Control Systems and Quality Management
For a control system to be effective it must focus on the critical points where failure isn’t accepted, integrate easily into the existing processes, should be easily accepted by the employees, provide information when needed and should be accurate and easy to understand. The control system should lead to goal congruence means that there should be an overlap of the organizational performance by its members with the organizational requirements or intended goals. An organization’s management must develop a control system according to its goals and resources.
For the managers, control is not only of the organization but also the departments, teams and employees. Control strategies are applied at the top levels to focus on the entire organization and also at the lower levels where the managers of the departments and supervisors focus on the functional departments and the individuals (Daft, 2008). Control systems within an organization are internal and there is a standard control model that most organizations tend to follow. Firstly, there are objectives, and then there is a performance standard against which the internal performance can be compared.
Then there is a reporting system which is designed in a way so the others can use it easily. Actual performance is
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These centers use the strategic plan as guidance and perform the operations accordingly. The outcomes of these centers are then compared to those presented to them in the budget in order to determine the performance. Any gaps are monitored and feedback is given to the responsibility centers and corrective actions are taken in response to the gaps that are discovered (Anthony, Dearden & Vancil, 2007). Control is one of the four roles of management that exist in almost every organization. And there are three types of control that exist: management control, strategy formulation and task control.
Functional and Dysfunctional Control Systems: The control systems are like a performance measurement system. Hence their use can have both functional and dysfunctional effects. The performance of this control system leads to analysis of whether it is functional or dysfunctional. Functional effects of control in an organization can be that an effective control blocks the flow of variety from disturbances to essential variables. Hence, it has the impact of attenuation when the disturbances are decreased as much as possible.
There is also the function of amplification when the required control is increased as much as possible. Then the goals are determined through control. There is also designing which is a function of control because it helps in specifying and implementing needed for the transformations that might be required. There is also operational regulation and the day-to-day tasks are considered for transformation. Moreover, these transformations are performed and the goals are realized. There are lots of reasons as to the dysfunctional effects of control systems.
The general systems theory attributes one of the factors the organization’s inability to change according to the availability of the external resources. The control systems fail because they tend to ignore the three functions of control. Also there is failure to realize the multiple functions of control which leads to organizational difficulty. There is improper design within the organization- the internal structures can be incomplete or are not consistent and might be treated as single faceted instead they are multi-faceted.
Two components might be working at a cross purpose. And the subordinates get confused as to which goal to focus on because the importance of the conflicting goals is not clarified. According to the contingency theory, a control system fails because the parts of the system do not complement each other and is engineering oriented. Hence it can be summarized that two major reasons can lead to the dysfunctional effects. There can either be design failure when the designers of the system fail to focus on the completeness, consistency and multi-dimensionality.
Another one is the failure to realize the three functions of control systems and fails to live up to the required expectations. Criteria for Developing and Evaluating Control Systems: The foremost criterion of a control system is the extent to which it will affect and motivate people to perform in ways so as to achieve organizational objectives. Therefore, the control system is designed with the purpose of promoting goal congruence which indicates the mutuality between the organizational members and the organization itself. Hence, an effective control system leads to goal congruence.
To achieve goal congruence, the control system is expected to control the goals of performance, lead to behaviors that are expected and desired of the individuals and the consistency with which it brings out such desired behaviors. For many, the purpose of control systems in an organization is to achieve objectives. However, many perceive the narrow view of achieving control objectives (Pickett & Pickett, 2001). These control objectives include efficiency, effectiveness, compliance, accountability and regularity as well as the set goals of the organization.
The essential part is developing a control system that keeps in mind the resources and goals of the organization. Hence the control system has to be tailored that way that it is aligned to the organizational aspects. An effective control system has certain characteristics. For instance, the control system should focus on the critical points that are; parts in an organization where there is no room for failure and costs have to be kept strictly in accordance with the specific amount.
Hence, the critical points are mostly those areas of the organizational operations that contribute directly to the key operations or procedures of an organization. Also, a control system which is effective has to be such that it can be easily incorporated into the existing processes and procedures of the organization. There should not be any bottlenecks as a result of the integration of the control system and no halting of procedures or even altering them that is, if they are already achieving the organizational goals. The control system has to be implemented in a way so that the human resource of the organization accepts it.
Hence, it calls for a certain amount of change and the employees should embrace it without any dissatisfaction with it. Employee involvement in the design of controls can lead to better implementation and so it is also one of the criteria for an effective control system. Another criterion for an effective control system is the availability of information. This is because the there are deadlines to meet, projects to complete, resources to allocate and prioritization has to be done. Hence, the control system should keep in mind the deadlines and need of information and it is effective if caters to such needs of an organization.
Otherwise, most of these issues related to the availability of information lead to failures and disappointing results. Costs are always involved in the shortcomings in an organization and therefore, the control system should be economically feasible. It should give sufficient returns on investment; it should not be as over-priced and with excessive details and functions that are not even required by the organizational operations. The benefits of the control offered should outweigh the costs that are incurred in its implementation. Apart from the above factors, the control system should provide accuracy.
There should not be any loopholes and factual information should be consistent and reliable without any doubts. Moreover, the information should be useful and should not provide unnecessary details that lead to wastage of time. The control system should have controls with easy comprehensibility. They should be easily understood as well as managed by the employees without making them dissatisfied and frustrated that it affects the performance. Overall they should be simple yet effective. Apart from the abovementioned criteria, there are instrumental criteria for determining the effectiveness of the control system.
The control system should have behavioral comprehensiveness that is; it should identify all the relevant behaviors and goals that are in mutuality with the organization’s interests and purpose of existence. Also, there should be behavior validity of the control system which implies the extent to which the control system of the organization leads to desired or intended behaviors. Hence, its motivating abilities are realized from this instrumental factor. If the behavior is in conflict with the desired goals then the control system is behaviorally invalid. Total Quality Management:
Total quality management is a philosophy of management that focuses on making the best use of all the available resources as well as opportunities along with constant improvement. It is essential for efficiency and competitiveness and successful organizations are majorly changing in their perspectives of performance and customer inclination because of the constant change. There are six key factors in total quality improvement (Hakes, 1991). Customers are one of the important performance measures for such organizations because their demands should either be met or exceeded.
The internal staff is also included which believes in the business that is conducted and hence contributes wholly in providing those services and products to the external customers. Then, there is continuous improvement, which should be there in all aspects of performance. Once targets are met, new ones are set and the aims are moved to an entire high level and efficiency in the services provided. This leads to competitive edge over static or slow competitors. This factor implies that total quality management is not a spot-on program but rather an ongoing process which must be targeted at a steady pace which is sustainable.
Moreover, there should be control over the business processes and not just on specific processes, operations, products or services. Each process no matter how distinct it is should be controlled in appropriate manners and nothing should be ignored or tackled haphazardly. There is also upstream preventive management in total quality management. This aspect implies that the organization does not have to sit and wait for issues and problems to arise, in fact, there should be seeking of problems and addressing of such issues beforehand and thus, prevention is done.
There should be planning of inspection and information should be sought so as to discover potential problems. Leading to this is the concept of ongoing preventive action in which there is constant discovery of the root causes of problems and solving them. The organizational staff should show full cooperation to highlight any such hindrances and such an action should be taken so that there is no recurrence in future as much as possible. Lastly, like every successful organization there should be teamwork and leadership should be effective and transformational.
The leader should be visionary so as to reflect already on the problems before they arise and allow the individuals to believe in the leadership so that they are pursued by the leader effectively. Teamwork is the essence of achieving organizational goals and coping with the problems beforehand and cooperating with the other departmental members in the interest of the organization. Benchmarking is when the organization realizes the critical factors for success and keeps track of the best practices of the industry.
The organization then implements the transformations required to come up to the level of those thriving in the industry and maybe even focusing on beating them to it. It shares lot of common features with total quality management such as updating of the processes and perceiving problems beforehand. As for knowledge management for organizations, they need to utilize all sources of knowledge: formal or informal and this can happen if the organization develops an open knowledge sharing environment and develops processes that facilitate the sharing and exploiting of available information through proper technologies.
Knowledge is more than information for organizations and information can lead to overload, disturbances, distractions and waste of time. Hence, knowledge is the information which processed and identified as being relative to the needs of the organization. As for the organization of oil and gas sector, total quality management can lead to a lot of betterment and motivation amongst the employees. This is because training and education needs are formally addressed as part of strategic planning. Knowledge is gained from benchmarking and there is reduction in the non-value adding steps in the decision making processes.
The sources on the information on customer requirements and competitor’s capabilities are gained due to ongoing improvement and the upstream preventive management. New product introduction processes can be introduced and integrates the efforts of many teams into one and three are new product development cycles. The maintenance costs are reduced for both the oil and the gas company and the customers. In such a business, the major elements are drilling and production and there is quality control staff as well.
The best practices are followed as defined by the ISO standards. Implications: Total quality management and control systems lead to more motivated personnel as identified above. This is because the criteria are met by the control systems and one of it is to come up with the required behavior amongst the staff that would lead to goal congruence within the organization. Total quality management would lead to better performance because the staff is more convinced to improve the business processes and instead of avoiding problems, eliminating them from their roots.
There is a lot of effect on the personal life because they feel more devoted to organization and hence secure and also there is exemplary performance from their part. They are provided training and hence they can gracefully embrace the change instead of being against it and resisting it and hindering the performance of the organization as well. References: Besterfield, D. H (2003) Total quality management, India, Pearson Education, Inc Daft, R. L (2008), Organization theory and design, USA, Cengage Learning Pickett, K. H. S & Pickett, J. M (2001) Internal control: A manager’s journey, New York, USA, John Wiley & Sons