Total quality management for sustainable development : focus on processes

Sammanfattning: The purpose of this thesis is to study how synergies of Total Quality Management (TQM) and Sustainable Development (SD) can be realized. Emphasis has been on increasing the focus on processes. A process based change model for SD has been developed. The model should be applicable for all types of organizations, but with a particular focus on organizations in the Third World. During the last decade SD has become an important topic on a global, national and organizational level, with examples being the Kyoto conference on climate change in 1997 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg 2002. On an organizational level the Triple Bottom Line, consisting of reporting in the economic, environmental and social dimensions, is often used to measure SD in organizations. The TBL is based on the common understanding that good economic performance is required to enable environmental and social concern. Since TQM has been proven to contribute to the economic performance it should therefore also contribute to SD. Synergies between TQM and SD have been discussed in the literature but further important synergies remain untapped. Process focus and process management are believed to be important for realizing these synergies. Even if process management has been shown to contribute to organizational performance, it seems that most organizations do not focus on processes. This seems specifically to apply to process management for SD. There is a need to facilitate the start-up of process based improvement work for SD. Descriptive and easy-to-use process models should be able to enhance the introduction of process management. The ability to identify, map and measure the organizational processes constitutes an important part of identifying opportunities for improvement. Clearly presented opportunities could lead to an increased interest for improvement. Process models could be used for both describing actual performance and the process to improve it. This thesis studies how a process based change model for SD could look and how it could be used. Different aspects of the model have been studied in action oriented research both in First and Third World organizations. Results show that the value "focus on processes" forms a useful basis for realizing synergies between TQM and SD. The proposed change model can be used to identify change elements and to assess the current level of SD- performance. The model is suitable for change on organizational and process levels. The change model can be seen as a system model with a number of independent sub-systems. Important sub-systems are, for example, a generic process chart, a generic indicator framework for TBL and a generic change process for SD. The change model needs to be further developed but should already in its current form support more effective and efficient improvement for SD.