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Stephens, G. K. & Peters, L. H., (1996). The Role of Career Stages in Transforming Organizations: Implementing TQM Programs, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 4(1), 91-106.

The Role of Career Stages in Transforming Organizations: Implementing TQM Programs

Gregory K. Stephens & Lawrence H. Peters


In recent years, organizations faced with global competition have found it necessary to implement major changes aimed at improving product and service quality. While such transformations may be partially guided by current understandings of change management processes, we show that understanding the distinctive roles that people can take in different career stages provides important and useful knowledge about how to facilitate the effectiveness of this transformation process. The specific issues central to each careerstage vary, and influence how people can best contribute and best be utilized in the process of major organizational transformations. Therefore, the ways in which organization members participate in and are encouraged to become committed to the change will differ according to their career stage. These issues are discussed in the context of implementing organization wide total quality initiatives.


Today’s dynamic business environment has put a premium on companies that are capable of making rapid, radical and organization-wide changes. Such transformations demand more than the full commitment and energies of an organization’s leaders; they also require a meaningful understanding of how to implement major change. The literature on change management speaks extensively to these issues. However, the high rate of failure of many major change efforts (see, for example, Zammuto & O’Connor, 1992), underscores the need for further guidance in this crucial area. The present paper helps to fill this void. We extend and extrapolate from a conceptual model of career stages to the change management process by identifying distinctive roles that people in different career stages can play in organizational transformations. We will exemplify our points by focusing on the implementation of total quality management as an illustration of a fundamental organizational change that has been shown to be problematic.

The current focus on quality was born out of the economic necessity of competing in global markets, where rival firms are not only producing at high levels of quality, but doing so with costs reduced to unheard of levels, and accompanied by record improvements in innovation, speed, responsiveness, and customer service (see, for example, Hammer and Champy, 1993; Kotter, 1988; Lawler, 1992; Womack, Jones, and Roos, 1990). Reports in the business press indicate that dedication to total quality can yield more than Just better products and services. Additional benefits may include ]owered costs, turnover and absenteeism; increased innovation, employee satisfaction and commitment; and, increased market share — outcomes that “raise the bar” for competitors (Almaraz, 1994; Sommer and Merritt, 1994; Buzzell and Gale, 1987). It is, therefore, understandable that many companies have attempted to “design for quality” in their attempt to reap these benefits.

Despite reports of remarkable successes, however, negative reports have surfaced as well. As a recent account in Fortune magazine declared, “signs of disappointment are everywhere ... [siurveys show that up to two-thirds of American managers think TQM has failed in their companies” (Jacob, 1993, pp. 66-72). A recent report by Ernst and Young researchers challenged the “cult-like reverence” of U.S. business for TQM-based approaches (Mil]er, 1992). It suggested that some of the many TQM procedures (e.g., benchmarking, statistical process control) do not always have their intended effects. Their findings are consistent with prior estimates that from 20 to 40 percent of TQM interventions have failed to produce expected results (Cameron, 1992). More recent research suggests that upwards of 75% of TQM implementation efforts fail (Spector and Beer, 1994).

These findings have sometimes been interpreted as casting doubt on the inherent value of many TQM-based interventions (Miller, 1992). The validity of this interpretation is important to businesses that are trying to learn how to compete successfully now and into the future. As competition for customers continues to intensify (Kotter, 1988), organizations that are worried about their ability to survive do not have the luxury of trying one solution after another, hoping that one will be effective.

Despite the apparent failures of many TQM programs, researchers and practitioners alike agree that it would be premature to abandon TQM-based improvements. They do not challenge the findings that many TQM interventions have failed to produce anticipated benefits. They contend, however, that the breakdown of many TQM initiatives should not be attributed to inherent problems with TQM, but rather, to ineffective implementation (Almaraz, 1994; DuBois & Suminski, 1992). Clearly, interventions designed to implement strategically-motivated radical transformations, such as is the case with TQM, should be partially guided by current understandings of change management processes. However, while all such approaches underscore the importance of people in the change process, few fully integrate the human element in their change efforts (e.g., Spector and Beer, 1994, Bunker and Alban, 1992) in a way that reflects a unique “role” within organizational work systems.

1. Major Organizational Transformations and Culture Change

To successfully implement a broad-based TQM program requires a host of operational changes ranging from training in the use of statistical tools, to the redesign of basic work processes, to an emphasis on teamwork and cross-functional cooperation (Butler, Ferris, Napier, 1991; Olian & Rynes, 1991), as well as to the realignment of HR systems that must support these operational changes (Butler, Ferris, & Napier, 1991). For most organizations, this will necessarily involve a substantive shift in the day-to-day activities of employees, the criteria that define quality, and the standards by which employees’ contributions are judged, None of these changes can be expected to have a self-sustaining impact on employee behavior if they are not integrated and accepted as high priorities in the organization’s culture (Sathe, 1983; Rarnirez & Loney, 1993).

Interventions aimed at changing the corporate culture, by definition, tear at the fabric of the organization’s social system. As a result, attempts to change a culture will be strongly resisted by those who have come to accept the shared underlying beliefs, values and assumptions that define the culture (see, for example, Schein, 1990, on this point). In fact, producing changes in culture is difficult precisely because it is a property of the social collective. Efforts to redefine what is collectively important among its members will require not only leadership initiative (Beer & Walton, 1990), but organization-wide involvement and the support of employees at all levels of the organization (Mohanty & Yadav, 1994).

2. A Career Stage Perspective on Implementing TQM

Culture change is never easy to accomplish, in large part because of the difficulty in overcoming naturally-expected resistance and in helping people make the necessary psychological and behavioral transitions needed to implement necessary operational changes (Bridges, 1991; Stephens, 1994). This general conclusion has been noted for all types of organizational changes, including TQM implementation (see, for example, Braver, 1995; Feinberg, 1995).

How one deals with the massive resistance common to TQM initiatives, then, cuts to the heart of the implementation problem. We assert that one cannot appeal to people from throughout an organization in the same way, but rather must do so in ways that reflect the unique psychological issues they face. We further assert that the “career stage” concept provides a unique view into key psychological issues that people face, and, as a result, should help to identify how best to appeal to them and obtain their support when implementing radical change.

Appropriately, therefore, our analysis and discussion will be grounded in career stage theory; in particular, the career stage model proposed by Dalton and Thompson (1986), They describe how, at any given time, each member of an organization best fits in one of four broad career stages — Apprentice, Colleague, Mentor, or Director (see Table 1 for a description of each career stage). Importantly, because each career stage is said to differ from others in terms of distinct psychological concerns its members face (as well as associated behaviors and relationships), each career stage should require different appeals and different, specific ways for overcoming resistance. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to extend the thinking of Dalton and Thompson’s conceptualization of career stages1 to the general problem of implementing radical change.

Table 1
Implementation Issues in Career Stages
Stage/Role Characteristics Incentive Recommendations
Primary Relationships Central Activities Psychologic Issues A sample of ways persons in different career stages accept, commit to, and implement a TQM transformation
Stage 1 Apprentice Helping Learning & Following Dependence
  1. Socializing all Apprentices in a manner consistent with the new TQM philosophy
  2. Utilitarian implementation achieved through strong mentor-protege relationships (i.e., directive influence strategy)
  3. Encouragement of mentor-protege relationships for Ji Apprentices (e.g., through formal as well as informal means)
Stage 2 Colleague & Peer Independent Contribution & Collegial Interaction Independent
  1. Peer communication, support and pressure to change
  2. Utilitarian implementation achieved through participative influence strategies (e.g., involvement in “best practices” work teams or knowledge teams)
  3. Creation of opportunities for Colleagues to influence each other (e.g., temporary cross-functional assignments)
Stage 3 Mentor Training Interfacing & Integrating Responsibility for Others
  1. Mediator of change program through directive and participative influence (e.g., mentor to protege)
  2. Participation in the development of tactical plans for implementation of the quality initiative
  3. Modeling of behaviors consistent with total quality
  4. Skill-based training and development of people in Stages I & II
Stage 4 Director & Sponsor Strategizing Decision-making & Leadership Effective Use of Power
  1. Inclusion of Directors in developing strategic TQM vision
  2. Visible commitment and support from ii Directors for implementing vision through symbolic influence
  3. Re-design of organizational systems to support change
  4. Selection and sponsorship of incumbents to key positions in the organization

In the Apprentice stage, individuals are focused on learning new tasks and how to “fit in” to the organization’s culture. As such, their major challenge is one of “dependence.” As one moves from the Apprentice to Colleague stage, the focus shifts, psychologically, from dependence and taking instructions to independent action. Colleagues strive to develop a reputation for competence and to gain credibility as individual contributors. If successful, they obtain more discretion and responsibility for work-related projects than do Apprentices. Subsequently, as Colleagues move into the Mentor stage, they take increasing responsibility for the performance of their unit, and fulfill an active role in guiding, coaching, and providing psychosocial support for their proteges at the Apprentice and Colleague levels. Finally, those who ultimately assume the role of Director leave behind much of their day-to-day interpersonal contacts with other employees. Directors, generally including but not limited to the unit’s top management, are more detached from the day-to-day operations of their units. Instead, Directors represent their units to significant internal and external stakeholders and take greater responsibility for shaping the overall direction and strategy of their units.

The Dalton and Thompson model of career stages highlights two important issues relevant to this discussion. First, individuals in different career stages will vary in how they contribute to organizational transformations. Each stage differs from the others in the scope of the individual’s independence, involvement and breadth of influence in the organization. The focus of responsibility shifts from dependence, through independence, to responsibility for the progress of others, and finally to a more strategic level of responsibility. Second, individuals in each stage struggle with stage-related psychological issues that also affect organizational transformations in important ways. It is in these differences in role definition that opportunities and insights for successfully implementing significant organizational transformations may be found.

3. The Role of Career Stages in Implementing TQM

We believe that radical changes needed to implement TQM requires use of at least three different forms of influence leading to utilitarian, or operational level, implementation of the change. Symbolic influence refers to the articulation of a vision consistent with the new quality paradigm and corresponding attempts to align employees to that vision through symbolic means. Similarly, language has been found to take a primary role in establishing and clarifying an organization’s culture (Bate, 1990). Hence, choices about when, where, and how to inform and question others, or discuss needed changes, can constitute a powerful symbolic tool for Directors.

Participative influence refers to involving people in the process of deciding how proposed change will be implemented. It involves tactical, rather than strategic, issues, and is aimed at tapping the background, experience and creativity of employees, as well as enlisting their support for new courses of action. Such high employee involvement tactics have often been recommended as a necessary and integral part of the management of change (Pasamore & Fagans, 1992).

Directive influence refers to managenlent and supervisory actions that focus employees on specific ways to implement the quality vision. When managers or professionals coach employees on how to perform a statistical analysis or facilitate a brainstorming session, they help those employees translate the quality vision into actions that implement that vision. This is a hallmark of any major change that must rely upon people to actually develop new skills and behave in new ways. It not only helps teach vision-consistent skills, but continually reinforces how quality problems should be approached. In this way, directive influence fosters skill development, provides focus, and reinforces the credibility of the quality program to those who must implement the vision.

Utilitarian implementation is the ultimate goal and is reflected in the behavior of people who implement the quality program consistently in all of their activities. It is exactly such behavior that reflects that a new quality program is “taking.” When employees regularly behave in ways that reflect quality, it becomes “second natured” to them, and the foundation for a new, quality-conscious culture. This, of course, is the challenge — to ensure not only that everyday behavior will reflect quality, but that quality will also become part of the “mindset” of employees.

Widespread utilitarian implementation will not be obtained without consistent and effective symbolic, participative and directive influence. Few, we believe, would argue this point. Howevei; we contend that understanding the unique characteristics of employees’ career stages will help to identify specific approaches for ensui ing acceptance of symbolic, participative, and directive influence. It is to this topic we now turn. Given the recognized importance of top-down management in the implementation of TQM (Garvin, 1988), the four career stages will be considered in reverse order.

Stage IV: Director

Accepted wisdom maintains that the key to success in any major organizational change effort lies in the support of the top management team. Such persons would likely be Directors, in this career stage typology. In addition to the top management team, however, other key managers and professionals also may function as Directors because of the centrality of their positions, relationship networks, past accomplishments, or reputations. We argue that a successful transformation must have the active, visible support not only of top management, but of all Directors.

The psychological issue central to this stage is that of exercising power — of demonstrating the capability and willingness to set a new direction and to take action and influence others in pursuit of implementing that change. The actions taken by Directors in the process of implementing TQM should reflect this unique aspect of their career stage. They, niore than anyone else in the organization, are accepted by others as having the right and responsibility to initiate and push for such change. Therefore, the initial impetus for such change niost appropriately conies from persons widely regarded as Directors.

Directors influence the strategic direction of the firm not only through top- level decision-making, but through their active, visible support of the change initiative. In fact, Directors must play as active a role in implementing a TQM program as they do in defining it. This is equally true for Directors who are not part of the top management team.

Their involvement is primarily at the symbolic level, and can be seen in both communicating the vision and sustaining that vision in very visible, highly symbolic ways. Such symbolism is seen, for example, in visible choices about what is included on meeting agendas; where to commit resources and who and what to reward; in the focus of questions Directors ask about firm performance; and, in the rites and rituals that are designed and implemented to reinforce particular values or behaviors (Thce & Beyer, 1993). To the extent their own behavior fails to reflect strong and unified support, Directors also send strong signals that symbolically undercut the iniplementation of TQM. Thus, not only must Directors “talk the talk,” but they must “walk the talk” as well.

One important responsibility that Directors must fulfill is to move the change forward by directly “converting” those who will have to enlist the support of those who will actually implement the change. These intermediaries would be Mentors. Because Mentors are expected to take the next step in moving the change forward, it is imperative that they both understand the changes that are expected and be fully committed to their enactment. For these reasons, they are best approached in a more participative fashion. Thus, Directors must not only act in symbolic ways, but involve Mentors in a participative process that helps enlist their support for moving the change effort forward.

Because of their legitimate and political power, Directors also can influence long-term implementation success by grooming, promoting and selecting supportive people into key positions (Pfeffer, 1992; Stevens, 1994). Unlike conversion processes, in which someone must be won over to the new initiative over time, hiring or placing supportive people in key positions can have a more immediate impact. Sponsoring, developing and promoting supportive people, while accomplished over a longer time frame, are also likely to be less risky than attempting to win over resistors who occupy key positions. This process of strategic human resource development creates a unique opportunity for Directors to implement the new direction of the firm through those who are or who will become pivotal members of the organization. Their relationships with these individuals provide not only an immediate, but also an evolutionary foundation for change; one that is critical for successful cultural change (Schein, 1990).

In summary, Directors must be united in their commitment to and support of the implementation effort. It is through exercising their power, showing symbolic commitment to the quality vision, and managing their relationships with those they sponsor, that Directors best fulfill their role of helping to implement the organization’s new strategic direction.

Stage III: Mentor

The Mentor-protege relationship that characterizes Stage III places Mentors in a unique, and potentially powerful, position as both recipients and disseminators of radical change. In their interfacing roles, Mentors transmit and affirm an understanding of appropriate organizational values and behaviors through their directive influence on Apprentices and their participative influence on Colleagues. They may exert some symbolic influence, especially within subunits of the organization, but their key contributions to the organizational transformation lie in their directive and participatory influence with Stage I and Stage II employees.

Mentors have their impact in both formal and informal ways. Formally, they must be charged with providing information and assistance that facilitates the quality vision and elicits behavior consistent with that vision. Thus, Mentors are uniquely positioned to provide specific guidance, instructions, coaching and encouragement to those who need to act in new ways. And in TQM organizations, the Mentor- protege relationship might actually be broadened to encompass employee teams that must implement the total quality vision.

Informally, the Mentor-protege relationship is perfectly consistent with and highly supportive of the goal of implementing TQM. Through these relationships, Mentors may more easily tap informal lines of communication. Furthermore, the trust and interdependence that are characteristic of the Mentor-protege relationship will allow Mentors to more effectively commit their proteges to the change, both by providing explanations and interpretation of the TQM program as necessary and by modeling appropriate behaviors.

In their relationships with Stage II people, effective Mentors should be able to direct the attention and effort of Colleagues to more effectively implement TQM without alienating them. This will involve a more participative influence strategy. On the other hand, because they are focused on the psychological issue of dependence, Apprentices can be engaged using a more directive influence strategy. Both the method (modeling and directive influence) and the opportunity (Mentor-protege relationship) are uniquely appropriate for effective implementation of TQM among Apprentices.

Recognition of the critical role of Mentors as mediators of the implementation process suggests that it is extremely important that the Mentors, themselves, fully understand and be committed to the new emphasis on quality. As important, Mentors need to be targeted early so as to fully leverage their ability to move the change initiative forward. Directors, therefore, will have to meet the communications challenge that is necessary to prepare this important cadre of disciples. This degree of alignment will require considerable involvement to help insure that Mentors fully understand the quality program and will be committed to working for its effective implementation.

Stage II: Colleague

Employees in Stage II thay comprise 40-50 percent of the managerial and professional employees in a firm (Dalton & Thompson, 1986). It is among these individuals that the majority of the day-to-day operations of the firm are carried out, and it is here that utilitarian implementation of TQM becomes most visible. Because of their focus on maintaining their independence, Colleagues will be sensitive to any change that might redefine their psychological contracts and threaten their hard fought independence. As a result, how one goes about committing and involving Colleagues in the change process is critical to any successful implementation plan.

As the quality vision reaches employees in Stage II, communication must proceed both vertically and horizontally. While initially the message comes from Directors and Mentors, implementation of TQM will be facilitated and reinforced by positive peer communication among Colleagues. This is because communications from peers will be less threatening to Colleagues’ new-found sense of independence than would often be true with top-down directives. Furthermore, the non-verbal communication that occurs when Colleagues model behavior consistent with the change is an important part of peer communication. When respected peers, for example, are won over to the new vision, their very behavior speaks loudly to other Colleagues and signals the appropriateness of working toward that new vision in ways that could not be achieved by hierarchical appeal or command (Kotter & Heskett, 1992).

Ideally, a Mentor and protege will undergo a graceful and amicable separation, leaving communication ties open. Often, however, the separation is anything but smooth, and the protege’s efforts to differentiate herself from the Mentor, and establish a separate identity, can strain or sever the lines of communication between the Mentor and the protege (Kram, 1985; Zey, 1984). In this event, Mentors will find it difficult or impossible to facilitate the implementation of TQM among their former proteges. It is doubly important, therefore, that where Mentor-protege ties remain strong, the message be communicated to Colleagues carefully, accurately and completely. It is converts among the Colleagues who must be relied upon to carry the message of change to their peers who are less easily influenced by their former Mentors, as well as to peers who never had Mentors.

Although Mentors may have substantial influence with some Colleagues, it is peer influence that is at the heart of winning over converts among Colleagues. Indeed, under certain circumstances, only fellow Colleagues will be able to successfully influence their peers to change. Within certain professional ranks (e.g., physicians, engineers, accountants), Mentors may have no influence other than to get Colleagues together to solve problems related to the change initiative. In doing so, they rely not only on Colleagues expertise to solve the problem, but, in addition, the credibility provided by their technical and professional qualifications to help sell the change to their peers.

More generally, influencing employees at the second career stage will require some degree of involvement and participation. Since the implementation of TQM as a way of doing business will have direct and strong implications for how Colleagues are valued by their organization, and since they may be averse to taking direction from Mentors, it is necessary to examine how the implementation of TQM among Colleagues can best be facilitated. High employee involvement strategies have been identified as an effecti\le method for facilitating commitment and eliciting quality (Lawler, 1992), and given that Colleagues are oriented to seeking situations where their contributions can be highlighted, it is likely that engineering their involvement in the implementation process will tap the same source of motivation that drives them on a day-to-day basis. Involvement, however, should center on tactical, as opposed to strategic, participation, and should be directed at their specific sphere of responsibility, consistent with the more utilitarian focus of this career stage.

Work designs that emphasize knowledge teams are particularly appropriate for this kind of lateral communication among Colleagues, because membership in teams is fluid, with participants moving from one to another as projects churn. For example, new product development work might be done by numerous interrelated project teams made up of specialists (Colleagues) from diverse technical disciplines. When a specialist’s contribution to a particular project is completed, he! she moves to another project team. Such cross-fertilization promotes rapid and thorough dissemination of changes through the peer network (Taylor, 1992).

Stage I: Apprentice

In terms of potential obstacles to change, Apprentices are less likely than others to resist the kind of fundamental organizational changes that must take place during the implementation of TQM. Apprentices are generally relatively new to their careers and to their organizations. They are still in the process of becoming socialized to the way things are done in the firm, and they understand that their key task is to learn about their new organizational circumstances. The unsettled and fluid state of understanding they have about their new work setting, and their roles in it, create a sense of anxiety that motivates Apprentices to learn to “fit in.” The need to reduce the anxiety of being new, combined with their association with others who are willing to “show them the ropes,” facilitates their socialization through directive implementation. Thus, Apprentices become dependent on one or more persons (e.g., Mentors) to receive direction in how to fulfill their new work roles. The process that underlies teaching Apprentices the philosophy of and procedures associated with total quality is very different from and relatively easier to accomplish than that needed to convert more seasoned, independent Colleagues, who will need to both unlearn and then relearn “how we do things around here” (Schein, 1990).

While most Apprentices are under the close direction of senior persons, not all of these persons participate in a Mentor-protege relationship. ‘While any supervisor can correct problems as they occur, Mentors will have a greater interest in helping their proteges to understand and accept those changes. Thus, Mentors are more likely to produce commitment rather than compliance among Apprentices. As a result, it is important that organizations encourage and provide support for Mentor-protege relationships. While the trust necessary for a Mentor-protege relationship to be effective is perhaps best developed through informal means, organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of such relationships and taking steps to encourage their development (Murray, 1991).

4. Additional Considerations and Conclusions

Cultural Boundary Conditions

It should be noted that the specific implications presented in the foregoing discussion are undoubtedly influenced by the Western cultural origins of career stage and change theories. Cultural influences on career stages can influence the process of change in two primary ways: (a) through the meaning attributed to or the ordering of the career stages themselves, or (b) through differences in the culturally specific relationships, activities, or psychological issues that are central to each career stage. Specific recommendations regarding change may, therefore, be different from those made in this paper, depending upon the specific cultural meaning associated with the career stage construct.

Non-Western cultures may give rise to career stages that vary substantially in their order, distinctiveness, or even existence from the model described by Dalton and Thompson. In turn, such differences would, obviously, suggest changes in the ways in which organization members are involved in change. For example, in countries characterized by centrally planned economies, the Colleague (independent contributor) stage may be virtually nonexistent, supplanted by an extended Apprentice stage. In such regions, the cautions expressed in the foregoing discussion regarding the role of Colleagues in organizational change would, therefore, be less relevant.

In another vein, the relationships, activities, and psychological issues that are central to each career stage may be different in non-Western cultures. For example, in more collectivistic countries than the U.S., such as in Japan or Mexico (Hofstede, 1984, 1993), the relative importance of independent contribution (and independence per Se) in the Colleague Stage would likely be diminished. Similarly, where status is ascribed rather than achieved (Trompenaars, 1993), one would expect differences in the ways in which Mentors exert their influence (e.g., more directive than participative), or in the identification and inclusion of Directors in the change process (e.g., determinants of status in the organization). Such differences are exemplified in this passage from Mariah de Forest’s (1989: 72-73) discussion of the management and role of ascribed status in Mexican Maquiladoras:

As in any authoritarian order, Mexicans value status and its observance. Americans regard status as “undemocratic” and try to minimize the differences... Americans try to train Mexican supervisors to do the same. But Mexicans accept the hierarchy and their “stations” in life. To them the issue is honor, not equality. Rather than resent their “rank,” workers expect respecful recognition of their roles within the hierarchy” (p. 72-73).

The point of this discussion is that any recommendations about how to manage change based on career.stage-related knowledge must reflect the cultural environments in which career issues and career stages are embedded. Despite the likely need for adjustment of the career stage model and associated recommendations resulting from cultural differences, it, nonetheless, provides a useful starting point for developing implementation plans that necessarily require people at different career stages to be involved differently.

Future Research

We want to underscore that the implications for implementing radical change in this paper are no more than extensions of Dalton and Thompson’s career stage model. Nonetheless we believe that these implications are important for organizations that are in the planning stages of implementing radical change. “Who does what to whom in what manner” summarizes a real problem of moving from any idea (e.g., TQM) to its realization in the workplace. It is at this level that many of the seeds of implementation failure may be sown, Insights and guidelines that may serve to prevent such failures before they begin are much needed. Our recommendations, because they are untested, are best regarded as propositions that require systematic empirical examination. We believe that our extension of the Dalton and Thompson model will help encourage research on these ideas, in particular, and on other propositions detailing how to move change forward, in general.


The message of the foregoing discussion is that support for cultural transformations will be obtained only through specific and targeted appeals to ensure the appropriate kind of involvement of people in different career stages. Ha7ing the active support of all Directors underlies all further attempts to implement major change. They must then, through symbolic means, enlist the commitment of Mentors for supporting the quality vision, and Mentors, like disciples, must then be encouraged to actively spread the change throughout the ranks of Colleagues and Apprentices. Importantly, how Mentors proceed with making these “conversions” must reflect the unique needs of Colleagues and Apprentices; influencing Colleagues through more participatory strategies, but using more directive strategies with Apprentices. Mentors also need to organize the work setting to create opportunities for Colleagues to influence each other, in a manner that doesn’t threaten their independence. Finally, Apprentices need to be the targets of active socialization programs that focus on the philosophy, tools and skills of the new TQM program. To allow socialization to proceed in less systematic ways risks missing an important opportunity to prepare a committed and capable employee base.


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Author Notes

Some of the ideas in this paper were presented as part of a symposium (Title: Transforming Organizational Performance Standards) during the 1992 AnnualAcademy of Management Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. We wish to acknowledge partial financial support from the Charles Tandy American Enterprise Center at Texas Christian University.

1 The Dalton and Thompson career stage model has been empirically supported in a major study of professional employees (e.g., scientists, engineers, accountants, university professors) conducted over a 10-year period. This research see Dalton & Thompson, 1986; Dalton, Thompson, & Smallwood, 1986) involved over 10,000 professional employees. Results indicated that high performing professional em ployees were found to pass through all four career stages.