Deming’s and Juran’s Quality Management Theories

The project quality management offers a variety of philosophies to organize the managerial process and achieve and maintain high quality. Among the most prominent representatives of quality management, there are Deming and Juran. This paper will focus on the identification of the essentials of the two quality theories as well as their similarities, differences, and application in practice.

Similarities and Differences

To identify similarities and difficulties between the approaches of the mentioned gurus, it is necessary to start with the brief overview of their quality comprehension. Traditionally, quality is defined in the following way: “meeting and / or exceeding the expectations of the customer and/or upper management in terms of cost (budget), time (schedule), and performance (scope) of the project” (Larson & Gray, 2011, p. 106). Acting as a quality pioneer, Deming supports and develops the above definition by focusing on the reduction of uncertainty and costs.

He claims that quality directly depends on continuous improvement and vision of working processes as a seamless whole. In his turn, Juran identifies quality as a comprehensive organizational-level approach that begins with total quality management (TQM) and embraces all the levels of an organization up to the bottom. At this point, he emphasizes that every level of an organization should have its own quality priorities. Thus, while Deming proposes quality the integrative work, Juran states that structuring of quality priorities is effective.

Speaking of the key differences between quality philosophies of Deming and Juran, it is possible to note that the first one suggests no implementation processes, while the latter seems to be quite prescriptive, pointing out some starting issues. The ability to handle resistance is also viewed differently. If Deming adheres to the non-compromising and radical establishment of quality terms, then Juran considers resistance as something normal or an obstacle on the way to success. The role of workers is crucial as they are close to the quality achievement procedures in Juran’s philosophy. However, in Deming’s vision, variance is not dependant on employees.

In spite of obvious differences that were mentioned above, several similarities also exist. For example, both Deming and Juran believe that management is responsible for quality achievement and maintenance throughout the life cycle of a certain project and in the overall performance of an organization. The significance of customer requirements and staff training are evaluated by both gurus as very high. The results of quality lead to the reduction of costs, increased customer satisfaction, and some shift in corporate culture. The above consequences are suggested in Deming’s and Juran’s theories. Meanwhile, quality is considered to be a continues process that is necessary to meet ever-changing requirements of the world and keep the interest of customers high.


A range of practical contributions is made both by Deming and Juran. In particular, Deming offers the 14 points for management that present some guidelines to quality accomplishment. For example, following one of the points that proposes the adoption of new philosophy, many companies such as Starbucks, Apple, or Microsoft achieved high quality performance. Also, Deming argues that it is of great importance to institute practical leadership, overcome barriers, and implement some other issues that are described in 14 points model. In general, the mentioned model proposes the development and implementation of a strategic plan that will embrace all the vital goals, objectives, and complications, occurring at a real time.

For example, if one will take an insurance company into account, he or she may note that the organization cannot effectively perform its functions and meet the expectations of customers without clear vision of goals and ways to address current challenges. Another practical tool is Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle that “clearly requires measurement to drive quality, and yet it is a useful design aid for the measurement system itself” (Oakland, 2014, p. 132). It is possible to note the example of New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) opening in Fremont, CA. At that time, the owner of this manufacture suddenly began to buy all small-displacement cars, including broken ones. As a result, great effectiveness of NUMMI showed that such a strategy was a part of Deming’s cycle.

Juran’s contribution is also used in practice. For example, Pareto’s law that is also known as 80/20 rule was along with other statistical used by Juran in his practice. This rule implies that the relatively small number of characteristics of the goods has great impact on its quality. In other words, “management, not individual workers, is responsible for the system” (Rose, 2005, p. 21). If in the middle of the 50s, Juran began working in several Japanese corporations, transforming their products, then the 70s showed that these companies become more effective than ever. At the same time, Juran suggests quality trilogy, including planning, control, and improvement. The consistent implementation of these elements into the work of an organization can significantly improve its quality and promote success.

Preferred Quality Philosophy

My preferred quality theory is Juran’s philosophy as it seems to be more consistent, customer-oriented, and employee-friendly. On the contrary to Deming, Juran focuses not only on an organization as a whole but proposes adequate responsibility of every level of management. The fact that Juran was the first who introduced quality management instead quality control also makes his philosophy more attractive. His contribution to quality management is so great that he is recognized as one of the most respected experts in this field around the world. Juran’s theory covers plenty of aspects as it involves a wide range of issues of planning and organization as well as administrative responsibility for the quality and value of continuous improvement. In addition, it should be stressed that he was convinced that quality is not the result of chance yet those of appropriate planning.

Juran’s philosophy undoubtedly impacts my personal life, in particular, my professional background was significantly enhanced after understanding his ideas. In my opinion, it is especially important to follow quality trilogy. In my life, I always try to understand and evaluate the problem, identify the requirements, develop necessary characteristics, clarify existing specifics, and then initiate some actions to address the challenges. This strategy helps me to be consistent, rational, and productive in achieving my goals.

As for organizations that plan to adopt Juran’s philosophy, I can recommend to thoroughly examine all the aspects of his view. It is necessary to apply a comprehensive approach and take into account a set of points of this guru as the selective implementation may be ineffective. Ultimately, it is also significant to evaluate the working conditions, current opportunities and needs, employee engagement, and other issues, thus verifying the applicability of Juran’s philosophy to a particular organization.


Larson, E. W., & Gray, C. E. (2011). Project management: The managerial process. (5th ed.). New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill.

Oakland, J. S. (2014). Total quality management and operational excellence: Text with cases. (4th ed.). London, UK: Routledge.

Rose, K. H. (2005). Project quality management: Why, what and how. Boca Raton, FL: J. Ross Publishing.

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