What is Deming Management? Definition, History, Principles, and 14 Points

What is Deming Management?

Deming management is the management technique that focuses on the creation and continuous improvement of organizational mechanisms for the high quality of outputs. It is the application of the principles of W. Edwards Deming, an American Scholar in management.

According to Deming, management is the creation and continuous improvement of organizational systems. The implementation of such a creative and improved management system leads to an increase in value for customers of its products or services.

Continuous improvement is essential in the management system in this internationally competitive world characterized by rapidly changing technology and customers’ demands for higher levels of value. Continuous improvement refers to the constant refinement and improvements of products, services, and organizational systems to yield improved value to customers.

It is a fact that most scholars believe that the beginning of quality in productivity occurred in Japan only after the 2nd World War. Most of the Japanese industries were completely destroyed in the war and had to rebuild themselves from scratch. As such, a number of American scholars reached Japan and helped Japanese Entrepreneurs to operate modern manufacturing facilities. Deming was one of the scholars who went to Japan in 1950.

Deming widely acknowledges his contribution to the re-emergence of post-war Japan. He delivered lectures and trained Japanese entrepreneurs on statistical control techniques in the production process. Deming derived this technique from his friend William Shewhart and his colleagues, they invented this technique of management at Bell laboratories through deep research and investigation.

Deming questions the basic assumption that high quality means higher prices. He focuses on statistical control of organizational performance and “joy in work” which will drive ever-improving quality forward and lower the costs.

He believes that a manager’s job is to seek out and correct the causes of failure, rather than merely identify failures after they occur. The goal of Deming’s fourteen pinots lies in altering the behaviors of managers and employees so that companies can become low-cost, high-quality, and highly productive suppliers of goods and services.

In recognition of his contribution to the management and substantial achievement in quality, the Japanese government instituted a Deming prize shortly after the 2nd World War.

Related: Theories of Management

Principles of Deming Management

Robert Kreitner has suggested the following four quality management principles of Deming management.

  • Quality improvement drives the entire economy
  • The customer always comes first
  • Do not blame the person, fix the system
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act

Quality Improvement Drives The Entire Economy

Quality improvement is essential to reduce waste and inefficiency. It helps to increase higher productivity, greater market share, and new business and employment opportunities.

Customer Always Comes First

A satisfied customer is essential for organizational success. An organization must produce its products and services that meet the expectations of customers easily but effectively. Only slogans and inspirational words are not enough, what is necessary is action to implement.

Do Not Blame The Person, Fix The System

Deming disagreed with blaming a particular person or department for inferior quality. Management, work, rules, technology, organizational structure, and culture, all are responsible for inferior quality. Employees will produce superior quality if the system is redesigned to improve it.

Therefore, the management must treat employees as internal customers and provide them with sufficient ideas and suggestions for quality improvement.


Deming suggested making informed decisions on the basis of rigid data. Deming suggested a four-step process for the application of total quality management (TQM) which is popularly known as the PDCA cycle. This is also known as Deming’s four phases of quality management. This is given by,

  • Plan – Management must plan for product development. Planning objectives, policies, tools, and customer needs, and training employees to produce products that meet customers’ needs, is essential for quality improvement.
  • Do – Management must produce the products according to the product development plans. If any problem is identified in the planning phase, necessary steps must be taken to solve the problem in this phase.
  • Check – Once the production process has started, the management must check to find out deviations in outputs or inputs. This phase helps to find out whether or not the improvement process was successful. It is also helpful in finding out the causes of deviations and evaluating their impact on the final product and market share.
  • Act – This step deals with market research and aims to prevent problems rather than correct them. after studying the lesson, the management must act on the basis of the learned lessons. Deming’s PDCA cycle is at developing teamwork with respect to product development, manufacturing, sale, and market research as shown in the figure:

Deming’s 14 Points

Here is a short overview of the 14 points of Deming management.

  1. Purpose-driven commitment: Establish a clear and unwavering vision to guide all actions.
  2. Embrace a new philosophy: Adopt quality, continuous improvement, and customer satisfaction as core principles.
  3. Move beyond inspection: Focus on prevention rather than relying solely on inspection.
  4. Value beyond price: Consider quality and long-term relationships when making business decisions.
  5. Continuously improve: Foster a culture of learning and innovation.
  6. Enhance on-the-job training: Provide modern training methods to equip employees with the necessary skills.
  7. Develop effective leadership: Inspire trust, collaboration, and accountability.
  8. Foster a fear-free environment: Encourage open communication and risk-taking.
  9. Break down barriers: Promote collaboration across departments.
  10. Focus on intrinsic motivation: Eliminate slogans and arbitrary targets.
  11. Quality over quotas: Emphasize quality and customer satisfaction, not numerical quotas.
  12. Encourage pride in workmanship: Recognize and celebrate employees’ dedication and excellence.
  13. Invest in education and training: Establish a robust program for employee development.
  14. Take action for transformation: Drive proactive change towards a culture of quality and customer focus.

In recap, these 14 points by Deming advocate purpose-driven commitment, a new philosophy, continuous improvement, effective leadership, fearlessness, teamwork, employee development, and transformative action to achieve quality and customer satisfaction in organizations.

Read Next: What is Quality Control?

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