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Influence of Ishikawa on Total Quality Management

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 905 words Published: 9th Oct 2020

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Total Quality Management is an operational philosophy aimed at and continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. Ishikawa can be declared as one of the assets of this field because his whole life was dedicated to the improvement of the quality of products and services. He developed some tools and also used the principles made by others. In recognition of his work, he was awarded many honors. This paper aims at exploring the works of Ishikawa and how he influenced quality practices worldwide.

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Ishikawa lived through an interesting period in the history of Japan. He took birth in Tokyo in 1915 and did his masters in Chemical Engineering in 1939.  He served as Naval Technical Officer for two years where he got the task to build 600 workers factory. After that, he worked for Nissan Liquid Fuel Company. While he was working at the University of Tokyo, he researched different statistical methods for quality management control. He got his Doctorate degree from the same university. He served as a member of different organization on quality control throughout his career (Best & Neuhauser, 2008).

Primary work and significant accomplishments

Ishikawa states that quality improvement is a continuous and never-ending process. He is of the view that there is always room of improvement. He represented the importance of quality tools such as Pareto chart, histogram, flow chart, control chart, and many others. Deming and Ishikawa shred same thoughts on quality control. Ishikawa did use some of his ideas but created his principles based on that. His principles can be identified in these categories: Determine targets and goals, identify methods to reach those targets, indulge in training and education, implement work, monitor and control effects and take appropriate action. Ishikawa had a strong belief of creating standards; he considered standards as the continuous improvement programs, which should be evaluated and changed continuously. They were not considered as an ultimate foundation of taking decisions, but customer satisfaction. He wanted managers to use customers' needs as the stem to all the decisions.

Ishikawa discovered the idea of quality circles; he drew this Japanese Philosophy from anonymity into acceptance worldwide. He believed in the leadership from higher management  (Ishikawa, 1985). According to him, quality control programs would fail without the help of top management. He stressed that the company's success is dependent on a firm commitment from the entire hierarchy. Another area of quality improvement he used to put emphasis is quality throughout the product life cycle. He believed customer satisfaction an ultimate standard and wanted managers to focus on customer needs while making decisions  (SkyMark Corporation, 2018).

Ishikawa is well known for his quality improvement tool, fishbone diagram. This diagram helps in identifying the root cause of the problem  (Neyestani, 2017). It helps in finding small causes to one major problem. Later quality gurus have appreciated his book ‘Guide to Quality Control’. Ishikawa’s notion of companywide quality control and insisting quality improvement called for continued customer service (Kondo, 1994). This means that customer should be provided service continuously after the product. He was an advocate of continuous quality improvement and believed that it can always be taken one step further.

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To sum up, Ishikawa can be declared as the guru of quality control and continuous quality improvement in regard to his efforts and work done in this field. His work is used by quality gurus and companies to improve their quality in products and services. He represented the importance of quality tools such as Pareto chart, histogram, flow chart, control chart, and many others. His noteworthy work, the fishbone diagram is also acknowledged for his name Ishikawa diagram and is widely used in quality control and improvement. Ishikawa’s efforts are recognized among all the gurus of management.


  • Best, M., & Neuhauser, D. (2008). Kaoru Ishikawa: from fishbones to world peace. BMJ Quality & Safety, 17, 150-152. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/qshc.2007.025692
  • Ishikawa, K. (1985). What is total quality control? The Japanese way (1st ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
  • Kondo, Y. (1994). Kaoru Ishikawa: What he Thought and Achieved, a Basis for Further Research. Quality Management Journal, 1(4), 86-90. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/10686967.1994.11918666
  • Neyestani, B. (2017). Principles and Contributions of Total Mangement (TQM) Gurus on Business Quality Improvement. Manila: MPRA. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.345428
  • SkyMark Corporation. (2018). Kaoru Ishikawa: One Step Further. Retrieved January 17, 2019, from Sky Mark: http://www.skymark.com/resources/leaders/ishikawa.asp
  •  Evans, J. R., & Lindsay, W. M. (2008). Managing for quality and performance excellence (7th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.
  • Ishikawa. K., (1985). What is Total Quality Control? Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ.   
  • Vincent, Vliet, (2014). Kaoru Ishikawa. Retrieved from:  http://asq.org/about-asq/who-we-    are/bio_ishikawa.html


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