Synopses & Reviews
Is Total Quality Management, or TQM, a fad whose day has come and gone? Doomsayers have been predicting the demise of the American quality movement almost since its inception in the 1980s, and the media has widely noted examples of TQM's failures. But in The Death and Life of the American
Quality Movement, fifteen respected experts demonstrate that TQM is anything but old news. In fact, it's more important for an organization's competitive success than ever before.
In a clear, nontechnical style, leading quality practitioners and researchers examine the critical issues in quality and propose powerful strategies for different sizes and types of firms. They outline seven key elements for a successful quality program: provide leadership from top management;
focus intensively on meeting customer needs; emphasize the quality of business processes from both an internal and external (customer) perspective; decentralize decision making; replace barriers between departments with cross-functional management; combine continuous improvement with breakthrough
strategies; and finally, create supportive reward systems. As they discuss these key elements, the contributors stress the importance of linking quality to better corporate performance (such as increased market share). Improved quality is not viewed as an end in itself. Rather, "return to quality"
provides an important focus for the book.
While avoiding simplistic one-size-fits-all solutions, they analyze the relationships among quality, strategy, downsizing, participation, and marketing. Much of the book examines TQM in action, drawing lessons from companies with exemplary programs. For instance, it explores the role of TQM in
small high-tech companies, countering the common assumption that TQM is a big-company trend, outlining the specific quality adaptations high-tech companies need to make, and allaying fears that TQM stifles creativity. It suggests pragmatic "guerilla tactics" that mobilize employees who resist
supporting quality initiatives because of past unrealistic promises or disappointments, details the remarkable efforts of Southern Pacific Railroad to use quality as its centerpiece in the company's struggle for survival--an effort which runs counter to the belief that quality initiatives yield
long-term, not short-term, benefits--and analyzes top management at Alcoa as they sought to launch their quality program, describing the various problems they encountered along the way and how they responded.
Offering a wide range of perspectives on TQM, from an "examiner's-eye-view" of the prestigious Baldrige National Quality Award, to a telling contemporary comparison of the American and Japanese quality movements, this is a timely reassessment of Total Quality Management, brimming with practical
advice, and delivering a crucial message for managers of all companies.
"Bold stories by and about Japanese women who scorn the veneer of politesse and powder....Let's hope that more such books will follow and that, in the process, Japanese women will continue to recast themselves in their own images." Elle Magazine
"Divorce, marriage, infidelity, apathy, boredom, and sex are frankly explored in tales that never veer toward the sentimental or overwrought....Move over, Haruki Murakami." Booklist
"Eight short stories about contemporary Japanese women grappling with the darker sides of sexuality....Not exactly cheery or uplifting as if the eight women writers share the same depressed consciousness." Kirkus Reviews
"The quality of these stories is uneven, varying widely from piece to piece. But what some may lack in literary merit is made up for by what they offer collectively: a still-rare glimpse into the lives of Japanese women. As contemporary harbingers of a writing tradition that began a thousand years ago with Lady Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji
, these writers capture small and large moments of the everyday. Thankfully, you'll find no Hollywood geishas here...just women living and surviving the challenges of their daily lives." Terry Hong, The Christian Science Monitor
(read the entire CSM review
Fresh, bold, and vibrant, Inside and Other Short Fiction
paints a vivid portrait of the lives of contemporary Japanese women through the most original, thoughtful, and cutting-edge fiction from Japanese women writers today.
With provocative titles such as "Piss," "The Unfertilized Egg," and "My Son's Lips," these eight short stories explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society, where women have unprecedented sexual and economic freedom. From teens to fifties; married, single, divorced; the high school girl, the career woman, the sex worker, the housewife, the mother this anthology deals frankly and explicitly with a broad range of women's experiences, and showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women.
With eight short stories from Amy Yamada, Chiya Fujino, Shungiku Uchida, Tamaki Daido, Rio Shimamoto, Yuzuki Muroi, Junko Hasegawa, and Nobuko Takagi, this anthology presents a range of styles and perspectives from long-established favorites, prize-winning novelists, and outspoken newcomers many of whom are published here for the first time in English. The foreword is by award-winning Japanese-American novelist Ruth Ozeki, author of My Year of Meats, and the jacket art is a section of ID400 by internationally renowned artist Tomoko Sawara, whose striking photo-booth images of herself in various guises question her own identity and the identity of all women.
Inside and other short fiction showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women writers today-including prize-winning novelists and authors never before published in English-as they explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society.
AMY YAMADA ("Fiesta"), widely published overseas and with many fans among Western readers, offers us a sophisticated psychological portrait of a sexually repressed woman. TAMAKI DAIDO ("Milk"), winner of the Akutagawa Prize in 2002, and talented young newcomer RIO SHIMAMOTO ("Inside"), paint two very different pictures of teenage life. The trials of a busy working mother are depicted by SHUNGIKU UCHIDA ("My Son's Lips"), who shocked Japan in 1993 with the publication of her novel, Father Fucker. YUZUKI MUROI ("Piss"), a prolific, popular and outspoken essayist, novelist and TV commentator, tells the sexually explicit and very moving story of a young Tokyo prostitute. Winner of the 1999 Akutagawa Prize, CHIYA FUJINO ("Her Room"), delves into the relationship between two women, one divorced and one single, with a subtle and powerful tale. Well-known essayist, JUNKO HASEGAWA ("The Unfertilized Egg") , makes a first foray into fiction with a hard-hitting portrait of the single thirty-something lifestyle. NOBUKO TAKAGI ("The Shadow of the Orchid") is a highly respected member of the Japanese literary establishment, and winner of many prizes, including the Akutagawa Prize in 1984. Her short story is a sensitive depiction of a moment of crisis in the life of a fifty-year-old housewife.
Collection of eight short works--"cutting-edge fiction from today's Japanese women writers--"that explores the universal issues of female identity, and deals frankly and explicitly with a broad range of women's experiences. *Foreword by American novelist Ruth Ozeki; jacket art by world renowned photographer Tomoko Sawada.
About the Author
RUTH OZEKI is the popular and award-winning Japanese-American author of My Year of Meats
and All Over Creation
. She divides her time between New York and British Columbia.
The jacket art is a section of ID400 by TOMOKO SAWADA, an artist famous both in Japan and overseas for striking photographic images that question the identity of women.