I never had more than a minimal exposure to issues relating to quality improvement during my 13 years as the CEO of a non-profit organization, nor much more while authoring several books on non-profit management. In researching this book, I have come to understand that I was not alone in my ignorance about these issues within our sector. Like most who run non-profit organizations, my primary focus was a host of survival issues—how to secure enough funds to meet payroll, how to get vital work done when a sick employee is absent, how to communicate information to a key board member who asked for it today and wanted it yesterday, and how to accomplish the mission of the organization despite an indomitable tidal wave of paperwork.
My introduction to TQM came as a result of an assignment in a Master’s level “Research Methods” class at Penn State University, a course I was taking in preparation for entering a Ph.D. program in Public Administration. Everyone in the class was asked to read and summarize an article on TQM. To this day, I haven’t figured out what this assignment had to do with the course, which was designed to teach us how to use statistical methods to conduct scientifically valid research. It was not until the following semester, when I was enrolled in a Ph.D. seminar entitled “Research and Theory in Public Management,” that I became inundated with references to TQM, not only in the textbooks and other reading material, but also by the in-class comments of my classmates.
For my term paper in this Public Management class, I chose the topic “Total Quality Management in the Healthcare Industry—Fad or New Paradigm?” I immersed myself in the TQM literature and found a lot that I believe has value to non-profit executives concerned with improving the quality and performance of their organizations.
Frankly, I became fascinated with what TQM has to offer, and at the same time bewildered by the massive failure of this management philosophy to penetrate much of the non-profit sector, except for the healthcare industry. After reviewing hundreds of articles about TQM, I found very few that related to the non-profit sector other than hospitals, and precious few books.
In making inquiries to academicians and practitioners about my search for readable and practical TQM literature, I was greeted with an ambivalence about the desirability and validity of TQM interventions. Some of those responses steered me in other directions related to change management. TQM is passé, but check out Theory of Constraints, one professor affiliated with Penn State recommended. Another from Seton Hall University attested that BPR was the current rage, and another sent me to the burgeoning stacks of books touting outcome-based management, an innovative tool of choice for many non-profits. A personal friend who is a consultant to non-profit organizations told me of his experiences with Large Group Intervention. When I read a book on the relevance of chaos theory to public management, bells went off in my head saying that this might well be the aspect of management theory that explains how organizations begin, evolve, and react to change.
What do the management techniques I write about have to offer non-profit managers? What I have done with this book is to provide a taste of change management techniques in a non-profit context, in a readable, practical format. There are lots of books on each of these techniques, but I haven’t found any that provide an introduction to more than one in the same book, and certainly none is available that is geared to an audience of non-profit managers and board members.
Experience has shown that many principles of management are generic in that it does not matter if they are applied to organizations in the private sector, public sector, or voluntary sector. Many of the best minds in management theory do not make a distinction in the type of organization for which their advice applies, and thinkers such as Herbert Simon, Peter Drucker, and Phil Crosby have provided classical principles of management that are interdisciplinary. For many readers, this will be their first exposure to formal change management strategies such as TQM, BPR, benchmarking, LGI, and OBM. I’ve tried to explain these strategies in a way that is not too threatening, if not actively inviting.
An additional purpose of this book is to provide easy access to additional resources on the Internet. I have included Web sites that are informative, free, and, presumably, will be continually updated not only with information about the change management strategies in this book but about entirely new ones that evolve.
Purpose of This Book
The purpose of this book is to present a case for non-profit organizational leaders to continually assess the quality and performance of their organizations’ programs, and to take steps to continually improve that quality and performance. Quality improvement may sound like an amorphous concept, and this book seeks to provide the framework for non-profit leaders to take concrete actions to improve quality, not just talk about it.
Who Should Use This book
This book should be of benefit to non-profit executives who are looking for ways to keep their organizations as competitive as they can be. Non-profit organization board members should also find this book useful. In their governance, they need to be asking questions about quality that, in today’s environment, are rarely being asked at board meetings. This book can also be used as a textbook in non-profit management classes. There is an expansion of academic programs geared toward practicing and future non-profit executives.
What This Book Does
In Chapter 1, I discuss why quality improvement is an important, but often neglected, aspect of non-profit management as we are entering the 21st century.
In Chapter 2, I write about Total Quality Management (TQM) and why this change management strategy has taken center stage as the change management strategy of choice for thousands of organizations.
Chapter 3 provides an introduction to Business Process Reengineering (BPR), which many see as a logical successor to TQM in facilitating dramatic, radical improvement in organizations.
Chapter 4, written by Jason Saul, is an introduction to benchmarking and best practices, the process of systematically identifying and adapting other organizations’ successful ideas to improve one’s own performance. I am grateful that Mr. Saul, a national expert on benchmarking as applied to non-profit organizations, agreed to share his expertise with readers of this book.
Chapter 5 introduces outcome-based management as a technique to judge whether an organization is truly accomplishing what it sets out to do rather than merely providing services, regardless of the value these services add to the lives of clients. This chapter was co-authored by Frederick Richmond.
Chapter 6 is an introduction to Large Group Intervention techniques, and was co-authored by Gerald Gorelick, an organizational development consultant now in private practice.
Chapter 7 provides an introduction to chaos theory. This theory seeks to explain what happens in dynamic, non-linear systems in both nature and in organizations, and offers insights into obtaining dramatic changes in organizational performance.
In Chapter 8, I discuss the role of non-profit organization boards in improving quality of their organizations. Boards are increasingly evolving beyond the honorary governing bodies they once were, and must be full partners with management for improving quality and performance in organizations.
My concluding comments are included in Chapter 9. In this chapter, I describe some of the leading theories of organization, and discuss the limitations of a scientific approach to managing organizations.
At the end of each chapter, there is an interview with a non-profit organization leader, consultant, or association executive, in which you will read about some personal experiences with a change management intervention technique.
TQM teaches that one should adopt a philosophy of continuous improvement. White Hat Communications intends to publish subsequent editions of this book, and it is my intention to take the TQM philosophy to heart and improve each succeeding edition. Your comments and criticisms about this book would be appreciated as I begin to revise it to make it more valuable to my “customers.”
This is my fourth book published by White Hat Communications of interest to non-profit organizations. Prior books have been The Pennsylvania Non-Profit Handbook, now in its fourth edition; The Non-Profit Handbook, National Edition, which is based on the Pennsylvania handbook; and The Non-Profit Internet Handbook, which was co-authored by Gary Grant, Associate Dean for External Affairs of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. I look forward to continuing my collaboration with this forward-looking publishing company, and I am grateful to the company’s founder and owner, my wife, Linda, for her support and encouragement in completing this manuscript.
The author gratefully acknowledges Dr. Christopher McKenna and Dr. Jeremy Plant, both on the faculty of the School of Public Policy at Penn State University (Harrisburg). Dr. McKenna was responsible for introducing the concept of TQM to me in his “Research Methods” class, and Dr. Plant made numerous suggestions for improving the draft of my paper that was submitted in his “Research and Theory in Public Management” class and were incorporated into Chapter 2 of this book.
Thanks also go out to the consultants, non-profit executives, and association executives who gave me their time to be interviewed for this book. Their insights added to what you are reading in the sidebars in which their interviews appear, and they also pointed out books, articles, and other resources to me. I was delighted when Philip Crosby, one of the patriarchs of quality management, agreed to write the Foreword for this book. His writing on quality issues has been an inspiration to me, and his influence in this field is legendary.
Thanks also are due to the proofreaders and editors, including Linda Grobman and John Hope, and those who read all or parts of the manuscript and suggested improvements, including Dr. Lawrence Martin, Dr. John McNutt, Dr. Ann Whitney Breihan, and Michael A. Sand. I wish to thank Jason Saul, the author of Chapter 4, Introduction to Benchmarking, for his contribution to this book, and to Gerald Gorelick and Frederick Richmond for coauthoring chapters with me. Finally, I wish to thank my family for allowing me the opportunity to finish this book. I promise to wait a few months before beginning my next one.
Gary M. Grobman