The effectiveness of total quality management as a school improvement process

2020-05-19T23:52:56Z (GMT) by Fernandes, Venesser Marian
Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the contribution that Total Quality Management (TQM) programs have made in the provision of quality education within schools in Victoria, Australia. Through case-study analysis, two state primary schools in Victoria who have made use of TQM programs within their school improvement processes were studied. Design/Methodology/Approach In order to investigate the experiences of the two case-study schools, a mixed-methods approach was used. This study has been designed as a retrospective, instrumental, organisational case-study using mainly qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews, content analysis, document analysis and semi-structured observations as well as one quantitative method that involved using a Self-Assessment Quality Checklist. Grounded theory methods were used for data-coding and the Australian Business Excellence Framework was used as the main data analysis tool. The participants from each case-study school included: The principal, a middle ¬management member -coordinator, a teaching staff member, an administrative staff member, the Total Quality Management consultant and a school council member using a multi-level data collection approach. The analysis determined the extent to which TQM programs can be used as valuable contributors towards school improvement processes conducted in state primary schools within Victoria, Australia. It looked at the effect these particular TQM programs have had on the overall teaching and learning process and studied significant aspects of these programs which have assisted the case-study schools in developing a culture for continuous improvement. Findings The findings of this study indicate that there are a number of positive implications for the application of Total Quality Management philosophy and programs within educational organisations such as primary schools. Through this study, it was found that TQM programs have a definite impact on the leadership system, the organisational culture and the mechanisms of continuous improvement within schools. It was also found that there are serious implications for the application of TQM programs within state primary as well as state secondary schools in Victoria, Australia. Originality/Value As a synthesis form of the analysis, a model for school improvement that focuses on schools being strategically-oriented learning organisations through an effective leadership system has been suggested. Also, recommendations on the use of the Australian Business Excellence Framework as a self-assessment auditing tool by schools in Victoria, Australia have been made.