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Integrating Knowledge Management (KM) and TQM

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Engineering
Wordcount: 5258 words Published: 29th Oct 2021

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In the initial 1980s when total quality management (TQM) was first introduced in companies as the way to achieve organizational excellence, it did not get an instantaneous support and widespread recognition. Progressively the benefits of quality and quality management programs became clear and arguments disappeared. 20 years later, companies are facing the same predicament with Knowledge Management (KM). The purpose of this paper is two way.

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Firstly, it suggests that there are many cohesions between TQM and KM and considers how the end can benefit from the former. Secondly, it describes the relationship and variations between TQM and KM targets and objectives. To this point, we address issues such as: are TQM and KM two independent fields? Are they corresponding? Do they affect or do they enable and support each other's abilities?

Keywords: Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Knowledge Management


LIST OF FIGURES...............................................................................................2

LIST OF TABLES..................................................................................................2


INTRODUCTION................................................................................................. 3

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT DEFINITION...................................................... 3


KM IMPLEMENTATION AND PRACTICES.......................................................... 6

TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT INITIATIVES.................................................. 7

SIX SIGMA.............................................................................................................7

NATIONAL QUALITY AWARDS.............................................................................7

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT.............................................................................8




Figure 1 Conceptual Framework ........................................................................4

Figure 2 The EFMQ Excellence Model ...............................................................5


Table 1 Contrasting ISO Standards, TQM, Six Sigma, National Awards .............8


This paper classifies similarities between Total Quality Management (TQM) and Knowledge Management (KM) and capitalizing on this mutual denominator talk about how Knowledge Management, being a comparatively young discipline, can help from highly stable and wellformed TQM practices.

For example, TQM is procedure-oriented, consumer-centric and requires a cultural shift (Kolarik, 1999). Precisely the same attributes can be assigned to KM. For more than twenty years TQM has been the controlling principle for various administrations, both private and public, to produce high quality products and attain high consumer satisfaction.

In the beginnings of 1980s, the focus of TQM was to constantly improve processes by reducing variation and developing the mean of a quality attribute. Originally, industrial manufacturing quality was the main goal. However, in the time of 1990s, with the introduction of global markets and digital economy, TQM priorities also changed.

TQM now centered mostly on services and was utilized as a viable weapon for product/service differentiation in the recent borderless markets where intense competition made price and quality a non-differentiating aspect. It is worth mentioning that during this e-Commerce time, the true determination of TQM and its main slogan i.e., Consumer is King/Queen was applied. This was mainly due to intense worldwide competition among the firms as well as availability of various kinds of product related data to the clients.

The following sections describe Knowledge Management and presents the technical considerations and professional factors that contribute to the successful application of Knowledge Management and how TQM practices can help in this effort.


Knowledge Management has been well-defined in many ways by various authors. I selected the following definition which I think evidently define the objective of Knowledge Management:

"Knowledge management is the process of capturing a company's combined expertise wherever it belong to – in databases, on paper, or in people's minds - and distributing it to wherever it can help produce the biggest payoff"

(Hibbard, 1997)

Some of the most popular KM practices include [1]:

  • Communities- of- Practice
  • Asynchronous Communications (e-mail, message board/broadcasting, subscriptions and alerting, discussion threats)
  • Synchronous Communications (instant messaging/white boarding, application and screen sharing, video and audio conferencing)
  • Collaborative Services (calendar and scheduling, task management, survey voting and polling, workflow)
  • Document and Content Management
  • Knowledge Engineering, Taxonomies, Mapping
  • Knowledge discovery (Data warehousing, Data mining, Expert systems)
  • Lessons Learned and Best Practices Repositories
  • E-learning, training, mentoring
  • Expertise Locator/Organizational Yellow Pages
  • Change management, Change Agent, BPR
  • Culture change, Incentives, Leadership,
  • Intellectual Capital/ Property

Figure 1 Conceptual Framework

KM rehearses are various and can be ordered in various manners. Be that as it may, a specific concurrence on a typology characterizing two primary KM approaches exists: codification versus personalization. The "codification approach" or "individuals to-reports approach" is planned to gather, arrange and scatter data. It depends intensely on Information Technology (IT). One of the advantages of the codification approach is the reuse of information. "The point of codification is to place hierarchical information into a structure that makes it available to the individuals who need it. It actually turns information into a code (however not really a PC code) to make it as sorted out, express, versatile, and straightforward as could be allowed". Interestingly, the personalization approach or "individuals to individuals' approach" centers around creating systems for connecting individuals with the goal that implicit information can be shared. It centers around discourse between people, not information in a database. "Information that has not been systematized - and most likely couldn't be - is moved in meetings to generate new ideas and one-on-one discussions" (Hansen et al., 1999). A speculation is made on building systems of individuals, where information is shared up close and personal as well as via phone, by email, utilizing texting applications also, by means of videoconference.

Figure 2 The EFMQ Excellence Model

On the off chance that we differentiate these two KM approaches with quality methodologies, most quality methodologies principally center around "codification" (Information assortment, Measurements, Quality affirmations, Quality strategies,… ). Be that as it may, a large portion of the workers' skill, ability, experience and "savoir faire" are at present not caught and not systematized because of their unsaid nature (individuals can know beyond what they can tell (Polanyi, 1966)). The inquiry at that point becomes: Could we increment the adequacy and effectiveness of current quality practices by better dealing with workers' information? The accentuation on the "personalization" approach – which licenses implied information sharing to happen - stays restricted in quality practices. A case of personalization approach was the idea of "Value circles". We accept that as such KM can assume a significant job in improving quality and client fulfillment. Another downside of over stressing on codification rehearses is that they tend to slaughter development what's more, imagination.


We can arrange KM related issues into the accompanying: Organizational/Managerial, Cultural, Technical, and People related.

As we survey these issues, one can see the parallelism among KM and TQM issues/issues and difficulties. Innovation is the least demanding piece of KM. Maybe the most massive specialized thought for KM frameworks is data quality. Poor data quality has been and still is the significant worry of leaders and business chiefs and it directly affects the main concern of any business. What's more, forms must be set up for data quality to guarantee uprightness and consistency of information and information introduction. This applies to both the data/information that goes into KM framework from different sources and the information delivered by applying information disclosure methods (information mining, master frameworks, savvy operators, information distribution center …) on information stores. Another significant fixing to guarantee data quality is clients. The clients of a KM framework ought to be engaged with figuring out what goes into the KM framework, what yield is normal from it and what will be a setting-based configuration for exhibiting the (input) data what's more, the (yield) information.

Social issues are very critical in KM and they straightforwardly sway KM achievement or disappointment. Truth be told they are the primary obstruction to progress. As in TQM, in KM activities individuals tend to keep away from or battle change and they lean toward "the old method for getting things done" in the organization. With KM, there will be another method for basic leadership in the association and individuals need to share information and "ability". Information being regularly related with "control", advancing information sharing isn't a simple assignment especially if representatives don't perceive how they can legitimately advantage from it. Information move can likewise occur among different associations. Administration at that point gets basic and overseeing through an information focal point should turn into a need.

Hierarchical and administrative issues in KM incorporate formulating administrative procedures for catching and circulating information. Also, these procedures should be improved persistently to turn out to be increasingly successful and proficient. KM frameworks must be remembered for an association's structure. Be that as it may, such a structure (as in TQM) must be adaptable and versatile. "It is significant that hierarchical structures are intended for adaptability (rather than inflexibility) so they energize sharing and cooperation crosswise over limits inside the association and over the store network".



Propelling a KM activity is a developmental and on-going exertion. This paper proposes that there are numerous likenesses between actualizing KM and executing all out quality administration (TQM). Furthermore, there are likewise similitudes in KM furthermore, TQM rehearses. Subsequently, we suggest that prescribed procedures, the exercises scholarly, and normal traps in TQM execution what's more, TQM practices ought to be used for KM execution and practices. TQM and KM shared traits are recorded underneath:

a) TQM and KM both include social change. TQM brings another administration style into the association and KM presents another method for data sharing and basic leadership.

b) Success of both TQM and KM is intensely subject to the top administration support.

c) TQM and KM both may require hierarchical changes/rebuilding.

d) TQM and KM are client driven (both inward and outer clients). In TQM client is best and KM gives the establishment for client relationship the executives (CRM). Demonstrated approachs, for example, Quality Capacity Deployment (QFD) that has been effectively utilized in TQM can effectively be applied in KM ventures.

e) The ROI on both TQM and KM is hard to gauge. The advantages of both are acknowledged in a removed future; along these lines, in the two cases the top administration might be hesitant to help the task (a momentary return might be favored by a few chiefs). The strategies utilized in TQM for top administration support (e.g., making examples of overcoming adversity by beginning with a little scale TQM venture) can likewise be utilized in KM (e.g., start with a little application region).

f) TQM and KM both need a boss to guarantee achievement.

g) Both TQM and KM require a sound preparing program. That is especially important when an organization needs to become a learning association.

h) TQM and KM should both help the authoritative crucial its long haul procedures and goals.

i) Both have wide execution rules (dynamic and general) that may wind up into disappointment

j) They are currently considered as everybody's activity regardless of whether it was not the situation when they began ( e.g., Quality control Dept)

k) Some associations were doing it (QM and KM) before it turned into an order and got so a lot of consideration

l) Both had some Japanese Gurus (Quality: Kaoru Ishikawa, Genichi Taguchi, … KM: Ikujiro

Nonaka, Hirotaka Takeuchi)

m)In request to create, execute and keep up both you need: Leadership, Processes, Culture, innovation as a key empowering agent and Measurement frameworks

n) Deming's 14 (introduced in Table 1) which have been effectively applied to TQM can be applied, to an enormous degree, to KM frameworks.


Absolute quality administration is characterized as an administration approach that attempts to accomplish and support long haul authoritative accomplishment by empowering worker criticism and cooperation, fulfilling client needs and desires, regarding cultural qualities and convictions, and complying with legislative rules and guidelines.


Six Sigma is a thorough and restrained technique that utilizations information and factual investigation to gauge and improve a organization's operational presentation by recognizing and killing "abandons" in assembling and administration related procedures. Generally characterized as 3.4 deformities per million chances, Six Sigma can be characterized and comprehended at three unmistakable levels: metric, approach and reasoning... Six sigma was created by Motorola during the 1980s. It was therefore received by driving partnerships, for example, GE, Sun Microsystems, AlliedSignal and Bank of America.

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National Quality Awards assumed a significant job in advancing quality around the world. The most infamous prizes are The Deming Prize (Japan), The European Quality Award (EQA) and the Malcom Baldridge Quality Award (MBNQA) in the US. Numerous different nations displayed their very own NQA dependent on these three honors (Tan, 2002). The organizations which apply for these honors are decided against Excellence models.


"Information the board is a cognizant methodology of getting the correct information to the opportune individuals at the ideal time and helping individuals offer and put data enthusiastically in manners that endeavor to improve authoritative execution. Information the board is a perplexing procedure that must be upheld by a solid establishment of empowering agents. The empowering agents for KM are system furthermore, initiative, culture, estimation, and innovation. Every one of these must be planned and oversaw in arrangement with the other and on the side of the procedure. The procedure generally includes a few of the accompanying stages or sub-forms in the utilization of information: make, recognize, gather, arrange, share, adjust, and use" (APQC, 2000).

Table analyzes and abridges the goal and focal point of the past six orders. As observed from table, a definitive goal of all Quality and KM rehearses is to build consumer loyalty. In KM, nonetheless, there are extra targets, to be specific, Innovation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). This last goal is of most extreme significance also, has direct effect on productivity.

Table 1 Contrasting ISO Standards, TQM, Six Sigma, National Awards

Presently the inquiry is to comprehend the relations between postulations disciplines. We will at that point propose a system on how these controls could connect and expand on one another's abilities to accomplish overall execution greatness.

We can take a gander at the relations between these six trains through various focal points. On the off chance that we first spotlight on the five quality trains recently depicted we could compose them into layers where a lower layer is considered as establishment for the upper layers.

The establishment layer depends on the ISO 9001:2000 standard or its partner QS 9000. This layer speaks to the Quality Control and Quality Assurance measurement of a Quality activity. It is important to keep up a low variety in the nature of the item or administrations gave by the organization. In the past being ISO 9000 guaranteed didn't suggest that the item/administration gave met the client needs however simply that the item/administration was delivered with a base change on the underlying necessities. The new form (ISO 9001:2000) is significantly more client situated and may decrease this issue. In any case, considering the proposed system, an organization can at first get ISO 9000 confirmed uniquely as a showcasing apparatus and may not endeavor to arrive at the upper layers of the quality pyramid.

At the following level we discover ISO 9004:2000. This isn't standard however proposals that depend on eight quality administration standards [1]:

  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Involvement of people
  • Process approach
  • System approach to management
  • Continual improvement
  • Factual approach to decision making
  • Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

These standards bring another administration and authority measurement to ISO 9001:2000. When pursued, these standards can help improve authoritative execution and make progress. The nuance is that all together for an organization to get its quality administration framework ensured it must meet ISO's necessities however not ISO's rules. There are a great deal of favorable circumstances and chances to pursue ISO 9004:2000. ISO 9004:2000 was contrived for top administration use and they can use it to improve authoritative execution, lessen costs, fulfill clients and improve intensity (Russell, 2003). Rusell even recommends that ISO 9004:2000 could be utilized by associations to survey the development of their Quality administration System contrasted with world class execution (Russell, 2003). Shockingly these rules are regularly disregarded or misjudged and the esteem it can bring to an association probably won't be ideal.

On the following layer we can discover two controls: TQM and Six Sigma which are now and then alluded as "ways of thinking". The ideas of TQM (Cf. Tables 1 and 2) have been acknowledged and perceived as basic criteria for associations to stay focused however, their application has consistently been tricky. Just solid and visionary pioneers had the option to completely actualize them to completely take focal points of TQM. The TQM thoughts are yet present in the executive's methods that developed a while later. On the off chance that appropriately executed, the use of ISO 9004:2000 ought to encourage the progress to a full TQM program which requires a more profound hierarchical change. A few associations like Motorola adopted their own strategy to TQM and made another order straightforwardly enlivened from TQM. One such a methodology is Six Sigma which is at present the most prominent and the best one. The primary contrast among TQM and Six Sigma lives in the word the executives. Six Sigma is a technique which is all around characterized contrasted with TQM philosophical rules. Six Sigma is more transient outcomes situated and it isn't the region of the quality division (Pyzdek, 2001). Nevertheless, Six Sigma shares regular topics with TQM, as observed by the cover in our structure. We accept that a Six

Sigma activity is bound to succeed on the off chance that it is actualized in an open and quality neighborly culture. ISO 9004:2000, if appropriately executed ought to make such a culture where a solid, submitted and steady administration is available what's more, where representatives are inspired.

At last, on the top layer of the system we put the Malcom Baldridge National Quality Award (MBNQA) too as the European Quality Award (EQA). Both are National Awards and are all around perceived Quality Awards that are based on Greatness structures (Cf. Figures 2 and 5). To arrive at this degree of value greatness associations needs to have a strong quality framework that covers every one of the parts of the association just as a strong authoritative culture. That is the explanation why be accept that the establishments required for accomplishing such degree of greatness lives on effectively executing the lower layers. Associations should actualize just one of the two controls exhibited in the layer three (TQM or Six Sigma).

Information Management not being a quality order without anyone else won't fit as a layer in the past pyramid, yet it can be included as a transversal layer feeding all the quality layers. The motivation behind KM being to gather and disperse implicit and express information (best practices, exercises learned, know how, …) every quality control in our system will emphatically profit from it.

On the off chance that we investigate these orders through another viewpoint in attempting to comprehend shared characteristics we could then speak to them utilizing a vein outline (Figure 4). What is intriguing to note in this outline is the crossing point between disciplines. We accept that the crossing point between ISO 9000 group of benchmarks and TQM lives in the best possible utilization of ISO 9004:2000. As referenced before both benchmarks add a quality administration point of view to control quality and quality confirmation. The other convergence between ISO 9000 group of measures and Knowledge Management could be founded on the executives of data which is basic in the two orders.

Concerning crossing point among TQM and Six Sigma we referenced Business Process Reengineering (BPR). TQM cannot be actualized without a genuine reevaluation of the business procedures of an association. One of the objectives of Six Sigma is to make new procedures that will fulfill client needs or to adjust existing ones. So, in the two cases BPR is basic.

The crossing point between Six Sigma and Knowledge Management straightforwardly identifies with Communities of Practice (CoP). CoP can be characterized as a gathering of people with a typical working practice who don't, in any case, comprise a conventional work group. Networks of training commonly cut crosswise over customary authoritative limits and empower people to get new information generally inaccessible or at a quicker rate. Six Sigma groups can be considered as CoP because of the way that they refocus representatives from various divisions and all the time from various areas around comparative exercises and interests. Effectively exactly Six Sigma groups are beginning to utilize information gateways and online Communities of Practice to team up and share information crosswise over divisions. A case of fruitful activity around there is the situation of Caterpillars with their current utilization of in excess of eighteen hundred CoP.

We made every one of the orders converge into National Quality Awards (MBNQA or EQA). NQA mirror every one of these controls. This may appear glaringly evident concerning all the quality trains however it may not be clear with respect to KM. Actually, it is just in the 2003 variant of the MBNQA that KM bashfully showed up as one of the criteria (#4) of the system (Figure 5) (NIST, 2003). We accept that the endeavor wide coordination of every one of these orders will drive to "Business Excellence".

At long last we imagine that the most significant point of view of taking a gander at the relations between these orders is the accompanying one. We emphatically accept that associations cannot accomplish overall execution greatness concentrating just on quality orders. The missing bit of the quality riddle is as we would like to think Knowledge Management (Figure 6). During the previous decades the achievement or Quality activities were blended. Quality activities were basically depending on information and data the executives however, so as to meet the higher necessities of the present clients this is never again enough. Juran once expressed "in the United States, near 33% of the work done comprised of re-trying what had been done previously. Contingent upon the idea of the business he expenses of low quality expended somewhere in the range of 20 and 40% of the all-out exertion". Not sitting around and cash rehashing the wheel is one of the principle objectives of Knowledge Management. This should be possible through various habits however KM rehearses as Exercises learned archives, Best practices and Communities of training contribute effectively at diminishing such issue. Empowering and encouraging information sharing is vital to Quality. A model that mirrors this idea is the job of Master Black Belts in Six Sigma activities. Their essential duty is preparing and tutoring new Black Belts in the association (Lucas, 2002). Through this coaching and preparing stages the Master Black Belts will share their important inferred information with Black Belts that will later become themselves Master Black Belts. This is a genuine case of the need and intensity of setting up KM in an association.

The effective usage of KM in an association will likewise fill in as a change specialist that could encourage the achievement what's more, extension of value rehearses. Yet, how might we try to prevail with regards to propelling a KM activity? The main thing to do, as we lectured in the primary segment of this paper, is to gain from the effective and fruitless execution of TQM. The subsequent thing to know about is that 80% of the endeavors of a KM activity must be made on the individual's part of it furthermore, just 20% of endeavors should be committed to innovation. Innovation is an empowering influence for fruitful KM just as an impetus for its rise (Wilson and Asay, 1999).

We emphatically accept that Knowledge Management is the cornerstone of the entryway to Business Excellence (Figure 7). Without it, associations won't completely profit by their Quality activity, whichever it is, and may not acquire the upper hand anticipated. The empowering agent to effectively "pass this entryway" being Strong Leadership, Organizational Culture, Measurements what's more, Information Technology (the mainstays of our entryway).


This paper gave a short talk of TQM and KM and recognized the shared traits among them and how they coordinate. Since TQM is full grown and has set up a dependable arrangement of best practices and normal entanglements, it was recommended that KM can profit extraordinarily from TQM encounters because of their noteworthy shared characteristics. What's more a layered structure was introduced to delineate the connections between different quality measures. KM was along these lines added to this structure to stress the centrality of KM and the job it plays in empowering an association to accomplish "Business Excellence" both in its quality undertaking and in its KM rehearses. At last, the end was that KM-TQM is a two way and the two controls can profit by one another.


[1] Integrating Total Quality Management and Knowledge Management Vincent M. Ribière, American University- USA and Reza Khorramshahgol, American University- USA: Journal of Management Systems, Vol. XVI, No. 1, 2004, Copyright 2004, Maximilian Press, Publisher

[2] TQM: A facilitator to enhance knowledge management? A structural Analysis, Keng-Boon Ooi Faculty of Business, Management and Accountancy, Linton University College, Malaysia, Science Direct paper

[3] Integrating Knowledge Management and Total Quality: A Complementary Process, Dr Fang Zhao, Peter Bryar

[4] TQM and knowledge management: Literature review and proposed framework, Keng-Boon Ooi, African Journal of Business Management Vol.3 (11), pp. 633-643, November, 2009

[5] Knowledge Management, Total Quality Management and Innovation: A New Look Amir Honarpour, Ahmad Jusoh, Khalil Md Nor


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