Strategic Management in Improving Total Quality in Bahrain’s Public Sector
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This study determined the strategic management in improving total quality in Bahrain’s public sector. More specifically, the concerns of this study were: 1) the demographic characteristics of the respondents in terms of gender, nationality, number of years in public sector, category of specialisation, position in the organisation, and field which team work is relevant; 2) the strategic management practices and TQM application along institutionalising the planning function, establishing the strategic foundation, strategic situational diagnosis, and managing TQM implementation; and 3) TQM factors implemented in Bahrain’s public sector; 4) applying TQM and influenced the Bahrain’s public sector competitiveness; 5) the role of strategic management factors in encouraging the implementation and sustainability of TQM in Bahrain’s public sector; 6) the main impediments that hinder TQM adoption in Bahrain’s public sector. The descriptive-correlational research method was employed using questionnaire-checklist, interview guide and unstructured interview. The research is based on a mixed methodological in the exploratory investigation, whereby, three tools were used for primary data collection. These tools were focus group discussions (FGD) with 5 respondents, Interviews with 6 respondents, and survey questionnaires with 400 respondents; a total population of this study is 400. The data gathered were statistically treated through the use of frequency count, percentage computation, and test of significant relationship using Pearson’s correlation using SPSS statistics. The salient findings of the study were: 1. Demographic characteristics. Majority of the participants are male indicating that 312 out of 400 or 78% and barely 88 out of 400 or 22% are female. A high percentage of Bahraini among the respondents showing 376 out of 400 or 94% and remaining 24 out of 400 or 6% are non-Bahraini nationals. More than half of the participants acquired about 16 years and above experience in Bahrain’s public sector indicating a value of 52%, those with 1 to 5 years of experience consists of 80%, those with 11 to 15 years of experience obtained 18%, and the least are those between 6 to 10 years of experience comprise of 10%. On category of specialisation, 400 were currently employed as technical and non-technical job. Majority of the participants are non-technical indicating that 224 out of 400 or 56% and remaining 176 out of 400 or 44% are classified as technical personnel. Responding participants were almost Administrative Support Staff and Managers/Supervisors positions (n = 80, 20%); 64 or 16% participants holding other positions; 56 or 14% are Engineers; 48 or 12% are Directors; 40 or 10% are Senior Executives in their current position. The remaining 32 or 8% are individual contributors (Consultants and Sales Representatives). However, no Vice President served as participants of the study. However, in the field which team work is relevant, out of 400 participants, 88 or 22% are in Military, Armed Forces and Law occupations; 72 or 18% worked in the Technology and Communication; 59 or 14.80% worked in Business and Finance, and 54 or 13.60% worked in other fields. The remaining 37 or 9.20% participants are employed in Education and Training; 29 or 7.20% worked in Healthcare; 23 or 5.60% worked in Energy and Oil. However, the remaining 19 or 4.80% worked in the Production and Manufacturing, and Transportation and Logistics. vi 2. Strategic Management Practices and TQM Application. On Institutionalising the planning function. The findings revealed that 81 respondents gave a rating of 3 or “some improvement needed” on “top executives take formal responsibility for the organisation's strategic planning to improve TQM management practices”. On establishing the strategic foundation. The findings revealed that 69 respondents gave a rating of 6 or “Much Improvement Needed” on “all management and higher-level staff aware of the mission and understand. On Conducting the strategic situational diagnosis. The findings revealed that 64 respondents gave a rating of 6 or “Much Improvement Needed” on “the organisation have knowledge of and access to sources of information about the industry, markets, and other external factors.” On Managing TQM implementation. The findings revealed that 64 respondents gave a rating of 6 or “Much Improvement Needed” on “individuals responsible for strategic management and implementation of TQM successful performance.” 3. TQM factors implemented in Bahrain’s public sector. The participant mentioned that “quality communication and structure is a requirement of each directorate in the ministry. In each sector there are commerce and industry experts who control quality. They have oversight of the directorate, and they communicate with QR or QM stakeholders or QR representatives. For each expert there are two representatives for each sector. There is a quality representative for the directorate and a quality management representative for the sector itself. They all report to the Undersecretary for the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism. 4. Applying TQM and influenced the Bahrain’s public sector competitiveness. The participants had varying opinions on the application of TQM to Bahrain’s public sector. One participant, in particular argued that it is a competitive surrounding important any product, involving products in Bahrain’s public sector such as media; radio, television, and publishing. There is no particular monopolist for this service; the customers and the clients have a lot of available alternatives. Through the strategy of competitiveness to be the first choice; the first choice for the audience, the first choice for the recipients of the news even for travel can be strengthened through strong TQM. There is a significant link between competitiveness and the quality of service. Competition is intense and it is no longer peer organisations that are competitive. Social media has become a site of major competition for all. 5. The role of strategic management factors in encouraging the implementation and sustainability of TQM in Bahrain’s public sector. Three participants agreed that the strategy which gives the best guidance and the channels which provide the bigger picture it is the quality framework aspect of strategy. A strategy/goal provides the organisation with a goal, which is a generic and crucial part of the mission. All stakeholders within an organisation must get behind the goal. The optimisation and quality of the service depends on having a goal that one can attain to fulfill the strategy. There are the links between both. The strategic plan is the basis or the roadmap for total quality management (TQM) implementation in any organisation. It should not be independent or isolated from the strategic plan. There is a major effort to drive the competitiveness of many service sectors such as electricity and the solar panels. Other participants argued that in the communication sector there is increasing competitiveness amongst companies. 6. The main impediments that hinder TQM adoption in Bahrain’s public sector. Participants 1, 2, and 3 said, that teamwork is the main impediment hindering TQM adoption. There must be a building and fostering of trust through enhanced transparency between various organisations to bring teamwork to the different public sector organisations. Participant 3 said, that Bahrain deserves better from all parties to cultivate strategic thinking skills and existing mindset starting at the school level. Everyone should be loyal to Bahrain’s leaders and the country and all must do more to make the nation prosper. vii Based on the findings, the following conclusions were drawn: 1. The male group outnumbers the female members of the workforce. Majority of them are Administrative Support Staff, Managers and Supervisors positions and acquired about 16 years of service in public sector. 2. There is a strong positive relationship between the compliance to quality standards and work performance relative to strategic management and TQM application in Bahrain’s public sector. The correlation analysis showed that there is a significant relationship” along institutionalising the planning function, establishing the strategic foundation, conducting the strategic situational diagnosis, and managing TQM implementation. 3. The bureaucratic socialisation process is a barrier to the establishment of a quality culture in government. It is clear that this can bring about much resistance to any positive efforts aimed at effective organisational change. TQM mostly faces resistance from work cultures, mainly due to the protection of self-interest. Fixing lateral and cross-functional cooperation as well allowing room for improvement are essential steps towards establishing effective TQM practices. Changing the culture of an organisation is the only way towards the effective implementation of quality management. 4. The hierarchy is still the principal management method in the public sector, notwithstanding the demand of employees' empowerment and participation. Most in the private sectors seem to have very successful TQM management practices. 5. The Bahrain’s public sector has no reason to avoid a push for effective TQM management practices, given the many benefits offered by this structure. These include low capital investment, innovative ideas, increased employee commitment, improved performance/quality, and the reduction of waste, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction. 6. The factors affecting compliance to quality standards and work performance for the employees are economic status, followed by political influence and leadership style. The suggested measures to improve compliance to quality standards and work performance are good working condition, sustained support to employees, and fair appraisal system. Based on the findings, the following recommendations are offered: 1. The age entry of public employees especially the Bahraini Officers should be standardised under technical or non-technical staff to maximise the quality of work along the different sectors. The government officials may upgrade their academic status by taking master’s degree program or post-graduate studies to improve and maximise their knowledge and experiences in the field. 2. The Bahrain’s public sector need to be more transparent and accountable to society, comprehensive reforms, financial difficulties, increased statutory audit and wish to enhance performance. The government needs to adopt a modern method of TQM management practices. 3. Quarterly performance evaluation of key officials in Bahrain’s public sector should be undertaken to monitor the quality of services they provided to the public. 4. There must be a sustained effort to raise extent of applying TQM in Bahrain’s public sector since it is significantly related to work performance. The local administrators or chief executives in the government should be kept updated on the compliance to quality standards so that they will be globally competitive. 5. The assistance of key officials in Bahrain’s public sector be sought and necessary linkages be made with government offices which could be of help in the realisation of activities in the TQM implementation. 6. Further research similar to this study be made in order to validate whether findings in this study could also be true to other countries.