The importance of defining what constitutes quality cannot be underestimated in the public sector. A police organization that defines quality as a reduction in the crime rate cannot be confident that its quality of service has increased. If the reduction in crime comes at the same time that citizen complaints of police brutality increase, there may be cause for concern rather than celebration. However, citizen complaints are not necessarily an effective measure of quality since some incidents that do not merit complaint will not be reported while other incidents that may not be worthy will generate citizen complaints.
Quality is key. (1998, April). American Printer, pp. 56-57.
Reger, R. K., et al. (1994, July). Reframing the organization. Academy of Management Review, pp. 565-584.
The retrofit approach is the approach that most in the field are familiar with, and it is the process of fitting TQM procedures to an existing organization (Reger, et al, 1994). This approach provides a way for an organization to take advantage of the benefits of TQM without the downtime requisite to put a complete startup approach in place. This is the approach used at American Express as it sought to implement its TQM program ("American Express," 1996). Because procedures are simply integrated into current work environments, however, this approach can lead to a high level of resistance to change, and the failure rate can be great if commensurate changes to the company culture are not also implemented at the same time.
The retrofit approach takes a current organization and imposes a TQM system on top of that organization. Changes are made to TQM procedures in order to fit the organization, and other changes are made to the organization in order to take the maximum benefit of the TQM system. The chief advantage of this approach is that it does not require that a plant or a company shut down during the time that the system is implemented. Instead, the changes are mad