The politics of IT-enabled restructuring and the restructuring of politics through total quality management
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A variety of innovations such as total quality management (TQM) have been introduced by management in recent years as a means to unite organizations and secure employee commitment. Yet TQM is as much a product of existing social relations as it is a method for transforming them. Consequently, while addressing some problems TQM reconstitutes organizational inequalities and existing power relations and in doing so (re)creates many of the problems it is intended to resolve. Inasmuch as TQM is a continuation of the past as well as a means to reshape the future, it contains the seeds of its own decay. We illustrate this argument through a case study of a medium-sized UK Bank. We consider how TQM has waxed and waned differentially within a single organization. Telecommunication and on-line customer data-based technology facilitated organizational restructuring within the Bank, resulting in both redundancies and areas of job creation which both undermined and created conditions wherein TQM could flourish. We examine how TQM may be used as a vehicle for addressing some of the tensions presented by the introduction of new technology, and the organizational politics that stem from organizational restructuring. However, it is argued that TQM can only ameliorate these tensions, which are bound up with organizational power relations and employment insecurities. It does not remove organizational politics, for as older tensions are resolved, new ones emerge.
Accounting Management and Information Technologies