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Revisiting Deming's 14 Points in Light of Japanese Business Practices

Summary: This article describes an interpretation of Deming's 14 points from the perspective of Japanese business practices. It especially focuses on Deming's three principles: holistic thinking, cooperation, and desirability. These three principles were developed by Deming by observing Japanese business practices. They led Deming to derive his new theory of system optimization, which states that interdependent components must be orchestrated to accomplish the common aim of the system.

During the 1980s, American management integrated the concepts of long-term vision, continuous improvement, and teamwork into its traditional management style; however, many signs of receding interest in quality management have recently appeared. Now that the American economy is improving, the salaries of U.S. executives are skyrocketing. At the same time, in the name of restructuring or downsizing, many large companies are cutting employees to save costs during the short term. Nevertheless, in these insecure work environments, management is encouraging employees to work cooperatively in teams. And continuous improvement remains a basic management policy. This is not what Deming taught, nor is it what the Japanese practice. Now that the dust has settled following the boom of initial American interest in quality management, it is time to revisit Deming's 14 points - the origin of quality management in America.

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  • Topics: Quality Management
  • Keywords: Cooperation,Desirability function,Holism,Variation,Quality management (QM),Japanese quality management
  • Author: Yoshida, Kasaku
  • Journal: Quality Management Journal