Exploring the applicability of deming’s concept of “continuous improvement” in the contemporary public sector organisations

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 11
  • SDG 6
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Continuous improvement is a prerequisite for effective performance of the contemporary public sector organisations. This research explores the applicability of Deming’s concept of “continuous improvement” in the contemporary South African public sector organisations. The motive of the study was to identify the major paradoxes and the remedial improvement strategies that can be suggested. Using conceptual analysis as a qualitative research technique, a meta-synthesis of continuous improvement theories was undertaken and triangulated with the results of empirical studies conducted on continuous improvement in the South African public sector organisations. In contrast to the articulation in the continuous improvement theory of Plan-Do- Check-Act, the concept of continuous improvement was found to be overshadowed by over-emphasis of monitoring and evaluation which are also in turn largely saddled by unsupportive cultural practices, ineffective implementation of improvement measures and lack of easily discernible plans. In the context of such paradoxes, the study enriches the existing theories by suggesting a five steps’ (Analyse-Plan- Improve-Measure- Improve) cyclical framework that the public sector managers can emulate as a moderator for undertaking effective continuous improvement in the increasingly contemporary complex and demanding public sector organisations.