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Chapter 8. Integrity Begets Quality

During the 1980s, and into the early 1990s, Total Quality Management (TQM) was the Pet Rock or hula hoop of the business world. Most big companies—and nonbusinesses as well—proclaimed fervent belief in Quality. Multitudes of books on the subject were rapidly produced and made lots of money for their authors. New and established consultants benefited from the willingness to spend whatever it took to get to the pinnacle of the Everest of quality. Award programs, such as the Malcolm Baldrige Award, established by the U.S. Congress in 1987, bestowed accolades on organizations that epitomized success in achieving quality. Today, TQM lives on in such programs as Six Sigma, which gained some popularity when it was espoused by GE's former CEO, Jack Welch.

Unfortunately, as we pointed out in the preceding chapter, entropy has often taken hold of the process. Many companies that tried to enforce quality only by borrowing strategies, formulas, and pronouncements from others wound up spending enormous amounts of wasted energy with little or no eventual improvement in their competitive standing.


  

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