THE ROLE OF TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SERVICE
MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP: A CASE STUDY OF GHANA
Ernest Acquah Koomson
Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, Scotland
The purpose of this study is to explore the links between tourism development and improved
education in Ghana. After an initial exploration of these links, the paper investigates the
application of Total Quality Management (TQM) to secondary education in Ghana and
explores how stakeholders, including parents, public service management and secondary
school leaders and teachers, may work towards sustained school improvement and
effectiveness. Data for the study was gathered from interviews with head teachers and a
survey conducted among class teachers. One finding is that school improvement and
effectiveness may be at the heart of the activities of head teachers and teachers. However,
while TQM concepts appear to be unfamiliar, they seem to be embraced unconsciously by
participants who attach importance to mission statements, the role of the board of governors
and management styles in the running of secondary schools. Further, participation in
continuous professional development was stressed. One major barrier to achieving school
improvement and effectiveness was perceived to be the issue of funding. Some criticisms
were levelled against the current lack of training and development and participation in
aspects of decision making. It emerged from the results that leadership style is an issue in
some schools, as some head teachers exhibit autocracy in their management, which was
perceived as stifling participation. The study concludes with some recommendations that
may lead to school improvement and effectiveness.
TQM AND TOURISM
The difficulty in establishing a universal definition for tourism has led to a plethora of
definitions from different writers. Reisinger (2001:1) citing McIntosh, Goeldner and Ritchie
(1995) defines tourism as the sum of the phenomena and relations resulting from the travel
and stay of non-residents, in so far as (travel) does not lead to permanent residence and is
not connected with any permanent or temporary earning activity. For Go (1998:451), it is a
dynamic domain involving the temporary migration of individuals and groups for pleasure
and / or business purposes, the catering to the needs of travellers while en route and at the
destination. It also involves the economic, socio-cultural and ecological impacts both
travellers and the industry have on the destination area. The above definitions amply
demonstrate that tourism could be considered as a system composed of tourist attractions,
movement of people and promotional activities. It is as well a social activity given that
through such travels and visits for either business or leisure purposes not only are people
able to express themselves but also reflect on their cultural identity and social make-up.
This implies there are operational activities in this industry which come in diverse forms.
These include accommodation (hotels, hostels, etc); transportation (airlines, car rentals, etc);
food and drink (restaurants, bars, etc); attractions (museums, cultural centres, etc); retail
services (art and craft shops, boutiques, etc); planners and coordinators (meetings,
conferences, etc); tour operators (day tours, tour guides, etc); leisure (entertainment,
shopping, etc) and tourism support organisations (tourist boards, industry associations, etc).
These services are offered to visitors in countries across the globe who leave their homes
temporarily to visit tourist attractions either locally or internationally.
Tourism in Ghana is emerging as an industry with enormous opportunities for employment
that will help in poverty reduction in local communities and since the early 1990s tourism
industry in Ghana has received a tremendous boost. In recent times more people are visiting
Ghana thanks to the renewed interest in the country. As a result tourism today appears to
have become a domineering foreign currency earner; one of the fastest growing sector of the
country‟s economy. In 2006 for example, total arrivals were 497129, yielding total receipts of
$986.80m (Ghana Tourism website).
Ghana‟s tourist attractions are spread all over the country which include ecotourism such as
the country‟s highest peak on Mount Afadjato, the impressive forest-fringed Wli Falls (the
tallest cascade in West Africa, etc); heritage tourism (forts and castles built between the 14th
and 18th centuries by the European settlers in Ghana, etc); cultural tourism such as the
Domana Rock shrine set in the forests near Kakum National Park and painted houses, the
pottery of Sirigu in the Upper East region of Ghana, etc. The Cape Coast castle for instance
called the West Africa Historical Museum and known for its iniquitous Trans-Atlantic slave
trade activities has become a World Heritage site which attracts travellers worldwide
particularly Africans in the Diaspora who yearn to visit the castle as a sanctum in their
lifetime to enable them know at first hand the slave trade and its effects on their ancestors
and the people of Africa in general. Other castles and forts dotted along the coast of Ghana
also attract several visitors annually (Ghana Tourism website). Given these numerous tourist
attractions throughout the country and the sector being an integral part of society directly or
indirectly provides employment and career opportunities to thousands of people.
The government of Ghana therefore realising the important role of this sector in national
development created the Ministry of Tourism in 1993. The policy of the tourism sub-sector is
to develop Ghana as an internally competitive tourist destination. It is the government policy
that this sector meets international standards by ensuring the provision of good hotel and
restaurant services, effective telecommunications and efficient transportation system.
Besides, it is the aim of government in ensuring the development and promotion of domestic
and international tourism on sustainable basis in order to derive optimum socio-economic
growth and positive environmental impact for the benefit of the deprived communities in
particular and the country at large (Ministry of Tourism).
However, the effect of globalisation has resulted in increased competition in tourism
markets, with tourist sites around the world faced with efforts to attract visitors to boost their
market share. These challenges mean that human resource development becomes
paramount if the tourism market will be successful and sustainable. The sector needs
educated manpower with critical and analytical business acumen who are able to provide
quality service to consumers of tourism products. Go (1998) highlights that it is widely
assumed that educational providers prepare people for such careers and employment in the
industry. As Dale and Robinson (2001) also note the supply of tourism courses has grown
considerably over the past three decades. Such growth in their view has been fuelled by the
rapid expansion of the industry and recognition by governments that tourism contributes
significantly to local and national economies.
To this end countries continue to invest more in higher education for tourism and it is for the
same reason that tourism education is being offered by some universities in addition to the
Hospitality and Tourism Departments in all the polytechnics in the country to develop the
human resource capacity needed for the industry in Ghana. But it is worth recognising that
graduates from these tertiary institutions cannot meet the human resource needs of the
numerous tourists‟ sites in the country. In this regard, Ghana‟s survival in this robust
competitive market means an improved quality secondary education that would address
local communities‟ needs. Secondary education is considered a channel through which
graduates from the primary education pass to the tertiary education and other post-
secondary institutions that seek to build the human resource capacity of the nation. This is
consistent with the notion that Ghana‟s efforts in nation building are tied with the type of
secondary education that exists in the country.
Therefore, given the significance of tourism in the socio-economic development, providing
tourism education at the secondary level of education would prepare students for this
thriving industry. Secondary school leadership who focus part of their curriculum on tourism
and hospitality in the spirit of TQM that will emphasise quality in all aspects would equip
graduates with the practical skills to help the growth of local tourist attractions thus making a
meaningful contribution to society. TQM claims to be a system of quality management which
includes customer focus, strategic planning, leadership, continuous improvement and team
work which requires organisational and behavioural change (Doherty and Horne, 2002)
which form the very foundation of every successful organisation. Thus, the need for the
application of TQM concept in the secondary sector cannot be underestimated.
Today, businesses have resorted to quality systems to achieve excellence and the concept
of TQM has become popular among business enterprises. This amplifies the role TQM
concept can play in the tourism industry in Ghana. Again, as tourism develops and becomes
complex it will require strategic management of the sector. The objective of every
organisation is to sustain and maximise the benefits in order to ensure that development
conforms to national policy objectives (Dieke, 2003) and sustainability as Eccles and Costa
(1996) posit, needs to evolve through effective planning, where guidelines are set on the
breadth and depth of development underscoring the importance of the application of the
concept of TQM in this industry.
Furthermore, the tourism sector has the challenge of attracting and motivating tourists to
extend their stay at tourists‟ sites or revisit tourists‟ attractions. Therefore, quality skilled staff
to deliver quality services to visitors would enhance the successful development of the
industry. Besides, to meet international standards requires that employees of the tourism
industry apply the concept of TQM that can bring about efficiency and effectiveness. Go
(1998) points out that tourism has a labour-intensive nature and its sub-sectors face a set of
common human resource problems. It is obvious that its survival therefore thrives on the
availability of good quality personnel to manage the sector.
It is an undeniable fact that this is one industry that involves interaction between employees
of the industry and visitors to tourist sites. This assertion is reinforced by Mullins (2001:14)
in the words of King (1995) who takes the view that hospitality in general has some attributes
which include a relationship between individuals assuming the roles of host and guest. This
relationship may be commercial or private (social). Hence, it is required of employees in this
sector to have in their sleeves knowledge that would evoke pleasure in guest hospitality
during arrival at sites which includes providing comfort and fulfilling their wishes till their
Moreover, bearing in mind that environments have influence on service users interpreting
their experience of the service they receive from the tourists‟ sites, some questions such as
these need to be addressed in order to sustain the industry:
Do the tourists‟ sites enhance or detract from the experience of tourists?
Do visitors to tourist attractions feel welcome and valued?
Mullins (2001) intimates that it is the interaction of people in order to achieve the objectives
which form the basis of an organisation. Some form of structure therefore is needed by
which people‟s interactions and efforts are channelled and coordinated. And it is through the
process of management that the activities of the organisation and the efforts of its members
are directed towards the pursuit of objectives. Therefore, the sector formulating policies that
will reflect the new thinking with entrepreneurial initiatives would be a step in the right
direction. It has even been admonished that failure to address this area in a sensitive and
co-ordinated manner by displaying entrepreneurial characteristics of efficiency,
effectiveness, pro-activity, responsiveness and time-consciousness will threaten the effective
growth and development of tourism worldwide (Arthur and Mensah, 2006; Amoah and
Internal customers‟ development in this sector therefore becomes crucial for its survival in
this global market. Watson and Drummond, (2002) remind us that to address the issue of
human resource in this sector in Scotland for instance there is what is known as Tourism
People which is an integral part of the New Strategy for Scottish Tourism aimed at employee
development. Tourism People‟s strategy is centred on two imperatives of good people
management and management training and development suggesting that organisations
cannot ignore investing in their internal customers if really they want to achieve their set
goals and objectives.
In view of the above, one of the elements of TQM Doherty and Horne (2002) have adapted
from Deming‟s principles (Deming, 1994) is for organisations to institute education. They
argue that organisations should achieve a balance between training and education as
training focuses on an employee‟s task-related skills and education invests in the self-
development of the employee. They then formulated a model in providing quality in the
service sector which looks at the importance of environment, use of modern technology and
forming good interpersonal relationship with service users which are seen as a hub around
which the success of the tourism sector revolves. Doherty and Horne‟s suggestion here
echoes the need for school leadership to integrate tourism and hospitality in their curriculum.
It can be pointed out that the economic and other benefits that are derived from the
application of TQM in organisations are well recognised. Thus, if for example training and
development, some of the pillars of TQM concept are explored as part of employee
development in the tourism sector, not only will it result in efficiency and effectiveness but
employees will be empowered to deliver as well as generating income for the industry.
Lashley (2001:59) citing Deighton (1994) holds the view that employee performance,
involvement and commitment to quality service delivery are therefore fundamental. Moving
further, Ripley and Ripley (1993) in Lashley (2001:58) even look to employee empowerment
as a strategy required by modern organisations in a competitive world. For them, the
empowered organisation allows faster responses to environmental and competitive change,
and allows the organisation to benefit from the harnessing of the strengths of the workforce
in the effective satisfaction of customer needs.
It could be argued from the foregoing that tourism and hospitality industry in Ghana has
come to stay and needs to be accorded the attention it deserves. Ghana is gradually
encrypting her name on the world map of the tourism industry after becoming a member of
World Tourism Organisation in 1975. Thus, to achieve sustained growth of the tourism and
hospitality industry in Ghana as per the United Nations World Tourism Organisation‟s
projections then sight should not be lost of the important role of effective and efficient
EDUCATION PROVISION IN GHANA
In Ghana, over the last 30-40 years, a series of education reforms have taken place under
successive governments, all advocated in the interest of improving schooling, preparing
pupils for the future and meeting public demands for higher standards and greater
accountability. The future of the tourism industry in Ghana is predicated on an improved
educational system which presents competent employees to the industry.
Bush (2005) suggests that success in education results from the implementation and
maintenance of a management system that is tailored to continually improve performance
while addressing the needs of all stakeholders. It is to match a competitive education around
the world that the Ghana Education Service (GES) has sought to encourage a more
competitive and integrated approach to secondary education management as a skilled
workforce depends largely on the achievements and outputs of secondary schools.
The case of secondary education in Ghana is not different from elsewhere. There is a
heightened awareness of the importance of good management for effective operation of
secondary schools regarded as the link between basic and tertiary education. Added to that
is the growing concern from stakeholders such as parents, employers and academics
regarding lowering standards of secondary education which has been strongly attributed to
poor performance of GES staff. Tax payers hold the view that there is a strong correlation
between effective management of the teaching, non-teaching staff and resources of the GES
and standards in education.
In the 1961 Education Act, Ghana instituted a free and compulsory ten-year basic education
for all children of school going age, which led to an upsurge in educational institutions and
enrolments (Ministry of Education, 1973 cited by Dwomoh, 1994:2481), see Table 1.
The 1987 Education Reform Programme, coupled with the 1991 University Rationalisation
Programme and the 1996 free Compulsory Universal Basic Education, significantly
contributed to the expansion of educational provision. Currently, there are five public
universities, ten polytechnics and a host of private universities and institutions of higher
Schools Students Schools Students
Primary 1083 153360 8144 1,137,495
Middle 539 66175 2277 267434
Secondary 13 5033 105 42111
Teacher Training 22 1916 83 15144
Technical 5 622 11 4956
University 2 208 3 4291
Table 1: Ghana: Rapid expansion of access to education after independence
Source: Hayford (1988) in Akyeampong (2008:4)
TQM IN EDUCATION
Quality assurance is a process which consists of all those planned and systematic actions
necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product or service will satisfy the
requirements for quality (Kelemen, 2003). In the education sector it requires school
leadership to adopt strategies that will ensure quality teaching and learning at all times
emphasising the elements of TQM approach to teaching and learning.
Stringham (2004) points out that the quest for business excellence has indeed brought in its
wake TQM frameworks such as the Baldrige Award, Six Sigma, and ISO 9000, among
others. Kwan (1996) highlights the applicability of TQM theories in the educational sector
and points out that educational institutions have turned to TQM for many of the same
reasons that businesses have instituted quality programmes, including resources
constraints, increasing public pressure and increasing public accountability.
Writers struggle to provide a clear definition of TQM. “The trouble with TQM, the failure of
TQM, you can call it, is that there is no such thing. It is a buzzword. I have never used the
term, as it carries no meaning” (Deming 1994:22). Nevertheless, Mullins (2005) attempts a
definition of TQM as an approach to quality that involves a commitment to total customer
satisfaction through a continuous process of improvement, and the contribution and
involvement of people. Stringham (2004:184) ascribes specific and particular meaning to
each word making the acronym TQM: “Total is applying to every aspect of the work from
identifying the customer needs to aggressively evaluating whether the customer is satisfied.
Quality is meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Management means developing
and maintaining the organisational capacity to constantly improve quality”. What this
illustration suggests is that those charged with the task of managing schools need to take a
holistic view of the school as a system of interrelated and interdependent processes and the
quality principles applied must complement each other.
The case for effective implementation of TQM concept has been documented by Cotton
(2001) in USA, Davies and Coates (2005) in England and Lagrosen (1999) in Sweden. The
concern for school improvement is particularly important in Africa and discussing quality of
education in Kenya, Ngware, Wamukuru and Odebero (2006) citing Galabawa (2003) state
that the sources of quality improvements may be traced to a sense of competition.
Kwan (1996) argues that the objective of every school should be to provide for each student
opportunities to develop in four categories which are: “knowledge - which enables us to
understand; know-how - which enables us to do; wisdom - which enables us to set priorities
and character - which enables us to cooperate, to persevere, and to become respected and
trusted members of society. Reavill (1998) seems to be in agreement with Kwan when he
likens the application of TQM in schools to industry. Following a production analogy he
argues that the inputs are the students of potential capability, a transformation process, and
education is thus performed on them, and the products, which are called graduates, are the
output. The raw materials for this process are obtained from the primary/basic education
and these products in turn move on to the tertiary institutions to produce the human resource
needs for national development. Stakeholders who are the tax payers and have invested in
the education of these graduates expect to reap what they have sown.
It follows therefore that poorly managed products of the basic and secondary graduates can
have a rippling effect on a developing country such as Ghana. It is believed that when
schools adopt a TQM culture much can be achieved in terms of effectiveness and
According to Lam, Poon and Chin (2008), during TQM implementation, a culture of shared
vision, long-term focus, and teacher involvement have to be formulated to aid
implementation. Besides, there is also a need to change the traditional education institution
from rules orientation to innovative leadership. Lam et al (2008) recommend a useful change
agenda for education setting on moving an institution towards innovative leadership as seen
in Table 2.
Contemporary educational reforms place a great premium upon the relationship between
leadership and school improvement. In the education sector, Broadfoot (2004) contends
that in every system of education, leadership is key to quality. Therefore, those in charge of
running schools –head teachers and principals- are particularly pivotal in translating policy
into practice and shaping the ethos and culture of their particular institution. It has also been
argued that one of the critical success factors for TQM is strong leadership and education is
no exception. Leaders need to be able to motivate and empower people to engage in TQM.
Setting direction Dealing with shared vision and long-term focus
Developing people Focuses on teacher involvement
Redesigning organisation Deals with changing the organisational
characteristics from rules orientation towards
Table 2: A Change Agenda
Adapted from Lam, Poon and Chin (2008)
According to Kelly (2004), leadership is about: building teams and team skills; understanding
and practising pedagogic leadership. It is about developing the whole school as a learning
community; brokering partnerships with parents and the wider community.
In collaborative schools, structures allow teachers to work together in making school
decisions and running the school (Cameron, 2005). This link between leadership and
outcomes has been stressed; “We now live in a world dominated by the idea that leadership
is one of the major factors-sometimes it seems the only factor – that will determine whether
an educational organisation, be it a school, a college or a university, will succeed or fail”
The emphasis on training of head teachers for school leadership in the UK is a „good‟
example for developing countries, such as Ghana that continue to link their education to
national development (Pheko, 2008) stressing the study aim of professional development of
GES employees and standards in secondary schools.
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES AND RATIONALE
The empirical research carried out in this study investigates the role of TQM in effective
public service management and leadership through a case study of secondary education in
Ghana. The current system of management in secondary schools in Ghana is explored and
the factors associated with school improvement and effective leadership in schools are
Head teachers and teachers of secondary schools were contacted about issues relating to
TQM and school improvement and effective leadership. The study was underpinned by
Deming‟s 14 points (Deming, 1994). Compared with other management frameworks,
Deming‟s philosophy appears most beneficial in the school context as it has already been
tried and tested. Two public mission secondary schools were selected.
Mt Zikon Senior High School (fictional name) in the Greater Accra region with 74 teaching
and 28 non-teaching staff. Mt. Zikon (School A) is located in the capital and has an ethnically
diverse population of 1500 students, 56 per cent males and 44 per cent females. The
location of the school suggests it is in competition with about 20 other secondary schools in
Calvary Senior High School (fictional name) is in a municipal town in the Brong Ahafo region
with 86 teachers and 70 non-teaching staff. Calvary (School B) has a student population of
1420, 57 per cent are males, 43 per cent females. Students are from predominantly farming
communities and working-class families.
A mixed-method approach was adopted involving policy analysis (scrutiny of relevant
documentation), questionnaires (for teachers) and interviews (for head teachers). Thus the
data gathered could be triangulated and the reliability of the findings defended (Gray 2004).
The policy analysis involved.
The questionnaire was administered to teachers and involved open-ended and dichotomous
questions designed to gather demographic data and to explore their views on quality,
education and TQM.
The questions on quality and education included:
In what ways are motivation and school culture credible in school improvement?
Are teachers willing to accept and adapt new methods of teaching to ensure quality in
What are your views of the roles of pedagogic processes in the pursuit of national
education goals? How is this encouraged among teachers?
The questions about TQM included:
How is the headmaster/mistress committed to TQM concept for school improvement and
Do staff receive periodic training in TQM as part of Continuing Professional
In what ways do you feel/think you are empowered to do your job?
The interview questions for head teachers included:
How do you understand the TQM concept/philosophy?
Does your school have a mission or purpose statement? If so what is it?
What are some of the quality assurance initiatives put in place to ensure TQM for school
improvement and effective leadership?
What combination of perceived leadership styles would most effectively enhance
subordinates‟ practice of TQM?
What in your view are some of the implementation barriers to achieving total quality for
school improvement and effective leadership?
The interview questions for head teachers and questionnaires for teachers were subject to a
small pilot study with head teachers and teachers who are on study leave at the University of
Education at Winneba in charge of training teachers for secondary schools in Ghana. In
addition, transcripts of the interviews were emailed to respondents for their verification to
ensure a true recording of their responses.
ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
Findings from head teachers
Table 3 presents the demographic profile of the two head teachers interviewed. As can be
seen, both head teachers were aged over 51 and had long experience in the teaching
profession and as head teachers.
Head Teacher Calvary SHS Mt.Zikon SHS
(fictional name for school)
Sex Male Male
Age band 51 and over 51 and over
Teaching experience band 31 and over 21-30
Headship experience band 6-10 10 or more
Kind of school Public (Mission) mixed Public (mission) mixed
Table 3: Profile of head teacher interviewees
Six major themes emerged from analysis of the responses given by head teachers:
1. TQM concept and GES policies on school improvement and effective leadership.
2. Mission statement and quality assurance in schools: an essential precursor for school
3. Head teachers perception of grassroots participation in secondary schools
4. Head teachers perception of leadership styles and its impact on school effectiveness
5. Head teachers view on training and development of secondary school heads
6. Barriers to achieving school improvement.
Responses from both head teachers show that school improvement is at the heart of their
management roles. Phrases such as „adopting effective managerial procedures‟ and „total
commitment towards improvement‟ were identified by the heads as reflecting their
preparedness to make school improvement happen.
Regarding the policies of GES on TQM, they intimated that the GES has in its mission
statement the moral and skills upbringing and development of pupils. Amongst strategies
employed to achieve this is ensuring that head teachers attain professional qualifications in
leadership. In keeping with this mission, the GES encourage head teachers to take
advantage of the Masters in Educational Administration programme at the Universities of
Cape Coast and Winneba to acquire the skills for school management. Additionally, the GES
is concerned with teachers maximising their contact hours and therefore the GES expects
head teachers to place a premium on strong supervision in schools.
Head teachers affirmed that both schools studied did have mission statements. They
mentioned that bearing in mind the mission and vision of GES for stakeholders, the mission
statements of their schools guide them to ensure pupils are given the necessary support to
achieve their academic potential.
Yes, Mt. Zikon SHS aims at providing relevant education with moral
values as well as academic excellence in all areas to be a benefit to the
nation (Head Teacher Mt Zikon).
The head teachers‟ assertions accord with the views of Hollins and Shillings (2006) who
argue that a mission statement sets out the purpose or rationale for the organisation‟s
existence. Therefore, „excellence‟, „discipline‟ and „fear of God‟ resonating in the response
underscores the calibre of students faith schools aim to produce for nation building.
On quality assurance initiatives, the head teachers mentioned: provision of resource
materials for effective teaching and learning and periodic workshops for school heads and
seminars on new trends of leadership skills. They further mentioned that attention is
focussed not only on teachers but learners as well as they are being trained to replace the
ageing human resource population of the country and confirmed that there are periodic
reviews of their quality assurance plans. Besides, there are personnel from the inspectorate
division of the GES and an independent inspectorate body from the Ministry of Education
(MOESS) similar to Ofsted in UK who undertake periodic inspections of schools. This
argument, however, appears to be in sharp contrast to Deming‟s view on inspections but
connects well with the quality assurance (QA) approach to management by Freeman (1993).
Head teachers were asked about the involvement of Board of Governors in the running of
secondary schools and the perceived leadership style that will ensure school effectiveness.
Clearly, the evidence from the survey strongly confirms the head teachers‟ interest in
working with Boards of Governors to achieve school improvement. The Mt Zikon Head
Teacher replied that Board of Governors involvement is very encouraging and beneficial
because they bring a lot of management expertise, much of it from the public sector. The
Calvary Head Teacher pointed out that school management meet with the Board of
Governors four times in a year.
The role of governing body has been highlighted by Johnson et al (2005:171) as ensuring
that organisations actually fulfil the wishes and purposes of the „owners‟. In the context of the
study the owners here refer to stakeholders in education – students, parents, government,
metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies and, in effect, the tax payer. Asked what
kind of leadership they consider would motivate their teachers to do their best, they
mentioned among other things people-centred or relation-centred leadership, distributed and
democratic leadership, total participation, division of labour and „all hands on deck‟.
Both head teachers indicated a bottom-up approach to managing their staff and students.
Asked further how this is achieved Head Teacher Mt. Zikon, mentioned people-centeredness
and relation–oriented as ways of interacting with staff and students. Head Teacher Calvary,
also pointed out that he employs an all inclusive form of governance.
As posited by James and Colebourne (2004:59) leaders who employ a top-down approach
will stifle empowerment of staff and may not promote a sense of ownership of the school‟s
strategic plans. The ideal leader is one who combines an utter confidence in their own ability
to lead, along with a willingness to listen to and learn from others and admit mistakes
Regarding continuous professional development, which is fundamental in any successful
organisation, both head teachers emphasised the importance of training and development:
Continuous learning and practice of new trends and innovations by a
leader enhance effective leadership roles rather than keeping to old
norms and ideas (Head Teacher Mt Zikon).
Grugulis (2007) contends that one of the most commonly repeated management truisms is
that there is a link between training and performance. It is suffice to point out that training
and development can create head teacher empowerment; an important component in
enhancing school improvement and effectiveness.
The head teachers were asked about what obstacles are put in their way in their quest to
achieve total quality for school improvement and effective leadership. One linked the barriers
to issues of funding. He argued that „lack of funds from government and non payment of
school fees by some parents is one major barrier. The other cited „bad leadership style by
some heads‟ and „central government interference in education‟. He stated for example
using education to promote political ideas as one enemy to effective leadership and raising
These findings support the views of West et al (2005) on government interference in
management of education. They cite one head teacher in their study who reported that they
incorporate very positively these government initiatives, but quite often they stymie and
restrict what they want to do. Alluding to the argument by West et al above, funding and
political issues raised by the heads is potential in stifling the mission and vision statements
of schools in achieving quality education.
Findings from teachers
Table 4 presents the demographic profile of the teachers who responded to the
Teacher 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
School Mt Mt Mt Mt Mt Calvary Calvary Calvary Calvary Calvary
Zikon Zikon Zikon Zikon Zikon
Sex Female Male Male Male Female Male Male Female Male Female
Age band 41-50 31-40 31-40 31-40 26-30 41-50 > 51 > 51 31-40 41-50
Teaching 21-30 6-10 11-20 6-10 6-10 21-30 > 31 > 31 6-10 11-20
Years at 11-20 6-10 6-10 6-10 <5 11-20 11-20 11-20 6-10 11-20
Status * HoD HoD Form Form House- SMT HoD HoD House- Form
tutor tutor mistress master tutor
* HoD: Head of Department; SMT: Member of Senior Management Team
Table 4: Profile of teacher respondents
From Table 4, it can be seen that three participants from Mt Zikon were males all aged 31-
40, while there were two females, one aged 41-50 and the other 26-30. All are experienced
teachers; with at least six years experience and all but one have been at least six years at
Mt Zikon. They represent a variety of positions in the school, two are departmental heads,
two are form tutors and one is a housemistress.
The gender profile of Calvary respondents is similar, three males and two females. However,
at Calvary overall the teachers are older and have longer experience in the school (four have
been there at least eleven years and the other 6-10 years). Regarding their status in the
school, one participant is a member of the senior management team (SMT), two are
departmental heads, one is a housemaster and the fifth is a form tutor.
Nine themes emerged from the responses provided by the school teachers:
1. Continuous improvement of teaching methods
2. The concept “zero defects” and quality education
3. Motivation and school culture
4. Adapting to new methods of teaching and the role of pedagogic processes in teaching
5. Commitment of head teachers to TQM concept
6. Continuous professional development of staff
7. Teacher empowerment
8. Quality assurance and teamwork
9. Democratic climate in schools.
In response to views on teachers concentrating on improving methods of instruction rather
than focussing on achieving better grades, there was common agreement on accentuating
methods of instruction:
I am of the opinion that teachers should continually improve their methods
of instruction to achieve their general and specific objectives.
Many shared the view that methods of instruction should be the focus of the teacher arguing
that if improved it will have a rippling effect on better grades. However, one participant was
of the view that both should go hand in hand:
Teachers should continually improve their methods of instructions as they
are the basic ingredients of achieving better curriculum goals.
Similar findings were also confirmed on school effectiveness by Kyriakides (2008:430), who
argues that there are four principles operative in generating educational effectiveness as
shown in Table 5.
Consistency There should be effective characteristics within and
Cohesion There should be, where all members of the school team
must show characteristics of effective teaching
Constancy Meaning that effective instruction is provided throughout
the school career of the student
Control Meaning that goal attainment and the school climate
should be evaluated.
Table 5: Four Principles for Educational Effectiveness
Source: Creemers (1994) cited in Kyriakides (2008:430)
On the concept of “zero defects” achieving quality in education, whilst one teacher from Mt
Zikon said there can never be any such “zero defects” in any human enterprise, two said
even though “zero defects” is not possible teachers can work towards it and should make
efforts in this direction. However, in the opinion of one respondent, every teacher should be
involved in school improvement and leadership saying it is a good philosophy that will
improve the standard of students.
At Calvary, there were dissenting views on this issue. Two teachers were of the view that
“zero defects” cannot be achieved; three however said that teachers should look for the
strengths and weaknesses of students and direct their methods to suit learning needs:
Teachers can achieve “zero defects” in school improvement when
students really enjoy a continuous and cordial relationship between them
and the instructor who is the teacher.
But Kelemen (2006) draws attention to the fact that “zero defects” emphasises responsibility,
exhortations and slogans rather than the technical aspects of the process. In this sense, he
argues that it is a slogan approach: such slogans are seen to help individuals internalize the
importance of quality and perform their duties in a more effective manner. In the school
context, one respondent affirms this view:
It is very good and must be encouraged as it will help to improve the
standards of students.
Kelemen‟s advice to school leadership and teachers is for them to put in measures that will
ensure quality education, as that is the expectation of pupils and stakeholders.
The next theme focussed on the place of motivation and school culture in school
improvement and effectiveness. All respondents from both schools aligned themselves to
these beliefs that motivation and school culture facilitate teaching and learning in schools.
The following perspective from one participant was indicative on the subject:
They help in achieving academic excellence, maintaining discipline and
uplifting the image of the school.
Making a case for motivation, Evans (2005:363) points out that when organisations ask
employees to assume new challenges and responsibilities, the question “What‟s in it for
me?” ultimately gets asked, thus both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards are vital to sustained
individual efforts. Evans assertions are underpinned by the views stated by this teacher:
It serves as a catalyst to achieve better result; it improves the lifestyle of
the school community.
The work environment therefore must be carefully designed to motivate employees to
achieve organisational as well as personal objectives. Work environment and motivation was
one of the concerns raised:
The teachers‟ work environment and any form of motivation, such as
commending the teacher for his or her good work encourage them to
improve the lot of the school.
Culture has also been seen as a recipe for school success. Strong performance is
attributable to the „right‟ culture and weak performance can be corrected through culture
Contributing on organisational culture, Cole and Scott contend that quality culture is a subset
of the overall culture of an organisation. In the TQM sense, it represents an organisational
mindset or unobserved under structure that may be reflected by a set of processes and
practices. “Quality management is not just a strategy. It must be a new style of working,
even a new style of thinking. A dedication to quality and excellence is more than good
business. It is a way of life, giving something back to society, offering your best to others”
(Cole and Scott, 2000:274). Thus, it is argued that motivation and school culture can create
commitment and satisfaction.
Teachers‟ willingness to accept and adapt to new methods of teaching were explored.
Responses from participants were in unison in favour of new methods provided they will
enhance teaching and learning and only if measures will be put in place to encourage it:
As the world and situations are not static but dynamic globally, teachers
are readily willing to accept and adapt new methods to ensure quality
teaching and learning.
Regarding pedagogic processes and how they are encouraged among teachers, different
opinions were shared by participants. One respondent answered that pedagogic processes
are to be followed so as to help in the total development of students and this can be
encouraged through motivation. Motivation is seen as fundamental:
It encourages hardworking and commitment on the part of the teachers.
Two Respondents said pedagogy should be varied and improved upon to suit the modern
economy whiles two others replied it is encouraged through In-service Training (INSET).
They argue that teachers appreciate these processes as it enables them to update their
methods, knowledge and skills. One participant declared:
Teachers are encouraged to use effective teaching/learning processes.
To this end teachers are given awards for their hard work by the
It is worth noting that „Best Teacher Awards‟ has been on going over the years in Ghana with
the belief that when teachers give of their best it will result in the fullest achievement of
Pedagogy should therefore be directed to the fullest achievement of
national educational goals.
Teacher respondents were asked about head teachers‟ commitment to TQM concepts and
effective leadership. All participants from Mt Zikon were in agreement that the head teacher
is doing his best in terms of supervision, management and good relationships by not
compromising the usage of instructional hours. Others mentioned that the head teacher is
committed to TQM by appraising teachers‟ performance and assessing students regularly.
In contrast, two respondents from Calvary said that the head teacher commitment is not
encouraging. However, this was expressed at staff meetings, SRC meetings and the school
forum held once a term. They went on to say that important decisions are taken by the head
teacher and his management team. But three respondents were of the view that the head
teacher is committed to TQM and they see it through division of labour, freedom of
expression and open door policy. One said that efficiency and involving the staff in the
system are assured. The disparity in views from respondents point to different perceptions
by teachers regarding the leadership style in this school.
Regarding training, teachers recognise the importance of staff development and participants
from Mt. Zikon responded that they receive training periodically:
Yes, there are periodic meetings of staff to deliberate on our short-
comings and some challenges confronting our course of teaching and
However, opinions varied among participants from Calvary. Whereas two teachers
responded that they receive training but not very often, one said it is seldom done in the
school. But the responses from the other two teachers on the lack of training or little
emphasis on training imply that not much is done by this head teacher in promoting
workforce development in this school:
There is not much of it. We had one [period of training] when they were
introducing the educational reforms about 10 years ago.
The claim by this respondent accentuates the advice to organisations regarding the need to
invest continuously in training and development as people are the means by which
organisations release the value of other assets (Hall 2004, Reeve 2004). Educational
leaders are therefore reminded to heed this advice to release the potential of their staff.
Again, such different positions taken by teachers in the same school is a pointer to
dissatisfaction among some members of staff regarding the type of leadership and climate
that prevail in the school. Commenting on the need for training and development Gibb
(2002) attempts a definition of workforce development as activities which increase the
knowledge, skills and abilities of the workforce necessary both to ensure sustainable
economic success and to contribute to social inclusion
Teacher empowerment was explored. Teachers were asked how they feel empowered to do
their job. At Mt. Zikon some respondents mentioned that by receiving better salaries and
conditions of service, provision of teaching and learning materials needed for work and
regular INSET, they feel empowered to do their work:
I attend workshops, seminars and INSET to enable me to follow new
reforms and I put anything new in place for implementation.
Job satisfaction, provision of necessary teaching and learning materials and teachers given
the power to discipline students were some of the responses from participants at Calvary.
One however said teachers will be empowered when the conditions of service, periodic
training, salary increases and other allowances have been improved.
These perceptions are consistent with what Slack, Chambers and Johnston (2004:308)
found in their discussion of empowerment. They argue that empowerment means giving staff
the authority to make decisions or changes to their jobs, as well as how it is performed. In
their view there are rippling effects on organisations who empower their employees.
can be a useful source of service
feel better about their jobs
will interact with customers with more enthusiasm.
These benefits can be replicated in the education sector. The argument by Slack et al
strengthens the response by one teacher that motivation and a conducive school
environment is regarded as a recipe for school improvement. If school heads empower
teachers their schools will be more competitive; more attuned to the needs of ever changing
needs of society; will benefit from new ideas and expertise of the work-force in general; and
will raise academic achievement. Teachers and non-teaching staff will be more committed to
the missions, visions and values of schools. Not only will teachers produce more satisfied
customers, but they will be more likely to stay with the schools, which supports the response
by one teacher that the absence of internal or external interference allows him to do his job.
One teacher mentioned a good relationship with his head teacher as the way by which he
feels empowered to do his work. As Cox (1995) argues, empowerment means allowing
people to do the jobs that they are paid for.
Staff participation in quality assurance teams in the schools was fully explored. One staff Mt
Zikon member mentioned supervision of colleagues and periodical organisation of INSET.
However, it was also emphasised that teachers have a part to play in an informal manner:
Punctuality to work, zeal for the work and the hardworking attitude of
teachers go to assist school improvement.
At Calvary, one respondent mentioned the lack of quality assurance in the school, however
others indicated that they are actively involved in the running of the school:
Teachers offer suggestions, criticise constructively and ever ready to
Much of the success of quality assurance can be attributed to good teamwork, Hammersly-
Fletcher (2008), who believes that staff working together and sharing their expertise can
often arrive at more creative solutions to problems and develop more creative initiatives than
they would working alone:
Opinions are sought by the teaching staff as to how best to improve
quality teaching and learning to the understanding of students.
A democratic climate in schools can also bring about creativity among teachers:
Teachers are allowed to give their views on issues in the school.
Whereas many teachers mentioned shared ideas, open door policy and freedom of
expression, one starkly lamented:
[A democratic climate] is lacking in the school. The views of the
headmaster always prevail. We attend meetings to listen to the
This suggests an autocratic form of governance in contrast to what other teachers in the
same school see as a democratic climate. This issue is discussed by Cameron (2005)
regarding leaders who use the language of empowerment and democratic leadership but
behave in authoritarian ways thus stressing a lack of shared governance. Blase and Blase
(1994:126) highlight the strength of shared governance and how it enables head teachers to
run democratic schools and affect the three dimensions of teacher empowerment illustrated
in Table 6.
The affective dimension Teacher satisfaction, motivation, esteem,
confidence, security, sense of inclusion,
identification with the group and its work. There is
indeed a sense of “we” feeling permeating in all
aspects of life in the school
The classroom dimension Innovation, creativity, reflection, autonomy,
individualisation of instruction, professional
growth, classroom efficiency
The school wide dimension Expression, ownership, commitment, sense of
team, and school wide efficiency
Table 6: Dimensions of Teacher Empowerment
The view of Blase and Blase is in consonance with the response of this teacher:
Democracy is also felt through regular and students forum and by
allowing teachers to be part of the decision making process.
They also posited that democratic empowerment through shared governance-including
involvement of staff, parents and students- lies at the heart of successful principals‟ practice.
The overall purpose of the study was to investigate the role of TQM in effective public
service management and leadership in two schools in Ghana. Research elsewhere indicates
that the struggle for quality education is acute in developing countries, as school
improvement and effectiveness, apart from the human factor, is largely underpinned by the
economic strength of countries. To ensure quality in schools demands governments and
stakeholders spending on various quality processes. Frequent budgetary cuts in spending
on education in developing countries continue to stifle school improvement and
effectiveness, resulting in poor quality education. This is evidenced in the findings from the
study where school heads have cited lack of funds as one major barrier to school
Findings from the study also reveal disparity in leadership styles, highlighting the type of
climate that exists in schools. Climate has implications for whether school improvement and
greater effectiveness is possible. The study shows readiness and commitment by head
teachers and teachers to bring about school improvement and effectiveness.
The critical factors identified in order to bring about TQM in schools include a commitment to
quality by the school leadership; continuous professional development programmes for all
staff; team building; identifying need for change and conducting periodic reviews of QA
plans; an implementation strategy which provides benchmarks against which performance
can be measured; specification of appropriate structures and systems to bring about change.
When schools accept that improvement is possible, and they decide to make a conscious
and deliberate effort to achieve this, improvement will follow. Also, it is when staff recognise
that ultimately and collectively, they are responsible for raising achievements, that they will
be flexible and find opportunities for improvement within the current GES policy framework.
The evidence of this study indicates that both head teachers and teachers exhibit a strong
sense of enthusiasm and preparedness to promote school improvement and effectiveness
despite a few reservations and pessimism from some teachers.
In a bid to emphasise the crucial role of secondary education in national development, the
study further sought to explore the link between TQM and education and the tourism industry
in Ghana. Tourism is one of the emerging vibrant and robust industries and is seen as
employment-oriented as well as a foreign currency earner for the Ghanaian economy. As
such, consistent with their mission statements for the country, the Ministry of Education in
conjunction with the Ghana Education Service is placing strong emphasis on tourism
education at secondary level in the spirit of Total Quality Management in the expectation that
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I am very grateful to Mr. Mike Pretious (MBA Programme Director) for his invaluable support
and to Professor Mike Donnelly (Dean, School of Business) whose assistance and guidance
has been tremendous. Let me place on record my profound gratitude to Professor Russell
Rimmer, my supervisor, whose comments, suggestions and constructive criticisms have to a
large extent contributed to the completion of the dissertation. Also, my sincere thanks go to
Ms. Rita Welsh of the School of Business for her suggestions and reading through the drafts.
I am equally thankful to my course mates, Joyce Davidson and Nik Hussin. My thanks also
go to Mr. Godwin Akpah (Principal Administrative Assistant, University of Education,
Winneba, Ghana), Mr. Esa Anterkyi, Mr David Adu-Damoah, Mr Emmanuel Addy and Mrs.
Faustina Kuevi all of the Ghana Education Service who provided documents and vital
information and assisted with interview schedules and questionnaires. And finally, I thank
the head teachers and teachers of the participating schools for their cordial reception and
audience during the process of data collection.