Contrary to the well-researched operations side of the total quality management (TQM), its human dimension total quality management-based Human Resource Management practices (HRMtqm) has started attracting attention of the scholars and practitioners only recently (Kumar et al., 2020). The critique is that compared to the intangible or the soft side, the TQM literature is heavily inclined toward the technical or hard side (Para-González et al., 2016). This interest of scholars in exploring the relationship between TQM and human resource management (HRM) recently is primarily driven by the latest findings that the human-related quality management creates a learning-orientation and integrates knowledge to benefit the organizations (Gutierrez-Gutierrez et al., 2018).
Thus, as we describe in the subsequent sections, the main objective of this special issue is to explore and examine the total quality management-based Human Resource Management practices (HRMtqm).
Theoretical Background and Objectives
HRM, in the TQM framework, is guided by principles of human relations and developing employees. Though this exploration of the relationship between the HRM and TQM constructs is not restricted to recent the recent studies, its resurgence is predominantly because of the (1) content and process-related dynamics that require continuous improvement, (2) growing role of HRM in the strategy formulation of the firms, (3) higher value attached to quality over quantity of the human resource, and (4) dearth of studies that capture the recent developments in both HRM and TQM practices.
Scholars such as Donate et al. (2020) recently studied the relationship between high performance work systems and TQM. The authors considered TQM as an organizational philosophy. The authors argued, based on the literature, that both success and failure of a firm in developing and deploying the basic TQM principles are often rooted in the quality of the HRM practices. Thus, it would be of paramount significance for the firms to know “To what extent the high performing work systems and TQM are dependent on each other?”
Gutierrez-Gutierrez et al. (2018) used the dynamic capability view to examine the human resource-related quality management practices. These practices include training quality management managers to facilitate problem-solving that enhances learning orientation in firms because such training promotes intellectual stimulation, experimentation, dialog etc. In addition to training, according to the authors, empowerment and teamwork facilitate learning orientation. They emphasized on the need to explore and examine the contribution of such practices on strategic variables. Taking their agenda forward, the question that needs an answer is “What impact does human resource-related quality management practices on the strategic variables of a firm?
According to Schonberger (1994), jobs, teams, titles, leadership are the HRM pre-requisites for HRMtqm. The author, in 1994, observed a shift in the HRM premises and practices. For example, the shift was to process improvement is everyone’s job, teams would be multi-tasking, titles would be associates, and leadership would be more of inspirational. The core argument of the paper was that the HRM pre-requisites are dynamic and need to be updated as and when required. It gives birth to a fundamental question: “What are the jobs, teams, titles, leadership in the present times required to facilitate HRMtqm?”
According to Wickramasinghe (2012), disruption in the HRM function post-TQM implementation does happen. The author argued that TQM upgrades the role of HR function, redesigns the existing HR practices to fit into the quality requirements, systematizes training, and relates rewards and recognition to quality. Given the pivotal role of TQM in drastically changing the HRM function, the research examining this relationship is still scant. Thus, the question yet to be answered comprehensively is “How TQM implementation disrupts the HRM function of an organization?”
On the contrary, Yang (2006) posited and examined the effects of HRM practices on the implementation of TQM. Their underlying argument was that the level of implementation of the HRM and TQM practices depends on the HRM and TQM practices that are followed by an organization. However, the authors mentioned their limitations of covering only a few aspects of HRM and urged the research community to come up with further studies to fully establish this relationship. Thus, the question central to this discussion is “Which and how HRM practices affect TQM?”
The aforementioned discussion reveals that the TQM practices affect the HRM practices and also, in parallel, reveals that the HRM practices affect TQM practices. It suggests the existence of a two-way relationship between the HRM and TQM practices. However, evidence is required to prove such a relationship. Thus, the research question that requires attention is “Does there exist a two-way relationship between the HRM and TQM practices?
The sub-objectives of this special issue include:
• To intertwine the existing TQM and HRM theories.
• To explore the interdependency between the high performing work systems and TQM
• To identify and examine the human resource-related quality management practices
• To capture the changes in jobs, teams, titles, leadership pre-requisites for TQM
• To investigate the disruption in the HRM function post-TQM implementation
• To examine the impact of HRM practices on TQM
• To clarify if there exists a two-way relationship between the HRM and TQM practices
The main theme of this special issue is “managing human resources for total quality” and the sub-themes are:
• Theoretical links between TQM and HRM.
• Interdependency between the high performing work systems and TQM
• Human resource-related quality management practices
• Jobs, teams, titles, leadership pre-requisites for TQM
• Disruption in the HRM function post-TQM implementation
• Effects of HRM practices on TQM
• Two-way relationship between the HRM and TQM practices
• Paper submission deadline: 31 January 2021
• Anticipated publication date: December 2021
Information on how the Call for Papers will be produced and promoted
The potential authors would be approached through-
• emails: The CFP would be mailed to those who contributed papers to the HRM and quality management journals such as IJQRM, IJPQM, IJHRM, TQMBE, QMJ, IJPPM, etc.
• Social media: The CFP would be posted on social media websites such as LinkedIn, ResearchGate, research related Facebook groups and Facebook conference pages.
• Invitation: Few prominent scholars in the knowledge management field would be invited personally to contribute papers to the CFP.
Scholars agree that ensuring quality in the workforce is going to be a new normal and thus, there is a need to re-visit and intertwine the QM and HRM theories. The present circumstances with most of the organizations facing decreased levels of demands, require lean, agile and smart workforce which cannot occur without quality management. Moreover, this special issue proposal derives motivation from the top outlets such as IJHRM, IJQRM, JPQM, IJOPM etc. that publish works that are read and deliberated across the globe for the several years to come.
Donate, M. J., Ruiz-Monterrubio, E., de Pablo, J. D. S., & Peña, I. (2020). Total quality management and high-performance work systems for social capital development. Journal of Intellectual Capital. 21(1), 87-114.
Gutierrez-Gutierrez, L. J., Barrales-Molina, V., & Kaynak, H. (2018). The role of human resource-related quality management practices in new product development. International Journal of Operations & Production Management. 38(1), 43-66.
Kumar, V., Verma, P., Mangla, S. K., Mishra, A., Chowdhary, D., Sung, C. H., & Lai, K. K. (2020). Barriers to Total Quality Management for sustainability in Indian organizations. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management.
Para-González, L., Jiménez-Jiménez, D., & Martínez-Lorente, Á. N. R. (2016). Do total quality management and the European Foundation for Quality Management model encourage a quality-oriented human resource management system?. International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 17(3), 308-327.
Schonberger, R. J. (1994). Human resource management lessons from a decade of total quality management and reengineering. California Management Review, 36(4), 109-123.
Wickramasinghe, V. (2012). Influence of total quality management on human resource management practices. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management. 29(8), 836-850.
Yang, C. C. (2006). The impact of human resource management practices on the implementation of total quality management. The TQM Magazine. 18(2), 162-173.
Manish Gupta (PhD; Assistant Professor; IBS Hyderabad, India; [email protected]): His research interests include engagement at work and positive psychology. He is Editorial Team Member of 5 international journals and has completed 9 special issues for HRMR, AJIS, JGIM, NVSM, etc. His publications have appeared in the journals by APA, Emerald, Elsevier, Routledge, Wiley, Springer, Sage, etc. Manish is awarded the Top Peer Reviewer 2019 by Publons (Web of Science) and the ADHR best issue of 2018 award by AHRD.
Jiju Antony (PhD, Professor, School of Social Sciences, Edinburgh Business School; [email protected]): He is currently serving as the Editor of the International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Associate Editor of the TQM and Business Excellence Journal (a leading Quality Management Journal), and Associate Editor of Quality in Education (ASQ). He is serving on the Editorial Board of 10 international journals. His detailed profile can be accessed here: https://researchportal.hw.ac.uk/en/persons/jiju-antony
Jacob Kjær Eskildsen (PhD, Professor and Head of Department, Department of Management, Aarhus University, Denmark; [email protected]): He has worked extensively in the area of TQM and HRM. He is Editorial Board Member of Quality Management Journal and has guest edited several special issues. His specialties include Applied statistics, lean six sigma, measurement of customer satisfaction, measurement of job satisfaction, performance management. As part of his research, he has been involved in a number of linkage studies in individual companies trying to identify the relationship between the intangible assets of the company such as customer and employee satisfaction with financial performance.