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Employee participation and assessment of an organizational change intervention: a three wave study of Total Quality Management

By Jacqueline A-M. Coyle-Shapiro


Amidst the debates on Total Quality Management (TQM), empirical investigations of the process of change have been largely neglected. This article examines the process of change involved in implementing TQM, as well as employees’ experience of participation, and evaluates the impact of employee participation in TQM on their commitment to the organization. The study was conducted in a UK manufacturing setting. The research design involved a survey of employees with three measurement occasions: 6 months prior to, and 9 months and 32 months after the introduction of TQM. Qualitative data were gathered during the implementation of TQM. The findings suggest that supervisory participative style is positively related to employee participation. The extent of employee participation is positively related to the assessment of the benefits of TQM. Furthermore, how employees assess the beneficial impact of TQM is more important in predicting subsequent participation in TQM than is their initial participation. However, employee participation in TQM was not found to be positively related to organizational commitment. There is evidence that supervisory resistance may have inhibited the successful development of the TQM process throughout the organization. The nature of the intervention and the process of change are important in understanding the basis of the resistance manifested by supervisors. In particular, the absence of supporting changes to reinforce a TQM philosophy and the reactive method adopted to overcome supervisory resistance during the change process are pivotal to explaining the limited development and consequences of the change effort

Topics: H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: SAGE for NTL Institute
Year: 1999
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0021886399354006
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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