The effect of TQM on research- and vice versa

Date of publication: September 1, 1993

Author: Diana Brown

Abstract:

Royal Mail, the letters' collection, distribution and delivery business in the UK, with 175 employees, one of the country's largest employers, embarked on Total Quality Management in 1988. This paper examines, in outline, the surveys in place to measure the quality of service offered to external customers, together with measures of customer perception and satisfaction. The paper then details the research which is carried out among employees, who can be considered the "internal" customers of an organisation. The design, execution, reporting and use of the Employee Opinion surveys are covered. The key measures of Employee Opinion are overall satisfaction with Royal Mail as an employer; satisfaction with communications; morale; believing that Royal Mail feels that its employees are important; and the fact that Royal Mail recognises good work by its employees. Other measures such as the Effective Leadership feedback are also covered. This is part of the Leadership Charter, adopted by Royal Mail in 1992 and provides feedback to all team leaders on how their style of management is perceived by the people who report to them. Employee research is one of the most challenging areas for a researcher since not only technical considerations must be borne in mind, but also other factors, such as internal politics, play an important part. Finally, the importance and difficulty of finding new ways of communicating the results of research to non-researchers (even the innumerate) are stressed.

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