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Successful TQM and employee involvement programs can be found in many different geographic regions of the world, but not all. With this in mind, consider the following questions:
1. TQM as a philosophy of management seems to flourish in highly industrialized nations (e.g., Germany, Japan) but experiences widespread problems in less developed ones. Why do you think this is?
2. Both German and Japanese companies make extensive use of TQM and employee participation methods to enhance their global competitiveness. Are there similarities across the two cultures that support these efforts?
3. Are there differences between Germany and Japan in the reasons they support TQM and employee participation?
4. Do you agree or disagree with the following proposition? Why? North American companies (in both the United States and Canada) have highly divergent attitudes toward the value of TQM and employee involvement as a tool for global competitiveness. Some companies strongly support these efforts, while many others prefer to rely on automation and technology-driven quality control instead of person-driven quality control. Moreover, many companies seem content to manufacture products of reasonably good but not outstanding quality for the marketplace. As a result, the value of employees as a basic instrument in building total quality into products varies significantly across North American companies.