Transformational change requires a shift in conduct that results in an organisation significantly different in structure, processes, culture, and strategy. Transitional change seeks to achieve a known desired state different from the existing one, examples of which are the basis of much organisational change literature (Kanter, 1983; Nadler and Tushman, 1989).
TQM refers to a management process directed at establishing organised continuous development activities involving everyone in the organisation in a totally integrated effort towards improving performance at every level (Almaraz, 1994). It is a management philosophy and business strategy rooted in the works of Deming (1986), Ishikawa (1985), Juran (1988), and Crosby (1989). Hackman and Wageman (1995) lists TQM's four general principles:
TQM focuses on work processes, explicit identification and measurement of internal and external customer requirements, analysis of variances, use of cross-functional teams, management by facts (data), learning and continuous improvement, and the use of process management heuristics. Through data collection, analysis, hypothesis formation and testing, process changes can be devised and introduced steadily and continuously to improve quality.
Whilst radical change is episodic, emergent, second order, transitional or transformational, TQM is designed for continuous, planned, first order, and developmental change. Here lies a conceptual discrepancy that may lead us to conclude that having a TQM culture does not prepare a firm to manage the radical changes affecting it. TQM focuses on incremental changes to work processes designed for a given set of assumptions defined by customer needs, a legislative climate, and technology conditions. What happens if these assumptions undergo a radical change
We review the literature on the issue and inquire if other change management tools may be more appropriate.
Lewin (1951) conceptualised change as a three-stage process involving unfreezing (the existing organisational equilibrium), moving (to a new position), and refreezing (in a new equilibrium position). Schein (1987) elaborated that unfreezing involves disconfirmation of expectations, creation of guilt or anxiety, and provision of psychological safety that converts anxiety into motivation to change. Moving to a new position is achieved through cognitive restructuring, often by identifying with a new role model or mentor and scanning the environment for new information. Refreezing occurs when the new point of view is integrated into the total personality and concept of self and significant