concepts that are at the basis of the following discussions. Such concepts are based on the systems view of the organization, on a definition of quality as both doing the right things and doing things right, on accepting that the word quality is neutral and acquires a positive or negative meaning only when associated with the concept of value. The above concepts are not accepted by all quality experts today.

Findings

The following are the most significant conclusions: the “customer‐perceived value vs, performance” curves look rather different from those that are mostly used today; consequently, the “quality life‐cycle” presents some significant differences if compared with the Kano Model; extensive use should be made of time‐related curves, which happen to be the most significant in relation to planning; proximity to users (not just own customers) is more important than questionnaires in relation to critical planning decision; both satisfiers and dissatisfiers are important to understand customer/stakeholder perception; the proposed combination algorithm for the two may look conceptually difficult to those who look for simple solutions; but sometimes difficulties look unavoidable.

Originality/value

The paper is original inasmuch as it challenges conventional wisdom in this area. But, if the experience of the author finds confirmation in a wider context, it can be of significant value for those companies that operate in high competitive sectors. It can also stimulate organizational innovation in the fundamental area of value creation.

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1999

Tito Conti

In an independent view of the evolution of ISO 9000 and the quality award models, Tito Conti, one of the chief architects of the European model for business excellence…

Abstract

In an independent view of the evolution of ISO 9000 and the quality award models, Tito Conti, one of the chief architects of the European model for business excellence, warns of the the dangers of a developing hegemony.

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1991

Tito Conti

First of a two‐part series. Examines current schemes for self‐assessment and their limitations. Proposes a new method of measuring organisational excellence and continous…

Abstract

First of a two‐part series. Examines current schemes for self‐assessment and their limitations. Proposes a new method of measuring organisational excellence and continous improvement. Suggests what is needed is an “assessment model” of the company′s quality goals and results, created and analysed through surveys and measurement.

Details

The TQM Magazine, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-478X

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2007

Tito A. Conti

Through the analysis of a crucial period of the history of quality in Europe – the creation of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and the development of…

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7604

Abstract

Purpose

Through the analysis of a crucial period of the history of quality in Europe – the creation of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and the development of the European Quality Award – the author, who was a protagonist of the narrated events, aims to reveal some historical aspects that are generally ignored and that should explain some of the peculiarities of the award model. Taking stock of the present situation, some directions taken in the TQM/Excellence Model's development and use are questioned, and the author reasserts his views on the whole matter.

Design/methodology/approach

For the historical part the author has based his research on public documents, EFQM Newsletters and internal documentation and personal correspondence with the protagonists of the events that are mentioned. The author will be glad to share with students who want to conduct research in this area his personal records. The following discussion is mostly based on the author's findings and experiences, compared with the most common practices.

Findings

Since the purpose of the paper is to tell a story which the author was a protagonist of, to derive from it some lessons that are important for the future, the first part of the paper is dedicated to narrating those aspect of the European Quality Award Model's development that are crucial to understanding why such a model, initially developed following the Malcolm Baldrige Award scheme, suddenly changed dramatically. In this part the author relates some personal anecdotes to make the story more alive and complete. The second part of the paper presents the author's views on organisational improvement models and self‐assessment and explains why he believes that the present course should be changed, if the risk of negative impacts on quality development is to be avoided.

Originality/value

The paper tells a story of an out of the box approach that strongly affected the development of the European Quality Award Model, now the EFQM Excellence Model; and explains why, in the author's view, further innovation is needed in quality management, if we really want to pursue continuous organisational improvement.

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1991

Tito Conti

Second of a two‐part series. Suggests that external, third‐party assessment schemes no longer meet the needs of total quality organizations and that what is needed is a…

Abstract

Second of a two‐part series. Suggests that external, third‐party assessment schemes no longer meet the needs of total quality organizations and that what is needed is a self‐assessment process, based on a new reference model, capable of unifying an organization′s diverse assessment criteria regarding total quality. Highlights the “quality sub‐system” as the most important component in self‐assessment and examines a possible model in detail, including its relationship to the organizational system model. Concludes by summarizing ways in which external assessment can be improved significantly through incorporating these self‐assessment methods.

Details

The TQM Magazine, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-478X

Keywords

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