Philip Crosby’s View on TQM Total Quality Management

Philip Crosby's View on TQM Total Quality Management

Another famous quality guru, Philip B. Crosby, was the founder of Philip Crosby Associates in 1979. He worked as a vice-president for ITT as a quality director. According to Deming, Crosby is known more as a “quality technician” than a TQM philosopher.

Crosby’s Quality Management Approach

His quality management approach largely relies on quantifiable tools and techniques. Crosby identified a number of important principles and practices for a successful quality improvement program, which include,

  1. management participation,
  2. management responsibility for quality,
  3. employee recognition,
  4. education,
  5. reduction of the cost of quality (prevention costs, appraisal costs, and failure costs),
  6. emphasis on prevention rather than after-the-event inspection,
  7. doing things right the first time, and
  8. zero defects.

Addressing the Causes of Mistakes

Crosby claims that mistakes are caused by two reasons: lack of knowledge and lack of attention. Education and training can eliminate the first cause, and a personal commitment to excellence (zero defects) and attention to detail will cure the second.

The Importance of Management Style

Crosby also stressed the importance of management style to successful quality improvement. The key to quality improvement is to change the thinking of top managers—to get them not to accept mistakes and defects, as this would, in turn, reduce work expectations and standards in their jobs.

Commitment and Communication

Focusing on both commitment and communication is essential.

Quality Management Maturity Grid

Crosby presented the quality management maturity grid, which firms can use to evaluate their quality management maturity.

The five stages are;

  1. uncertainty,
  2. awakening,
  3. enlightenment,
  4. wisdom, and
  5. certainty.

These stages can be used to assess progress in a number of measurement categories, such as;

  1. management understanding and attitude,
  2. quality organization status,
  3. problem handling,
  4. cost of quality as a percentage of sales, and
  5. summation of firm quality posture.

Tools for Evaluating Quality Status

The quality management maturity grid and cost of quality measures are the main tools for managers to evaluate their quality status.

Crosby’s 14-Step Program for Quality Improvement

Crosby developed a 14-step program that can guide firms in pursuing quality improvement.

  1. Commitment of Management
  2. Quality Improvement Team
  3. Quality Measurement
  4. Cost of Quality
  5. Quality Awareness
  6. Corrective Action
  7. Planning for Zero Defects
  8. Training for Supervisors
  9. Zero Defects Day
  10. Goal Setting
  11. Removal of Errors
  12. Recognition
  13. Quality Councils
  14. Do It Over Again

These steps are listed as follows;

Commitment of Management

To make it clear where management stands on quality.

Quality Improvement Team

To run the quality improvement program.

Quality Measurement

To provide a display of current and potential nonconformance problems in a manner that permits objective evaluation and corrective action.

Cost of Quality

To define the ingredients of the cost of quality and explain its use as a management tool.

Quality Awareness

To provide a method of raising the personal concern felt by all personnel in the company toward the conformance of the product or service and the quality reputation of the company.

Corrective Action

To provide a systematic method of resolving forever the problems that are identified through previous action steps.

Planning for Zero Defects

To investigate the various activities that must be conducted in preparation for formally launching the Zero Defects program.

Training for Supervisors

To define the type of training, supervisors need to actively carry out their part of the quality improvement program.

Zero Defects Day

To create an event that will make all employees realize, through a personal experience, that there has been a change.

Goal Setting

To turn pledges and commitment into actions by encouraging individuals to establish improvement goals for themselves and their groups.

Removal of Errors

To give the individual employee a method of communicating to management the situation that makes it difficult for the employee to meet the pledge to improve.


Recognizing and appreciating the participants in the program.

Quality Councils

A quality council is needed to bring together professional quality people for planned communication on a regular basis.

Do It Over Again

Highlight the continuous improvement program because it is a never-ending journey.