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Joseph Kelada

DBA Graduate - 2010

Thesis title

Why do the majority of change initiatives fail and what to do about it? The example of Total Quality Management.


Jean-paul Cassar
Based on his professional experience in different types of organizations with various responsibilities in the field of Quality management, the author has noted a high and alarming rate of failure in change initiatives and realized their highly negative consequences on business performance. The literature review in three parts deals with (1) change management, (2) change initiative failures & successes, and (3) the special case of TQM change initiatives. It confirmed that there is a high rate of change initiatives failures in general, and especially in the case of TQM. Beside the causes in the literature, this study identifies three important causes for failures of change initiatives: (1) A large number of organizations launch change initiatives based on a wrong diagnosis or even worst based on no diagnosis at all. (2) The fact that most managers and consultants, practitioners and academics, time and time again, tend to confuse problems with causes, dysfunctions, weaknesses, symptoms and consequences. This is the reason why many attempts to solve problems do fail to change a situation. (3) As far as TQM is concerned, an important cause of failure of the change initiatives is the fact that there is no clear and objective definition of TQM. The very origin of Total Quality is, to say the least, the object of confusion in the business community. Some authors allege that it was Dr W. Edwards Deming, the world known Quality Guru, who has coined tins expression. Due to the importance of the investments in people and resources involved in the many change initiatives in all sectors of the business world, we have chosen to examine the aspects of such changes. This led us to suggest a framework that should improve this situation. We have developed and implemented this framework in TQM projects but also in Corporate Performance Diagnosis consultancy projects as well as in the teaching in the Ph.D, MEA and M.Sc. programs in our Business School.To illustrate the application of this framework we have discussed a number of case studies either from articles in specialized publications or case studies representing a success or a failure.