There are several reasons that I believe were the cause of the American companies left behind in adopting to the quality management principles. One reason that I think is of the utmost importance is already mentioned in the case description. That is American companies did not get out of the traditional thoughts of the management styles. Their primary concerns was not yet the improvement of the conditions that were directly related to the labor’s life who were responsible for carrying out their duties at these companies. American companies were still thinking that by decreasing costs of their operations and trying to find offshore places to carry out the labor-intensive operations related to their production.
In my opinion the American companies also were having a conflicting view of what quality is till the 70’s. The total quality management definition of quality is the satisfaction of customers’ needs above their expectations unlike the traditional definition which is focused on reaching out to customer’s specifications (David L. Goetsch; Stanley B. Davis, 2016, p. 6). If the customers want a cheap product. The companies start to use cheaper raw material and put more stress on their human resource to produce that cheap product. The production costs of the companies might be decreased but the same customers who were interested in a cheaper product, might not be satisfied with the end products. Making a cheaper product might have compromised on the quality of the end product.
Hendricks and Singhal (2001) conducted a research to investigate the expectations of the managerial staff against the investment made on processes that ensure the implementation of quality management principles. They found that managers were skeptical about the companies spending on the welfare of their employees in terms of the return these employees will offer to the company. In my opinion this is what happened with American companies in the 50’s when japan was investing in ensuring quality management principles, American companies were skeptical of it. They did not want to invest money on the welfare of their labor. They thought that paying only wages will work. But on the other hand, Japanese companies were introducing labor welfare programs like health insurance, a feasible working environment and use of technology for labor-intensive processes.
There are many other reasons that can be put down here but due to the score of this paper I think the above discussion is able to provide an overview on the reasons that played a major role in American companies missing out on adopting to the quality management principles.