‘Why do many leaders of the so-called “quality movement” hate the term? In fact, the man most often identified as the father of total quality management, W Edwards Deming, takes offense at the assumed parentage. “The term is counterproductive,” said Deming, the man who first taught the Japanese statistical quality control. “My work is about a transformation in management and about the profound knowledge needed for the transformation. Total quality stops people from thinking.”

Senge, P (1999) ‘It´s the Learning: The Real Lesson of the Quality Movement’ The Journal for Quality & Participation, November/December.

Kerridge and Kerridge say that:

“Dr. Deming never allowed the term ‘TQM’ to go unchallenged. At a meeting in Scotland, he saw a TQM poster on the wall. “Is this a TQM meeting?” he said. “I wouldn’t have come if I’d known. There is such a thing as guilt by association”. This startled many people, because the parts of the Deming philosophy that have an obvious and immediate appeal deal with the continual improvement of products and processes. These are often described as TQM. But they are just the things that Dr. Deming dismissed as ‘essential but unimportant’ “.

Kerridge, D. and S. Kerridge (1995) ‘Guilty by Association’, British Deming Association internal publication ‘Variation’, January