The Application of Deming's Management Method in Higher Education Institutions

The Application of Deming's Management Method in Higher Education Institutions

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2265-2.ch005


The final chapter, indicates how Deming's philosophy could help the transformation of higher education institutions. Practical issues of the implementation of Deming's management method are presented such as: (a) leadership should focus on continuous improvement of the organization's products and services, (b) the new philosophy should be diffused to all employees, and (c) certain particular actions are needed in order to transform the organization through the contribution of all employees and other primary stakeholders. Furthermore, this chapter presents the actions to be followed, in order to: (a) educate and strengthen institution's employees and faculty and remove obstacles that hinder their constructive cooperation, and (b) promote practices that create a working staff environment, suitable for efficient and joyful work. Finally, the reader may find proposals to leadership regarding the improvement of organization's processes, effective cooperation with suppliers and the establishment of clear instructions to all parties involved, towards a common goal.
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Applying Deming On Leadership In Higher Education Institutions

Engelkemeyer (1993) reported the weaknesses of contemporary higher education institutions and characterized them as having poor teaching, old fashioned programs, anachronistic curricula, expensive tuition, and operating in an inflexible environment. According to Evans and Lindsay (2002) education is not just a human service; it is a “pure service.” Also education, like any other service, aims to meet and exceed the needs of its service users, although it differs from most other services. In a pure service the quality of the service is based on the reactivity, dialogue and relationship that exist between teacher and student and the appropriate methods used to achieve specified learning outcomes. This provides teachers with knowledge, skills and attitudes and the means they can use to support students in the learning process. Another point that higher education institutions differ from other services is that, except for students who are the main recipients of their services, many other stakeholders are involved. Student's parents, prospective employers and society as a whole, all have a legitimate interest in the success and relevance of the education offered (Madu & Kuei, 1993).

W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) is considered as the man who discovered quality, although he never defined or described quality precisely. His progressive thinking on organizational management, leadership and especially quality, established him as an important figure widely known. His theoretical beliefs are grounded in continuous quality improvement and in the commitment of management to implement this. Literature has provided evidence that Deming’s theory is applicable in higher education institutions and that his management philosophy and method could contribute to the development of action plans to accomplish their transformation in tertiary Education (Winchip, 1996; Andrews, 1994). In particular, Winchip (1996) in her explanatory study about the adaptability of Deming’s management philosophy to higher education institutions demonstrates that Deming’s philosophy could help higher education to:

  • Develop action plans to achieve the institution's goals,

  • Establish long-term relationships/alliances, based on mutual trust between the educational systems, governmental agencies, business, and industry that is crucial for the future of higher education institutions,

  • Implement Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) all over the system,

  • Provide direction for changing ineffective policies and practices,

  • Realize that the establishment of policies and practices are actually management responsibilities,

  • Establish leadership to help people continuously improve performance (efficiency, effectiveness, quality, competitiveness),

  • Build a sense of collective responsibility.

Also, Andrews (1994) in her study about adapting Deming’s philosophy and principles in the instructional process of higher education institutions provide evidence that:

  • Deming’s philosophy and principles can be applied to the teaching and learning process,

  • A Deming Educator Conceptual Model has been created which includes the following:

More specifically, a Deming Educator demonstrates the following personal characteristics:

  • o

    Knowledge of Deming and a desire to apply his ideas to instruction.

  • o

    Positive attitudes towards students/recipients of the knowledge. Trust in and respect for students.

  • o

    Flexibility in adjusting instructional strategies and techniques.

  • o

    Desire to improve his/her professional competence.

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