A Guide to Quality Management

[Version franšaise]



                        A GUIDE TO QUALITY MANAGEMENT

                      Interdepartmental Quality Network

                                                                 October 1992

Minister of Supply
  and Services Canada 1992

Published for the 
Interdepartmental Quality Network
by the 
Human Resources Development Branch
Treasury Board of Canada

Additional copies of this document may be obtained from members of the
Interdepartmental Quality Network.  A copy has been provided to your
departmental library.

The Human Resources Development Council recognizes and encourages the
efforts of departments and agencies in embracing the principles and
practices of quality management.  These efforts are consistent with and
support those promoted by the Council to improve human resources management
in the Public Service.  This Guide, prepared by the Interdepartmental
Quality Network, is a timely contribution to the organizational renewal
initiatives in the Public Service.

                                    Robert Lafleur
                                    Human Resources
                                    Development Council


This guide presents a brief overview of quality management in the federal
Public Service of Canada.  It has been prepared by the Interdepartmental
Quality Network, an association of representatives from federal departments
and agencies that provides a forum and catalyst for discussion of quality
management principles and practices.

The abbreviation TQM (Total Quality Management) is frequently cited in
literature in reference to the quality movement - particularly in the
private sector. It is recognized, however, that there are many approaches
and labels depicting the philosophy and implementation of quality management
and quality service in both the private and public sectors. A focus on
employee involvement, client satisfaction and continuous quality improvement
is a consistent theme in all such quality approaches. In this guide the
expression "quality management" is used for consistency and is intended, in
a generic sense, to encompass the general thrust of the quality movement in
North America.

There are six sections to this guide.  The first describes the development
of interest in quality management in the Public Service, especially as it
relates to improved service to the public.  The second outlines a basic
understanding of what quality management is and what it involves.  The third
describes each of the elements or operating practices of a quality approach. 
What an organization looks like when quality management is introduced is the
subject in the fourth section.  Next is a presentation of the steps that
should be considered when implementing quality management.  The paper ends
with an outline of readily available sources of information on quality

Quality management offers neither a quick fix nor a panacea.  Rather, it
denotes a flexible, holistic management philosophy that encourages and
recognizes the contribution of every employee in the systematic and
integrated pursuit of continuous improvement and organizational renewal.
Some departments are making significant progress in incorporating the
principles and practices of quality management in their renewal efforts. 
Sharing these experiences continues to be one of the primary benefits of
participation in the Interdepartmental Quality Network. 


THE QUEST FOR QUALITY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.  1

WHAT IS QUALITY MANAGEMENT?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .3

ELEMENTS OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . 5
      Leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . .5
      Client Satisfaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .  . . . .
. . . . 5
      Strategy Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . 6
      Continuous Process Improvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . .6
      Employee Empowerment and Teamwork . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . .6
      Employee Training and Recognition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . 6
      Measurement and Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . .7

A QUALITY ORGANIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .8

QUALITY MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .11

FURTHER INFORMATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .12


Simply stated, quality is what the client says it is -- client focus is
fundamental to the quality movement.  This very practical and down-to-earth
way of looking at quality is having a significant impact on organizational
design and traditional management practices. What is occurring in many
organizations can almost be termed a "quality revolution".

The quality revolution originated in post-Second World War Japan, where
quality management concepts from experts such as Deming and Juran were
closely followed.  Business leaders in Japan realized that a sustained
commitment to product and service quality would be essential for their
rejuvenation and competitiveness in a global market. Accordingly, a quality-
driven renewal process was systematically implemented. The success of
Japan's renewal effort is well known. A focus on quality has gained
world-wide acceptance by leaders in both the private and public sectors as
an important element in the way their organizations conduct business.
Quality management is fast becoming the management philosophy of the 90s. 

In North America, the quality movement is particularly prevalent in the
private sector. Competition for the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award
in the United States and the Canadian Awards for Business Excellence in
Canada is indicative of the expanding interest in quality management.
Similarly, in the public sector, the pursuit of quality is very much in
evidence. Many quality initiatives have been inaugurated or supported by
federal and state or provincial governments in both United States and

In Canada, for example, a major review of the economy in light of the
challenges of global competitiveness has been inaugurated by the federal
government. The "Prosperity Initiative", as it is called, has endorsed
quality as a key strategy of Canadian economic rejuvenation.

Recently, under the chairmanship of Canada, the International Standards
Organization produced a set of guidelines for the management of quality that
would give customers confidence that products and services would meet
specifications without expensive and wasteful rework.  By now, up to
50 per cent of companies in Europe, and increasingly more of their North
American suppliers, are registered under this quality-assurance system.

The quest for quality in the Public Service derives its strength from three
sources.  Public servants are increasingly aware of the expressed needs of
their internal and external clients; managers are eager to conserve
resources and use them wisely; and the public wants and expects quality

A focus on quality and client satisfaction is closely linked to departmental
renewal efforts under way in response to PS2000.  The publication PS2000: 
The Renewal of the Public Service of Canada articulated this linkage as

      The government wants to create a client-oriented Public Service, a
      major change, since the Public Service has not been used to regarding
      Canadians as clients.

      The government wants to transform a small, rigid systems-driven
      culture into one that is flexible and responsive to the needs of the
      public...means a more open, participatory and innovative management

PS2000 makes a series of specific recommendations, many of which are in
accordance with the principles of quality management.  An expanding number
of departments and agencies have been making progress in their respective
quality management initiatives.  In response to this interest, an
Interdepartmental Quality Network was established in 1991 to serve as a
forum and catalyst for discussion, with the aim of fostering quality
management and quality service in the Public Service.

Members of the Interdepartmental Quality Network are committed to the
renewal of the Public Service.  They believe that the philosophy and
principles of quality management are supportive of the objectives of PS2000,
and that quality management provides a framework for achieving these
objectives.  The implementation of quality management has the potential to
generate continued innovation and commitment from the entire work force.  To
that end many quality improvement initiatives are well under way across the
Public Service.


Quality management is a way of doing business that involves everyone in
determining client expectations and in constantly improving processes to
meet those expectations. 

Quality management is founded on three basic principles:

      ■     client satisfaction                 (focus on clients)

      ■     continuous improvement              (focus on processes)

      ■     employee involvement                (focus on employees)

Clients expect that service will be:

      ■     accesssible
      ■     fast
      ■     friendly
      ■     convenient
      ■     cheap and efficient
      ■     one-stop
      ■     reliable

Client satisfaction can only be acquired if the delivery of quality products
and services becomes a consistent business practice and conforms to client
needs and expectations. This requires the desire and commitment of every
employee to actively look for opportunities to improve the way everyday work
is being done. This focus on clients and continuous quality improvement may
seem very basic, but it represents, in many organizations, a major
organizational renewal or paradigm shift in traditional management

Experience in both the private and public sectors has shown that the
involvement of not only all employees, but also of unions and other employee
organizations, has often been a key ingredient of successful quality
management implementation.

A distinguishing feature of quality management is its comprehensive or
"total" aspect - hence the popular abbreviation TQM for Total Quality
Management. Quality itself is not a new concept. The emphasis on "total" is
intended to reinforce the point that quality management is a comprehensive
framework. As a framework it is applicable to all business sectors and work
activities. Too often in the past, quality initiatives had little enduring
impact. Initiatives were isolated, ad hoc or piecemeal approaches
inadequately integrated into business strategies and poorly resourced.

To reiterate, the ultimate test of quality is satisfied clients. Simply
stated, quality is defined by the client. Of course, clients' expectations
increase over time, as do the clients' standards of acceptable quality.
Quality management systematically and regularly inquires of its clients what
they expect in terms of quality and then strives to meet, and even exceed,
those expectations.


A quality approach to management encompasses common elements or operating
practices. Together these elements constitute a strategy or framework for
quality improvement. These elements can be briefly described as follows:

■     leadership
■     client satisfaction
■     strategic planning
■     continuous process improvement
■     employee empowerment and teamwork
■     employee training and recognition
■     measurement and analysis.

A brief overview and description of each of these follows.


Quality service to clients must begin with an organization's senior
management team - leadership by example. Visible leadership from senior
managers is essential to achieve in practice the productivity and service
improvements that a quality approach can bring. Quality management is not
something that can be mandated or simply delegated down the hierarchy;
senior management must be the driving force behind its implementation, and
personally contribute by word and action to its acceptance.  They must
concern themselves with the process of quality management as well as with
the results.  They must value the contribution and achievements of each
employee and provide recognition of continuous progress. They must promote
innovation, risk-taking, open communications, team-building and continuous
learning.  In short, for quality management to happen, senior management
must make it happen. Quality improvement and client satisfaction don't just
happen by chance.  

Client Satisfaction

Understanding the clients, measuring their satisfaction, and adapting work
processes to ensure the delivery of quality products and services is the
heart of quality management. To be able to see quality through the eyes of
the client is essential for an organization to provide good service.  A
variety of means - focus groups, surveys, and meetings with clients are
frequently used to get a clear picture of clients' requirements,
expectations and satisfaction levels. Client satisfaction applies equally to
internal as well as external clients. Well performing organizations seek not
only to meet but to exceed client expectations.

Strategic Planning

Building quality improvement goals, strategies and priorities into work
processes is an essential element of both day-to-day management and long-
term planning.  The focus should be on identifying the essential
characteristics that make the service valuable to clients, the essential
process steps that make good service possible, and ways to better meet
client needs.  When things go wrong despite good planning, action should go
beyond solving the immediate problem to rooting out the cause and preventing
a recurrence by improving the way the work is done.  Opportunities should be
provided for broadly based employee and client involvement in the planning
process.  This can be done within existing organizational structures, or, as
is frequently the case, within a network of quality-improvement teams.  The
planning process should also include representation from unions and other
employee organizations, as widely based support can make quality improvement

Continuous Process Improvement

Client requirements and quality expectations never remain static. The
quality management philosophy emphasizes that the response to evolving
client needs and expectations must be a commitment to continuous
improvement. Quality improvement is an "endless journey". Continuous
attention must be given to ways and means of improving products and
services. Incremental progress must be encouraged and achievements
recognized by management. Continuous improvement is every employee's
responsibility; the spontaneous pursuit of excellence in all processes and
outputs is a positive indicator of the effectiveness of quality management
in an organization. Specific examples of continuous improvement include
enhanced services to clients; reduction in cycle times, errors, defects and
waste; reduced costs; and improved productivity.  As noted below, measuring
improvement is of vital importance to the continuous improvement process.

Employee Empowerment and Teamwork

Empowered employees, pursuing the quest for quality either individually or
in quality improvement teams, provide the creativity and expertise to
energize and sustain process improvement.  Employees must be given the
trust, responsibility, tools and resources to make decisions and changes. 
Quality service requires understanding that employees are an organization's
most valued resource.  Participative management, effective communication,
continuous learning, and shared decision-making exemplify employee
empowerment in action.

Employee Training and Recognition

Effective improvement of service requires effective training, and that
requires a plan and the necessary training resources.  Quality management
recognizes that employees need the training, tools and education to do their
jobs well.  To promote the efficiency produced by internal communications
and participation, employees also need the so-called soft skills associated
with adopting a quality approach - skill in teambuilding, group dynamics,
communications, problem-solving, and consultancy.  Of course, employees at
all levels also need general information on quality management itself,
particularly in the initial phase of implementation.  An important corollary
is the need to recognize employee progress and achievement.  The
reinforcement of positive performance by individuals and teams promotes the
pursuit of excellence and helps to sustain employee motivation and

Measurement and Analysis

Management by fact, rather than by intuition, is essential to sound
decision-making, so systematic data collection and analysis, especially of
work processes, is a key element of service improvement.  Focusing on any
variation in the results of processes helps identify the causes, magnitude,
consequences and potential solutions of such variation.  Reducing variation
means increasing the reliability of the output for the client.  Measurement
and analysis can also be powerful tools in the effort to reduce work that
has to be done over, cycle-time and waste.  Many of the tools of quality
management - including Pareto Analysis, root cause analysis, flow-charting,
brainstorming and client surveys - are certainly not new; what is new is the
rigorous and conscientious application of such tools by the entire work
force in their day-to-day activities.


In order to achieve the hallmark of quality that can only be bestowed by
satisfied clients, many organizations need to change their traditional ways
of doing business.  In today's global economy and world-wide
competitiveness, organizational renewal is synonymous with survival.  The
North American private sector has embraced the quality imperative over the
past five years or so, largely in response to Japan's economic resurgence
derived from over forty years of quality-driven, client-focused business
practices.  Clients world-wide now demand quality products and service. 
Organizations that seek to remain viable, relevant, and competitive must
respond to today's market realities.

North America is not without its success stories in implementing quality
management.  Private sector winners of the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge
National Quality Award (such as IBM, Federal Express, Motorola, etc.) and
the total quality category of the Canadian Awards for Business Excellence
(such as Chrysler, Xerox Canada Ltd, etc.) exemplify the organizational
renewal that can be achieved with a focus on quality service and client
satisfaction. Invariably these organizations attribute their success to the
application of quality management to their business operations.

Quality is equally important to the public sector.  Indeed, many of the
features of quality management - client satisfaction, responsiveness,
employee involvement, continuous learning, teamwork, empowerment,
participative management, etc. - are inherent to the cultural change and
organizational renewal now under way in the Public Service.  Quality
management offers a comprehensive framework for these renewal efforts.  At
the same time, quality management does not limit flexibility or autonomy by
attempting to mandate or prescribe a particular implementation strategy. 
There is no failure-proof recipe accompanying quality management. 
The paradigm shift from traditional management to quality management is
frequently described as a pyramid inversion:

                        "Do what the boss tells you"

                                * (orders) *

                             *    Managers    *

                           *     Supervisors     *

                        *         Employees        *

                     *             Clients             *
                      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
                                Old paradigm
                             (control structure)

                         "Do what the clients need"
                     * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * *

                     *             Clients            *

                         *        Employees        *

                           *     Supervisors    *

                              *   Managers   *
                                * Executive *
                                   *     *
                                New paradigm
                           (supportive structure)

An organization that effectively applies the principles and practices of
quality management will generally undergo a transformation encompassing a
shift in emphasis in some, if not all, of the following features:

Traditional Organization                              Quality Management

Hierarchical structure              vs          Flatter structure

Centralized authority               vs          Decentralized authority

Many layers of management                 vs          Few layers of

Control, fear, compliance                 vs          Openness, trust,

Avoidance of risk-taking                  vs          Encouragement of risk-

Adherence to rules, procedures            vs          Analysis, judgement,

Service to the bureaucracy          vs          Service to the clients

Minimal union involvement                 vs          Active union

Training a costly option                  vs          Training an investment

Preservation of status quo          vs          Pursuit of continuous

Rigid supervision                   vs          Coaching, interdependency,
                                                supporting relationship

Focus on individual                       vs          Focus on teamwork

Management by intuition             vs          Management by fact

Quality prescribed by management    vs          Quality defined by clients

Employees told what to do                 vs          Employees empowered to
                                                      solve problems and
                                                      initiate change


Implementation of quality management requires a substantial commitment of
energy, time, and, particularly in the early phases, resources.  As an
investment in organizational renewal and cultural change, the adoption of
the principles and practices of quality management has to be fully
understood.  Management is, understandably, going to ask the simple
question, "Will the flower in bloom bear any resemblance to the picture on
the seed package?  What are the steps required to bring it to flower?"

Quality management is characterized by its inherent flexibility, and the
steps of its implementation vary according to the needs, mandate, structure
and culture of each organization.  However, there is much that can be
learned from the expanding wealth of experience in quality management.

Quality management implementation in an organization frequently takes into
account the following considerations:

■     Determining organizational readiness to embark on quality management.

■     Generating senior management commitment.

■     Conducting an organizational quality assessment.

■     Formulating a quality management implementation strategy.

■     Focusing attention on organizational communications and activating a
      vision and guiding principles.

■     Deciding on an organization-wide or unit-level  implementation.

■     Determining client needs, expectations and satisfaction with the
      quality of products and services.

■     Using the existing organizational structure to foster quality
      improvement efforts.

■     Establishing a Quality Council and quality improvement teams or their

■     Involving managers, supervisors, employees, unions and other employee

■     Identifying training and other resource requirements.

■     Applying appropriate data collection, analysis and measurement to
      assess quality improvement progress and achievements.


A wealth of experience exists in the application of quality management
principles and practices. Information available from Public Service
colleagues and contacts in quality networks can be of great help, as a
catalyst, an inspiration or a guide. The following sources of information
may be of particular assistance:

Interdepartmental Quality Network

The Interdepartmental Quality Network comprises about 100 representatives
from about 40 federal departments and agencies who are interested in quality
management.  The group meets the first Thursday of every month, under the
chairmanship of Georges Laframboise, Director of Quality Practices at the
Treasury Board Secretariat, who can be reached at (613) 952-3142.

Quebec Regional Interdepartmental Quality Management Network

Within Quebec, the Regional Interdepartmental Quality Management Network is
chaired by Jean Valiquette, Transport Canada, who can be reached at (514)

Manitoba Regional Interdepartmental Quality Management Network

For information on this network, concentrated in Winnipeg, contact the
chairperson Lisa Douwes, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, at (204) 983-

Ontario Regional Interdepartmental Quality Management Network

For information on this network, concentrated in Toronto, contact David
Morley Employment and Immigration Canada at (416) 971-6914.  

HRM Interdepartmental Quality Management Network

The Human Resources Management Interdepartmental Quality Management Network
is chaired by Allan Findlay, Employment and Immigration Canada, who can be
reached at (819) 997-3168.

Supply and Services Canada

Supply and Services Canada is developing a catalogue of suppliers of quality
management services. Contact Sharon Graham at (613) 956-1649.

Canadian Centre for Management Development

The Canadian Centre for Management Development (CCMD) conducts executive
training, research, conferences and seminars relevant to quality management.
For information on CCMD services and publications contact John Dingwall at
(613) 995-6019 or Lyette DorÚ at (613) 997- 4165.

Training and Development Canada

Training and Development Canada conducts training related to quality
management and maintains a resource centre on training and quality
management material. Contact Marie-France Legault at (613) 991-2183.

Consulting and Audit Canada

Consulting and Audit Canada provides consultant services in a wide range of
areas. Contact Gordon Roston at (613) 943-2812.

American Society for Quality Control (ASQC)

Local chapters of the American Society for Quality Control provide access to
a network of quality professionals, publications, conferences, training,
etc. Contact your local chapter or call 1-800-248-1946 for information.

Association for Quality and Participation

For information call your local chapter.

Association QuÚbecoise de la QualitÚ

For information call (514) 866-6696.

Quality Council of British Columbia

For information call (604) 685-9252

Quality Council of Alberta

For information call (403) 471-7006

Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award

For information call the National Institute of Standards and Technology at
(301) 975-2036.

Canada Awards for Business Excellence

For information call (613) 954-4079.