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Quality managers, authority and leadership

McCabe, S; Rooke, JA; Seymour, D; Brown, P

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S McCabe

JA Rooke

D Seymour

P Brown


This paper reports a research finding that some Quality Managers in the construction industry are
attempting to institute Total Quality (TQ) Management. Having established Quality Assurance
(QA) systems, these managers have realised that the benefits to be gained from this bureaucratic
approach are limited. They now aim to transform the culture of the industry, making it less
adversarial and more customer centred. Using an sociological analysis based on the forms of
legitimation of power identified by Max Weber, the institutional situation of Quality Managers is
examined and their consequent ability to introduce innovation is assessed. Weber suggests that
there are three forms of authority: traditional, charismatic and rational. These are considered in
the light of some modern organisation theory and with reference to the particular problem of
cultural change. It is argued that managers have the best hope of successfully introducing TQ
when they can establish a measure of charismatic authority. This is consistent with the centrality
given to the concept of leadership by writers on TQ. What this might mean in practice is
investigated through an account of the process of setting up a quality circle.


McCabe, S., Rooke, J., Seymour, D., & Brown, P. (1998). Quality managers, authority and leadership. Construction Management and Economics, 16(4), 447-457.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 1998
Deposit Date Feb 10, 2010
Publicly Available Date Apr 5, 2016
Journal Construction Management and Economics
Print ISSN 0144-6193
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 4
Pages 447-457
Keywords Quality Management; Change Management; Culture; Charismatic Authority; Leadership
Publisher URL


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