Total Quality Management (TQM) has risen to prominence over recent times. The concept is not entirely new but primarily a collection and refinement of existing Quality strategies. Given that TQM is in it's relative infancy this paper will initially concentrate on both 'how' and 'why' it evolved. The study will reveal a number of causal factors which are a result of changes in an Organisation's environment - both internal and external.
The final stages of the TQM study will attempt to describe the elements of the concept and provide a broad based definition. This will facilitate the analysis of TQM's impact on cost control. Though TQM is widely reported in literature the notion is difficult to define and conceptualise, which has resulted in failed implementations. This problem will also be addressed.
Cost control strategies are the realm of Management Accounting. Consequently the study will concentrate on the evolution and development of methodologies. The significance of this approach is that it allows similarities to be identified. Both TQM and Management Accounting have common 'pressures' that have influenced their development and consequently an argument is developed for a more synergistic approach to their utilisations.
Once both concepts have been traced to their current state of development a case study of an Australian Company will be undertaken. Though the data derived from this research will lack a degree of external validity, due to the exploratory nature, it will allow an examination of how contemporary Quality strategies and Management Accounting methodology are utilised in practice.
Secondary data is sourced to improve validity and research findings will be compared accordingly. Given the relative infancy of TQM, it is difficult to identify organisations that follow the concept. Therefore the nature of this report and difficulties associated with identifying a population to sample have resulted in case study methodology being deemed the most appropriate. Results will be analysed in the context of their respective validity and reliability.
This paper will conclude by drawing comparisons between theory and practice and will offer suggestions as to why a gap may exist. There are areas for future research that cannot be addressed in this study as both TQM and Management Accounting cover wide fields respectively. This paper will cover the two from a strategic perspective - a level consistent with that of a Chief Executive or Senior Manager. This approach allows a more holistic comparison. The case study will be used to examine the literature and conclusions will suggest directions for future research.