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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 3 / 2011 (556)

Convergence of the Policies for Promoting Total Quality Management in the Public Administrations of Balkan States – European Union Member States

Ani MATEI
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest
Carmen SĂVULESCU
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest

Abstract. In the past three decades, total quality management (TQM) has been appreciated as “fundamental modality in view to improve the activity in the public and private sectors” (Boyne and Walker, 2002, p. 1). For the time being, in public administrations, we witness an extension of the policies for promoting TQM, although the experiences have not always been positive.

The European Administrative Space (EAS) incorporates TQM, in different manners at national level, taking into consideration its recognised impact on the efficiency of public administration, one of EAS fundamental principles (Zurga, 2008, pp. 39-49). In the context of analysing EAS evolution, the administrative convergence will also comprise the convergence of TQM policies. In fact, the field literature (Hackman, Wageman, 1995) reveals, in the context of national TQM policy-making, the concepts of ”Convergent validity” and ”Discriminant validity”, reflecting ”the degree to which the version of TQM promulgated by the founders and observed in organizational practice share a common set of assumptions and prescriptions” (Hackman, Wageman, 1995, pp. 318-319).

By a comparative analysis on TQM policies in the national public administrations of Balkan states, EU Member States: Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania, the current paper aims to reveal the level of their convergence as well as the theoretical consistency of the conceptual and practical framework for TQM assertion.

The comparative analysis will be based on a comprehensive vision on TQM, provided by Dean and Bowen (1994), Boyne and Walker (2002), namely its approach should be characterised on own principles, practices and techniques, grouped on customer focus, continuous improvement and team work (Boyne and Walker, 2002, pp. 4-5).

The tradition on promoting TQM in public administration in the above-mentioned states is relatively recent: since 1990s – Cyprus, since 1995 – Greece and Slovenia, since 2000 – Bulgaria and Romania. However, in the context of the EU membership and EAS enlargement to the Balkans, their efforts for promoting TQM in public administration are marked by concrete actions, reflecting differentiated degrees of convergence.

The current study will refer briefly to global convergence – assessed in relation to the founders’ conception on TQM and comprehensively to the relative convergence – assessed by comparing the activities concerning TQM in the states under review.

Keywords: Total Quality Management Policies, Public Administration, Convergence.

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