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The Potential of Design Thinking and Total Quality Management in Creating Public Value

   | 12 mai 2021
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One of the most fashionable management concepts currently is Design Thinking (DT). DT is sometimes advertised as the creative and innovative method for handling wicked problems. The explosion of DT in the public sector resembles the fast adoption of Total Quality Management (TQM) a few decades ago. At first sight, DT and TQM appear mutually exclusive – the former emphasizes inventiveness, which is cherished in modern governance, while the latter stresses mechanistic solutions and seems obsolete. Yet, public managers need a clearer understanding of DT and TQM and how they relate to each other. The main aim of this paper is two analyze when public managers should employ DT and when they should use TQM in creating public value. The article compares DT and TQM and finds that they are surprisingly similar. For example, they share core values like user-centeredness, stakeholder commitment, cooperation, etc. That is not to say that DT and TQM are the same, for instance their tools are different. Still, the paper argues that the two management models could well be combined – e.g. DT could assist public managers in finding new solutions to known problems and TQM could be used to institutionalize change. This insight helps managers to make informed decisions when choosing a mix of management methods that fits their purpose best.

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Sujets de la revue:
Social Sciences, Political Science, Local Government and Administration