W. Edwards Deming

Born in 1900, W. Edwards Deming helped change the way businesses and the people that manage them around the world view their roles.

Dr. Deming advocated continuous improvement, communication across organizations, and collaboration. He also charged management with the establishment of an environment that allows for employee engagement in improvement.

While his formal education included electrical engineering (University of Wyoming) and mathematics (M.S.- University of Colorado, PhD- Yale University), his work in statistics and their application to production quality contributed to his theories of management. Over his career, he clearly communicated his belief that the same principles behind control charts and statistical process control could be applied to management.

W. Edwards Deming's early work in industry occurred in Japan. While employed to assist with census taking, he was provided opportunities to share his beliefs about business management with Japanese business leaders. The Japanese embraced the idea that improving quality could reduce expenses and improve productivity. The resulting leaps they experienced in manufacturing ability led to significant gains in market share.

Many U.S. corporations also benefited from Dr. Deming's teachings. His direct identification of management actions as root cause of manufacturing issues led to a significant transformation at Ford Motors in the 1980's.

Demings Fourteen (14) points and Seven (7) Deadly Diseases have endured beyond his distinguished life.

W. Edwards Deming's Fourteen Points

  1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and stay in business, and to provide jobs.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for massive inspection by building quality into the product in the first place.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
  8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
  9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
  11. a. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
  12. b. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
  13. a. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
  14. b. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia," abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective (See Ch. 3 of "Out of the Crisis").
  15. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
  16. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.

Seven Deadly Diseases

The "Seven Deadly Diseases" include:

  1. Lack of constancy of purpose
  2. Emphasis on short-term profits
  3. Evaluation by performance, merit rating, or annual review of performance
  4. Mobility of management
  5. Running a company on visible figures alone
  6. Excessive medical costs
  7. Excessive costs of warranty, fueled by lawyers who work for contingency fees

W. Edwards Deming is viewed by many as the father of the Total Quality Management movement. Today, his influence on management practices can be seen in many modern management theories. Though many are developing new ways to say things, behind most current trends and ideas about management you can find Dr. Deming and his philosophies.


Deming, W. Edwards (1986). Out of the Crisis. MIT Press.


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