Reflective paper on Total Quality Management, Ethics, and Social Responsibility:

  • Discuss a framework for business ethics
  • Discuss how ethics can improve business success.

    The management of an organization is one of the most critical areas that are related to the success of an organization. In particular, there are three topics which are essential to the management of an organization: Total Quality Management, Ethics, and Social Responsibility. The way the organization is managed has much to do with an organization’s success and culture because it can influence the day to day operations. Also, the ethics of the organization is very important because they impact the organization’s decision-making process. All of these things can directly influence the success of an organization for the better if they are focused on.            Top Quality Management is an approach to management that focuses on long-term success through customer satisfaction. When organizations focus on the long-term growth they tend to look more at the bigger picture, rather than immediate needs which help get all employee’s on the same page. In organizations that use TQM, all employees have a role in the decision-making process regarding any processes, products, or services of the organization they work for (ASQ, n.d.). This can provide many benefits including the feeling of involvement from employees, as they can see or feel as if they are actually making an impact within the organization.

    The biggest part of TQM is focusing on the customers. The customers are the people who buy the product or service than an organization has to offer, so they are essentially the people who determine if the product or service is good or not. This is important, because the other things an organization focuses on like training processes, upgrading materials, or day-to-day processes, still do not matter as much because the customer decides whether all of those other things were even worth it (ASQ, n.d.). Pleasing the customer is the number one priority of TQM, even though it should be a main priority of every organization.

    Other benefits to TQM include total employee involvement, continual improvement, and fact-based decision making. Each employee is involved in the decision-making which really keeps the culture of the organizations alive. When people truly believe their voices are not heard or do not matter, they will not be as motivated as they would be if they knew their voice would be heard. This directly ties into the goal of continual improvement. TQM focuses on the long-term goals and future which should always include constant improvement. When each employee is continuously trying to improve, they are slowly raising the standards of the organization.

    Ethics are also really important when talking about an organization and its management. Ethics are the moral judgments or decisions that are made by the company or individuals of a company. This is so important because there are many employees within an organization and each must decide what they think is the right thing to do many times each day (Business Case Studies, n.d.). Coincidentally this ties into the company culture, because if the culture of the company has been known to make decisions that may not be moral it will be easier to come to that conclusion. On the other hand, if an organization had a strict company culture and was always making the morally correct decisions.

    Ethics can drive a business to the top of the market, or quickly kill all momentum that a company has built. There have been many occurrences of ethical failures within very large organizations that had great impacts. For example, there was a huge fault with the German Automaker Volkswagen. Apparently, they were using a type of device that made their diesel cars pass emission test when in reality they were letting out more emissions than most other cars. This problem showed that many organizations can decide to put the importance of money above the trust and respect of their customers. A company with good ethics would have noticed that the cars were releasing too many emissions and made a fix, even if it was costly. This would have actually improved the success of Volkswagen, but instead, it took a huge blow and needs to regroup in order to recover.

    Lastly, social responsibility is very important to organizations and their management. Social responsibility is the idea that businesses should balance profit-making activities with activities that benefit society (Dragonette, n.d.). Many companies are known for doing things like this. Nike helped make a Livestrong series which helped raise money for cancer research. Another great example of this is could be tied back to my previous example of the lack of ethics that Volkswagen has. They clearly disregarded their social responsibility to improve the environment, and more specifically air quality. They decided that profit and money earned was more important than the environment, which is how they showed their lack of social responsibility.

    Unfortunately for Volkswagen, social responsibility or, lack thereof, can influence customers for or against specific products. People love when companies do not solely worry about business. Apple and Google are companies that actually give their employees time to work on environmental issues that matter to them. This shows that they have a great sense of social responsibility. What this does, is it attracts more customers as they notice these companies are going above and beyond to help fix the world, not try and maximize profits.

    Companies need to start realizing that TQM, ethics, and social responsibility all play an important role in success. If all of these tactics are used within a company they will most likely be set for continual improvement through their great ethics in business decisions, and their helping hand with social responsibility. If I had to pinpoint one of these as the most impactful, I would lean towards TQM, because I do believe that all companies need to be customer-focused, even though the processes do matter a lot. I think that in utilizing TQM ethical decisions will be made, as each has their say in decision-making. I consider social responsibility important, but I feel as if it is more icing on the cake than focal material. This is something that should come after a business is engaging in TQM and making ethical decisions. If a company cannot be ran correctly, or make ethical decisions, they probably shouldn’t be focusing on social responsibility.