Total quality management in Chinese companies

1.0 Introduction

There are so many excellent management fashions enjoying the fame and popularity for a long time. And in this essay, we’ll have a discussion on three management theory such as the theories x, y, z, the one minute manager and the total quality management on the basis of several examples of Chinese companies such as Wenan Investment Consulting Co., Ltd, Herborist Cosmetic Company and Dicos in China.

In the end, total quality management will be justified as the most outstanding one with great value.

2.0 Theory X, Y & Z

McGregor (1960) pointed out that on the average, most employees dislike the job and are unwilling to carry out it if it is possible. In addition, due to this characteristic of job hatred, it is seemed as a possibility and necessity for managers to compel, control, dominate and even threaten their employees to contribute sufficient efforts to their job with the support of punishments and other kinds of coercive means.

In the meantime, McGregor (1960) also held the idea that theory y advocates that the nature of human beings love to work rather than dislike to work. That is, most of people believe working including both physical and mental usage in their work is a kind of relaxation and entertainment. Furthermore, theory y also advocates it is more effective for people to work under self direction towards the corporate objectives rather than the dependence of external dominance or the threats from punishment to urge them perform better and effectively with the satisfactory level in their companies.

Besides, on the basis of Ouchi’s (1981) point of view, theory Z is developed based on the actual situation of Japanese management practices, which hold the strong viewpoint on regarding their employees to be honest and loyal under the direction of akin to participating leadership style to promote employees’ working morale and productivity.

By and large, under the analysis of theories x, y and z, we can then get the following discussion on this kind of management theory.

For one thing, McGregor (1960) pointed out in theory x, organizational employees are regarded to be lazy and bored with work, which requires managers to make use of several coercive methods to further monitor and direct employees’ behaviors and performances.

For the other, McGregor (1960) also advocated in theory y one positive trait owned by employees are the self-control ability and ambition of the job achievements which merely requires less control from the management in the company in comparison to the situation in theory x. At first, the advantage of theory y is that the managers in theory y are defined as considerate towards their employees in order to promote their working moral and productivity under the support of harmonious working environment and good relationships in the company. The weakness of theory y is the strict and high level requirement on employees’ quality which should both own the quality of self-control and ambition towards their job (Wortheim 2002).

With reference to theory z, the requirements on employees are also high, which requires employees to own the specialties to become the generalists in order to enrich their job knowledge and improve their contribution to decision making process of their company (Ouchi 1981).

That is to say, theory z is based on the aim to develop the expected workforce with satisfactory job loyalty and sense of belonging. In the meantime, when referring to the career promotion, theory z believes employees will be given longer time and more chances to show their capacity in their positions with the enrichment in the professional knowledge and competitiveness required by their jobs under well designed training and developing programs such as on the job training and off the job training and so on on the ground of the perspectives of Ouchi (1981).

In brief, theories x, y, z have their own characteristics and strengths under suitable situation.

3.0 The one minute manager

Blanchard and Johnson (1982) held the perspectives that there are three types of determinants for an organization to produce productive and effective management performance.

Foremost, goal setting plays the primarily important role for the successful management and it is named one minute goals (Philbin 2008). Under the help of the corporate meeting, both managers and employees are able to reach an agreement upon the united corporate objectives with the total efforts of all the corporate staffs. That is, the overall aim of the one minute meeting is to make clarification and conformation on the communication effectiveness, working productivity and efficiency for the whole company to maintain the expected performance (Philbin 2008).

The other concern of one minute managers is the so called one minute praising, which pays great attention to of open attitudes on employees’ performance (Blanchard & Johnson 1982). For one thing, for managers the essential suggestion is to give or express their satisfaction to the good performance of their employees such as showing their appraising directly in front of their employees when they making good achievement or produce expected performance (Philbin 2008). For the other, the one minute pauses when giving praising is also recommended for managers to make these recipients have the time to feel the same good feeling from managers on their good achievement or performance. Once again, encourages from manager are also crucial for employees to maintain their performance and produce better achievements in the future (Philbin 2008).

In addition, the one minute reprimand is the last myth of one minute manager. Based on this, managers should own the specialty of showing reprimand towards the wrong and inappropriate behaviors of their employees with honest and open minds (Blanchard & Johnson 1982). For one thing, managers are also recommended to give reprimand to employees’ misbehaviors or faults in a direct way, which plays an important role in effective communication inside the companies. The open attitude towards employees’ misbehaviors and give direct criticism from managers realize the possibility to develop thorough understanding and communication between managers and employees in their future performance and cooperation. For the other, managers are recommended to make the hands shaking with employees who have just received the reprimands to indicate these employees that they are cherished and cared by their companies a lot that the blames or criticisms are just due to their misbehaviors on that certain kind of activities (Philbin 2008).

Besides, on the ground of one minute manager theory, Leslie, Loach, Schaninger (2006) summarized to effectively implement the one minute manager theory into practice isn’t an easy task, which has a high level of requirement on the qualities for managers. For example, high qualified managers may own the good knowledge of communication and negotiation, which enable them to use the proper pattern to point out the impropriate behaviors of employees and make the employees understand their faults and then make adjustment to improve their performance and behaviors in the future. Or else, the third myth of one minute manager theory can’t be implemented and practised by corporate so well to produce the most expected consequences (Collions 2000).

4.0 Total quality management

In the research of Kitazawa and Sarkis (2000) indicated total quality management is the system for corporate management focusing on the target customers in the company, involving all the staffs development and improvement in overall aspects. In the meantime, Medori and Steeple (2000) summarized total quality management is an outstanding approach even in comparison to the product quality approach, which makes every member in the company involved in including training and planning, administration and communication, distribution, manufacturing and marketing.

In the modern time, total quality management is developed with more contents proposed by Evans and William (1999). It emphasizes both the commitment and direct involvement in so many aspects including quality objectives and principles establishment and resources allocation and the consequences evaluation. It highlights the importance of radical changes in the basic practices and faith for everybody in the organizational transformation. It puts the fact that establishing products quality and appropriate practices from the start are essential, in the first place. It focuses on the understanding and investigation on the external and internal needs of the stakeholders of the business such as customers and stakeholders. It lays the stress on building of effective leadership styles to ensure the expected individual performance of employees in the manner of improved quality and productivity with effective capital investment. It underlines the significance of removing barriers between individual employees and departments to ensure the working effectiveness of working teams to fulfill the corporate objectives. And it also advocates the building of flexibility in employees training and developing programs in offering people with meaningful ways of performance to guide their self improvement and development.

In summary, to build the blocks for total management, there elements are essential including process, systems of management, people and performance management.

5.0 Corporate examples

5.1 Company background

5.1.1 Wenan Investment Consulting Co., Ltd,

Wenan Investment Consulting Co., Ltd is founded in 2011, which is a young and energetic corporate to focus on study, investment and immigration in Malaysia for Chinese people (Wenan 2011). Under our research on Wenan, we find out there are several weaknesses in Wenan. At first, considering the training and developing issues in Wenan, the training needs analysis and performance appraisals are too general which isnt able to reflect the accurate information on training and developing requirements of Wenans people. Secondly, training and developing methods in Wenan are regarded as narrow which only have two kinds of methods such as classroom teaching means and on the job training means and the choice of lecturers in Wenan is also limited to the managerial level employees, which give employees great presses when they facing the situation that they bosses becomes their lecturers. Moreover, the classroom teaching means become as a routine in the recent period and on the job training means often considers the superficial knowledge and skills for employees rather than some deep and up level professional knowledge, which reduce the function and practical impact of training and developing programs in Wenan.

5.1.2 Dicos

Dicos is a famous fast food brand invested by Chinese people, which just follows the rank of KFC and McDonalds (Dicos 2012). Although it is so popular in China nowadays, there are several weaknesses and threats involved in Dicos in its development. Ling et al. (2009) and Jin (2011) summarized weaknesses for Dicos. Firstly, Dicos financial competitiveness is low, food taste is flat and management system isnt competitive compared to KFC or Dicos, which are international fast food maker enjoying a good popularity in both China and world market. Secondly, only concentrating on female consumers and children consumers lead to its ignorance of male consumers or other kinds of consumers which make Dicos loss a certain part of customers and market share compared to its competitors including KFC and McDonald’s. Thirdly, major developing strategy of Dicos in Chinese market is secondary cities or third level cities makes Dicos short of the attractiveness for people in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other big size cities in China, which makes customers losing for Dicos as well.

Besides, from the research of Ling et al. (2009) and Jin (2011), Dicos are confronted with two kinds of threats in Chinese market. The first threat confronted by Dicos is economy downturn situation in both China and global region, which make the consumption ability of Chinese customers to a low level compared to the previous. The second threat for Dicos is fierce competition from its powerful competitors, KFC McDonalds, Subways included. These strong rivals of Dicos have grabbed a large part of market share and customers in Chinese market, which become the threat for it to develop.

5.1.3 Shanghai Herborist Co., Ltd.

Herborist Co., Ltd. has founded in Shanghai, China in 1998, which has been focusing on using Chinese herbs in its cosmetic products to maintain the natural specialty of its skin care products in Chinese market (Herborist 2012). Due to the more and more popular trend on the preference of natural ingredient products in the world market including Chinese market, the popularity of Herborist Co., Ltd becomes bigger and bigger. And in 2008, this cosmetic brand has begun its global expansion road by cooperation with Sephora in Euorpe market and SaSa of Hongkong market, both of which are leading cosmetic retailer in their market region (Herborist 2012).

Although the fame of Herborist becomes bigger and bigger in both Chinese market and global market, there are also many weaknesses and threats encountered by this cosmetic brand.

In the side of weaknesses, first weakness owned by Herborist is the weak capital ability, which makes Herborist have limited marketing budget and research and development budget in new products exploration and development (Whiteman & Krug 2008).

Secondly, in the research from Chinairn (2009), the good fame has increased the population of Herborist in Chinese market while the brand awareness of Herborist in China compared the international brand is still low and weak, which is due to the shortage of promotion campaign of Herborist brand. For instance, there are merely printed advertisements of Herborist not the advertisements on TV, radio or other channels, which limit the brand influences on customers by the supports of different advertisement channels.

Thirdly, weak operation management cant be ignored by Herborist either. Chinairn (2009) proposed poor logistics management of Herborist makes the time management weak, inventory remain high and capital tied up which may Herborist encounter great development press.

In the threats part, the first threat for Herborist is tough competition which is mostly due to competition from international competitors such as L’Oréal, P&G, and Estee Lauder Shiseido etc. For example, from research of Li and Fung (2009), outstanding brand building skills, excellent and experienced management knowledge and practices, massive advertising promotion campaign and a large deal of investment in product research and development contribute the greater fame of these international players than Herborist in the heart of Chinese customers. For Herborist to compete with those powerful international competitors, to gain the market shares from these competitors is a big challenge.

The second threat for Herborist is the notorious image of made in China, which often represents the cheap quality products in many customers’ eyes even in the eyes of so many Chinese customers (Wharton n.d). Just as the foreign brand is marked with high quality and trustworthy credit, while the Chinese cosmetic products stand for poor quality products for many foreign customers and Chinese customers which blocks Herborist’s expansion in international market and Chinese market as well.

The last threat encountered by Herborist is investment risk, which is aggravated by the bad economy situation in both China and the global market. For instance, from Herborist (2012), there is seemed a large sum of investment budget on future expansion plans in not only China market but also world market will be invested by Herborist, which may cause two extremely different results- success or failure. In the economy downturn period, the risks of any investment are full of risks, which for Herborist is the same (Griffin & Pustay 2010).

6.0 Justification

On the ground of examples from Wenan Investment Consulting Co., Ltd, Dicos China and Herborist Co., Ltd. China, we can justify total quality management is the one of great value out from theories x, y, z and one minute manager.

6.1 Utility of theories x, y, z

In theories x, y, z, most focus of management is on the people side. For example, in theories x, it advocates people are inactive in doing their jobs, which requires coercive management manners to guide people to fulfill their tasks at the satisfying results (McGregor 1960). Theory y advocates the positive working attitudes of people which affirming the advantages of people oriented leadership style (McGregor 1960). Theory z advocates the honest and loyal nature of employees towards their job and career and also ensures the good function from participative leadership for companies (Ouchi’s1981).

In brief theories x, y, z underline the importance of people instead of other elements for a company. First and foremost, we affirm the significance of people for a company. In Wenan Investment Consulting Co., Ltd, Dicos China and Herborist Co., it is the people who make up the three organizations and facilitate these three organizations to accomplish their business objectives and strive for success. To lay emphasis on people issue may help the three companies to solve many issues such as building excellent talent pool, gain favorable opinion from employees and improve communication quality (Cascio 2010), but people arent the only issue for organization to show full focus and care.

First, besides win the support from people, it should take the human resource training and developing issue into account as well, which isnt received great emphasis from theories x, y, z but noticed by total quality management (McGregor 1960; Cascio 2010). The most urgent issue for Wenan to deal with is training design, implementation and feedbacks. This issue isn’t gained great attention by theories x, y, z but has gained great attention from total quality management. In theory x, it has marked people with the nature of laziness towards their tasks, which makes managers use coercive means to force employees finish their tasks and fulfill the required objectives. Supposing Wenan uses theory x, it indicates Wenans manager will use the coercive means to force employees to fulfill their tasks and achieve the expected consequences. This kind of means isnt so fitful and appropriate for the management to use in Wenan, in which the relationship between manager and ordinary employees is good because most of employees are the classmates of its manager, who all own the education and living experience in Malaysia and are with the same aims to promote Wenans business to an outstanding consequences (Wenan 2011). Therefore, there is no need for manager in Wenan to use coercive means for the employees. In brief, theory x isnt suitable for Wenan. Referring to theories y and z, relationship maintenance is their main regard, which is also no necessary in Wenan, because the relationship in Wenan is nice. In brief theories y and z arent necessary for Wenan.

Next, Dicos being the Chinese enterprise major in western fast food making in China are encountered with hyper competition, diversified customer requirements and financial press (Ling et al. 2009 & Jin 2011), which claims internal and external management to improve performance consequences. In comparison to theories x, y, z, total quality management have more advantages. Firstly, theories x, y, z cant solve the products quality management, because it takes more focus on people management. Nevertheless, total quality management puts the facts of product quality in the first place, which meets Dicos needs on products quality improvements. Secondly, referring to diversified customers needs, theories x, y, z dont have the concern, but total quality management facilitates marketing research and exploration and R & D (research and development) on products, which enables Dicos to develop attractive products to meet customers requirements of different level (Ouchi’s1981, Medori & Steeple 2000). In brief, total quality management is much useful in comparison to theories x, y, z.

Finally, regarding Herborist, we may also evaluate theories x, y, z isnt precious than total quality management. The aim and task for Herborist Co., Ltd. is to expand its business in Chinese market and international market, which demands a full concern on internal and external elements in products management, customers’ development, employees training and improvement and the concern on the interests of its stakeholders such as shareholders’ interests (Ouchi’s1981, Medori & Steeple 2000). Unlike the heavy emphasis on people issue from theories x, y, z, total quality managements focuses are wider, which may better facilitate Herborist Co., Ltd. to smoothen its domestic and international development road (Ouchi’s1981, Medori & Steeple 2000).

6.2 Utility of one minute manager

Philbin (2008) sums up one minute manager have three myths including one minute goal setting, one minute praising and one minute reprimand. In the evidences from three companies, Wenan Investment Consulting Co., Ltd, Dicos China and Herborist Co., Ltd included prove the excellence of total quality management than one minute manager.

In the business evidences from Wenan Investment Consulting Co., Ltd, one minute manager devotes a whole process for business strategy design and implementation, which may enable Wenan to make up its business strategy in Chinese market such as what kinds of strategies are suitable for Wenan to promote its services such as investment on Malaysia, study in Malaysia and other services. Nevertheless, it may be not so powerful to enable Wenan to solve of all of its problems. Besides the outside worries, Wenan also owns inside urgency to cope with carefully just as the human resource problem. Referring to one minute managers’ partial consideration, total quality management shows 360 degree regards with entire performance of Wenan from the inside performance such as human resource development and working relationship fostering to outside challenge meeting and opportunities catching (Kitazawa & Sarkis 2000). As a matter of fact, as a new born company which is engaged in oversea business, both inside and outside determinants are big fishes for Wenan to take them serious. In another word, the elements in total quality management cover more aspects for an international company to develop itself in the global market than only partial concern from one minute manager.

Once more, although Dicos is a Chinese enterprise, its business focus such as strategy design, goal setting, marketing mix strategies, human resource strategies and other elements in operating its fast food chain restaurants in Chinese market had better be developed into more comprehensive manner to meet the challenges from globalization, which may enable Dicos to be competitive enough in comparison to these strong rivals KFC and McDonalds included (Ling et al. 2009 vs. Jin 2011).

Besides, Herborist may be defined of an international corporate run by Chinese entrepreneur to figure for sustainable development and expansion in global market but not to be limited in Chinese region , which demands a comprehensive and all scale guides in management strategy (Herborist 2012). Just as we justified before, one minute managers concern may be a little bit narrow in comparison to total quality managements overall consideration to manage business particularly international business in stakeholder management, human resource management, total quality management etc., which is more right for an international company as Herborist to make a big difference in 2012.

6.3 Excellence of total quality management

Kitazawa and Sarkis (2000) sum up advantages of total quality management in customer focus, employee involvement, process centered, integrated system, continual improvement, communication improvement, decision making based on fact and many other comprehensive strategies in chart 1.0.

Chart 1.0 Concerns of total quality management

chart 1.0


Source: Kitazawa, S. & Sarkis, J. 2000, The relationship between ISO 14001 and continuous source reduction programs, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, vol. 20, no. 2,

The issues stood by total quality management develop a comprehensive regard with nearly every necessary issue for company to develop all side, which are so thoughtful for companies particularly young organizations to develop their business in a wider region such as global market (Kitazawa & Sarkis 2000). These full regards with nearly all important aspects for Wenan, Dicos and Herborist are very necessary to continue its Chinese expansion and even globalization.

Firstly, total quality management is possible to support Wenan to develop its training and developing programs in human resource management in the program design, execution, and improvement and put it into healthy life circle, which may enable Wenan to conquer problems in human resource issue Kitazawa and Sarkis (2000). Secondly, problems encountered by Dicos including both inside problems and outsider press, total quality management may offer it with reasonable directions to ease their pressure and make improvement to strengthen its competitiveness Kitazawa and Sarkis (2000). In the end, total quality management might devote wise and reasonable directions for Herborist to maintain its strength as natural cosmetic products producer and improve its brand recognition by customers via thorough care with customers, employee, suppliers and other important stakeholders Kitazawa and Sarkis (2000).

In brief, total quality management is a comprehensive theory and instruction for managers to well build their organizations via most effectiveness and reasonable measure with full concern on ervey aspects, it is the theory with greater value than others.

7.0 Conclusion

With careful investigation on corporate business practices from Wenan, Dicos and Herborist in China, the summary and assessment on advantages and disadvantages of theories x, y, z, one minute manager and total quality management are presented. From the deliberate analysis, the final conclusion on the value of each theory is reached that in a comprehensive point of view, total quality management owns careful regards on internal and external environment elements which are excellent for the three companies engaged in international business to make more profit and fight for thriving performance in 2012 than others.


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