B Riahi, PhD in Public Management, Director of Quality Systems at ISIRI, Executive Secretary of Iran Accreditation System, Secretary to National Quality Award
B Riahi, PhD in Public Management, Director of Quality Systems at ISIRI, Executive Secretary of Iran Accreditation System, Secretary to National Quality Award

New Theory of TQM in Iranian Public Sector (PS)

Part I

With the increasing progress of the human being, the relationship between governments and nations are also changing. People now wish to live in a society in which the government has a more effi cient and responsive role, a government that is able to present, in short and long terms, more hopeful horizons to the Illustration people and citizens. To improve the service quality, governments shall have a commitment to responsiveness towards the people for the realization of their goals. They should not confi ne their tasks to those that may not result in the desired objectives and end in the dissatisfaction of the public and loss of resources and time. In modern public management, governments face the question how the services rendered may be faster, better, and more cost effective and of higher quality.

In the public sector, services are provided within a bureaucratic structure with specifi c duties and functions and usually without commitment to objectives and only by emphasizing the processes. At best, their activities are performed within a format of regulations as the public sector employees do not make an effort to satisfy people and are not responsive to their needs, i.e. they have no sense for improving their performance. The understandings in this sector are totally different to those in the private sector.

  1. In the public sector services are rendered to people and citizens without the control and direct supervision of managers.
  2. Once a service is provided in the public sector it can no longer be controlled nor retrieved.
  3. In the public sector the client’s understanding will be influenced by the behavior of the service provider.
  4. In the public sector services are rendered at the lowest level

Table 1 For these reasons the quality of services rendered in the public sector differs from those offered in the private sector. The most essential difference is that the service provider in the public sector thinks that the client has no choice but to accept what is being offered and therefore he or she is not sensitive to the type and quality of the services offered, but in the private sector the service provider is concerned about the client’s satisfaction and their future returns for further services.

In recent years, and all over the world, governments’ attention to offering services of higher quality to the people in order to gain their confi dence is becoming increasingly evident. They wish to increase the people’s satisfaction and thus raise the Illustration level of their participation in social activities. Studies reveal that to clarify the concept of Total Quality Management numerous articles and books have been written by experts and scholars. Different ideas and opinions have been expressed about the diffi culties and problems that face this sector and which indicate that, because of cultural differences, the establishment of management systems in different countries requires local adjustments. In Iran too because of the high degree of control by the state on the structure and composition of human resources, absence of a proper strategic human resource management, lack of adequate consideration of the law… the administrative system is both ineffi cient and ineffective. This paper is the result of a study carried out with the object of “Designing a Model for TQM in the Iranian Public Sector.”

Total Quality Management in the Public Sector
TQM initially emerged in the production units of the private sector but gradually extended to the public sector as well. In recent years, many public sector organizations have decided to apply the quality management system with a focus on customer satisfaction.

Tables 2 and 3 Historically all the public sector organizations in Iran have been tied to the authorities and government decisions. From the point of view of a bureaucratic management, governmental organizations have traditionally considered politicians as their ultimate clients and their first duty would therefore be to ensure the satisfaction of these “masters” and the government’s objectives. They fail to realize that meeting the satisfaction of the politicians is not the same as ensuring that the people are satisfi ed with their work. Weberianism in the public sector is the same as Taylorism in the private sector because Weberianism in the public sector, just as Taylorism in the private sector, emphasizes the separation of activities, especially the separation of planning from action. Weberianism prevailed in the public sector from the time when the most common economic agents were in the hands of the officials.

Supporting quality in this state of affairs (based on bureaucratic and hierarchical theories) has a goal to obtain and that is higher and higher financial profits and therefore it does not give much attention to the public and for this reason this view is not very realistic. The viewpoint that stresses a reduction of political forces and greater attention paid to people’s satisfaction is in fact based on the principle that the client is at the centre of all efforts and that all decisions must be made in order to meet the people’s satisfaction.

Tables 4 and 5 This thought holds that TQM for organs in the public sector is better than Weberianism and it (TQM) is also better than Taylorism in the private sector.

Viewpoints of traditional public organizations and viewpoints of public organizations that follow a TQM approach
TQM addresses a field and a process that ensure the necessary coordination for meeting customer requirements and even more. TQM encompasses all sections and subsidiaries of the organization. It prepares the top strategic management and organizes the operations needed for meeting the customers’ requirements. All organizations that adopt TQM attach great importance to the management of data systems in all processes and to eradicating the obstacles that exist on the way of Continual Improvement.

The government organizations with traditional approach are different to government organizations that follow a TQM approach, as follows: Tables 6 and 7

  1. Those with a traditional approach are company-oriented and those with TQM are customer-oriented
  2. Those with traditional approach tend to think and plan haphazardly depending on the conditions of the time, but those with TQM approach plan longterm
  3. Government organizations are managed to meet customer needs, through assumptions, data on costs and guesswork, but those that follow a TQM approach, make decisions based on right and correct data
  4. Traditional organizations are managed by sustaining and enduring losses caused by inefficiency but TQM organizations identify and eradicate harmful operations
  5. Traditional organizations solve problems only in crises, but TQM organizations seek improvements at all times
  6. Traditional organizations always solve problems after they occur but TQM organizations try to prevent problems and avoid mistakes
  7. Traditional organizations have autonomous subsidiaries that have slight relations with the others, but TQM organizations have teams that consist of members of staff from all levels
  8. Traditional organizations tend to have limited communications and decision-makings, but TQM organizations use staff participation in all decisionmakings and communication processes
  9. In traditional organizations, the problems are not solved: they are either digested or the problem is wiped out and forgotten, but in TQM organizations problems are attacked and defects and faults are eradicated
  10. Traditional organizations consider the details and processes without considering the other parts of the organization, but in TQM organizations problems are considered to originate from the totality of the system
  11. Traditional organizations tend to consider their employees as ‘things’ that should be trained, educated, classified and expected to do certain jobs but TQM organizations respect their staff, have confidence in them and expect more of them.

Illustration Models and theories of TQM in the public sector
The dimensions of TQM in the public sector differ from those of the private sector. In the private sector the quality dimensions include price, durability, reliability, prompt delivery, performance, after sales services, appearance, fame and reputation, and safety and social effects, which are all assessed by the customer.

But we should note that TQM dimensions in the public sector must go far beyond the customer’s view on a product as a thing. Proper studies on TQM models in the public sector reveal that TQM dimensions in this sector differ from those of the private sector. The tables presented here outline some of these models.

to be countinued

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