have input from all levels. It may be that upper-level management waves the TQM banner but that in practice lower-level employees do not feel empowered or affected by the management strategies. Incorporating the use of ethnographic techniques to understand the intricacies of organizational culture and climate is a research technique that deserves further attention. More generally, researchers must use careful sampling and survey methodologies to accurately assess existing practices.
As with any careful scientific undertaking to evaluate impact, it is essential to identify both the nature of the intervention and the targeted outcomes. There are measurement issues on a variety of levels that plague research on quality. One has to identify the prescriptive principles of TQM and determine if they are in place within the organization, to assess the overall organizational culture and climate, and to identify the outcome variables for empirical study that cross all areas of the organization. As with any empirical research program, the use of multiple indicators is essential and should be identified for all levels of organizational structure and performance.
In terms of research, the first part of this task requires being able to identify the prescriptive principles of TQM. Hackman and Wageman (1995) provide a useful starting point in identifying and delineating the central concepts of TQM. They also make some basic suggestions for obtaining behavioral data to examine these concepts. Next, it is important to determine whether TQM principles are actually in place. To assess these matters empirically requires that systematic data be obtained on the work activities at numerous sites in the organization.
Research to date has used a more qualitative approach to determine if the TQM model was functioning in an organization, with case studies and anecdotal evidence, which has made the generalizability of findings difficult and suspect. To incorporate a more focused and systematic research agenda it is essential to identify operational indicators to determine whether TQM is in place in an organization. Thus, workshop participants addressed the necessity of defining various types of variables at various levels in the organization (i.e., those which are related to outcome, pro-
cess, and the work environment). Since TQM is a total management strategy, it is necessary to evaluate its effects at various levels within the organization.1 Hackman noted that the work by Easton and Jarrell addresses many of these issues through its systematic assessments of the adoption of TQM.
Topics and Questions
There were a variety of interesting issues that were briefly touched on by workshop participants that deserve further consideration. This section presents these ideas with the explicit caveat that these issues are not yet fully developed but are seen as promising ideas.
Several different general topic areas for research were articulated by participants: to design more empirical research based on existing organizational theory; to include organizational cultural variables; to evaluate organizational change and a more human component; to expand current research to include small businesses; and to compare varying approaches to quality improvement (e.g., TQM versus the International Standards Organization ISO 9000).
In addition, there was a brief discussion by workshop participants about the relationship between speed, a productivity measure, and accuracy, a quality measure. The notion that there does not have to be a negative association between these two variables was proposed by Kathryn Shaw. She argued that the traditional approach suggests that there was a tradeoff between quality and speed but that the newer paradigms attempt to understand why people are slow. There may be emotional (i.e., procrastination) and social-political reasons that go beyond the simple cognitive ones proposed by the earlier paradigms (i.e., people have too much to think about). She also suggested that there are multiple ways to be fast and that it depends on how you define the construct. When defined in comparison to relative expectations, she argues it is possible to have improvements in both speed and accuracy. Several workshop participants who primarily measure quality as "the number shipped without needing reworking" and speed as "parts per million" differed with her, proposing that it is merely a difference in defining quality. Overall, the prospect of not having to sacrifice accuracy with increases in speed is both appealing
and intriguing and should be explored further. It would appear that mass-production manufacturers have indeed mastered the practice of producing high volumes with low error rates.
The effects of different types of motivation in a TQM system were also discussed by participants. There were varying opinions on the effectiveness of group pay, incentive pay, and public recognition (e.g., Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards). Shaw discussed her research with mini-mill sector data and suggested that with group pay you may expect a free rider effect; however, it will not always influence overall productivity because while some members may not do their share, the group as a whole accomplishes the task. Moreover, pressure from peers can often eliminate problems of free riding. David Levine suggested that using money as a motivator has the problem of both not really working and working too well. He suggested that it has a ratchet effect when it restricts productivity; in order to combat that effect, an organization should not simply reward the level of productivity, but the change in that level over time. Others suggested that job security plays a major role in productivity. It would be interesting to evaluate these variables in situations of downsizing.
At various times during the workshop participants touched on the distinction between exogenous and endogenous approaches. The difficulties in quantifying and understanding the differences between these approaches were noted. This is another fruitful area for further discussion and research.
NSF'S TQO Program
The TQO program at NSF is less than 2 years old and has been funded primarily by industry. Industry proponents wanted to influence the academic curricula so that students would be trained in quality issues. However, experts advised NSF that because the quality field was starved for theory and a literature base, there was not much at present to teach in an academic setting. Thus, NSF was advised to fund research to help stimulate development of a body of literature in the area of quality issues.
The NSF program originally used the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award core concepts as a framework for funding projects in their research program. NSF staff acknowledges that this may not have been the best concept to use because it does not contain criteria for linking separate research pieces. This strategy led to funding an eclectic group of projects. The goals of this workshop and in many ways of NSF's research
program in general is to bring theorists and researchers together to address issues related to improving the science of TQM and developing a cross-disciplinary paradigm. It was expected that this merging of various fields, all interested in quality, would generate the basis for a theoretical framework to study quality issues. This theoretical perspective was expected to guide the decisions about what types of research to fund. Yet it is often difficult to connect practical issues with basic science. Generally, questions in basic science are generated from the efforts of scientists to develop theoretical systems to explain a set of phenomena while the question about how a particular type of management program functions does not necessarily come from those efforts. There are general issues in TQM research that can be framed as basic social science questions, and there are probably general issues in social science that could be informed by studies of TQM. However, delineating these links to forge common ground would take some additional work that proved to be beyond the scope of the workshop. Participants suggested that this line of work would be both productive and useful, and they encouraged NSF to fund projects leading toward this goal. However, the requirement that all of the NSF-funded projects must be conducted in a corporate setting may ironically encourage the kind of case-study research that has proved so limiting in the past.
In general, workshop participants urged the funding of careful, systematic, experimental research, the type of research that starts to combine qualitative and quantitative perspectives to develop a strong theoretical framework for this area. Such research should include efforts to rigorously define current concepts of organizational quality, how they came to be formulated this way, and how they actually function in corporations. NSF's research program offers an opportunity to compare different types of approaches to improving organizational performance. This would be helpful not only to industry, but also to such areas as education and services, in which the quality management ideas that companies have pioneered are spreading. Theoretically based research would help explicate why various aspects of TQM work and under what conditions, making it easier to determine which aspects may generalize to other industry and non-industry settings.