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Prof. Lucio Cappelli

Contact information:

Term: First Semester

Credits (ECTS): 6

Prerequisites: None

Language of Instruction: English

Class hours: 42


The contemporary markets are increasingly characterized by globalization and the competitive advantages for the companies are related to their ability to satisfy the customer / consumer in areas increasingly complex and articulated. In this context, Quality plays a decisive role in every organization, especially in view of the different forms in which the concept of quality has been gradually evolving. Relying on this approach, the course of Total Quality Management will deepen all major aspects related to the general theme of quality: the historical evolution of the concept, the typical tools of TQM, focusing in particular on the most recent and advanced models, such as the "model of excellence" EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) or the CAF (Common Assessment Framework), expressly designed for the specific needs of public administrations.

Acquired knowledge

The basic aim of the course is to provide students with the theoretical and technical knowledge in order to understand and use the tools and models that are based on the principles of Total Quality Management.

To achieve its objective the course is divided into 4 parts. In the first part the problem of quality is considered from the economic theory point of view. The goal is to provide students with the knowledge to understand the theoretical connection between the concept of quality and its economic origin. The second part examines the historical evolution of the concept of quality, starting from the process of industrialization to the present day, focusing on the decisive role played by the "quality pioneers", especially in Japan in the second afterwar. The purpose of this section is to make students understand in full the origin and the content of the principles of TQM. The third part of the course examines the most important techniques and instruments based on TQM, in order to make the students understand their relevance inside the management criteria of the organizations. Finally, the fourth part concentrates on the EFQM excellence model and CAF model for public administrations, to provide students with knowledge about the latest developments of the approaches based on TQM.

Acquired competences

Students who have passed the exam of Total Quality Management will have acquired, in first, the awareness and ability to promote and develop the pathways activation of the management approaches based on TQM,  in all the organizations in which they will act, in any role. In particular, they will have acquired the skills to deploy and manage within organizations, both public and private, the tools and models that were studied within the course. The professional figure typically combined with the acquired skills is the expert / responsible for quality in the organizations.


•             Quality and economic theory  (2 weeks)

-              price and quality

-              the role of information

-              adverse selection and moral hazard

In this first chapter  the problem of quality is considered from the economic theory point of view.  The intention of the chapter is to provide the students with the theoretical connection between the concept of quality and its economic origin.                

•             History and evolution in the meaning of quality  (2 weeks)

-              quality and markets changes

-              the role of the consumer

-              quality in the industrialization process

-              the “pioneers” of quality

-              the Japanese “revolution” (CWQC)

-              from “quality control” to “quality management”

-              the principles of  the Total Quality

The chapter furnish a brief survey about the historical evolution of the concept of quality, starting just before the industrializing process, throughout the market changing,  toward the role of the “pioneers of quality” and the appearance of the Company Wide Quality Control in Japan. The aim of the chapter is to help the students to place the quality concept and its evolution inside a correct geographical and historical location.

•             Total Quality Management: principles and tools  (4 weeks)

1.            The basic principles of TQM and the strategic tools:

-              the continual improvement

-              the involvement of the human resources

-              the role of the organization leadership

-              the involvement of the supplies

-              the customer satisfaction

2.            The technical  tools:

-              the seven basic control tools

-              the  PDCA method

-              the Quality Function Deployment

-              the benchmarking

-              six sigma;

-       Balanced ScoreCards;

-              ISO 9001:2000

In this chapter the principles of the Total Quality Management are examined and some technical tools are considered.  The goal is to give the students the basis to recognize quality and its related instruments as a strategic method to manage both the particular company processes and the organization as a whole.

•             The way to excellence (3 weeks)

-              quality versus excellence?

-              the Kano’s approach

-              the EFQM model

-              the CAF model

-              the self-assessment approach

The chapter considers some models that implement the concept of excellence in their principles. The  aim of this section is to give to the students a valid suggestion about the developments forward the quality question, with a particular attention to the European context.

Focus and case studies are dealt with along with the theoretical aspects. The purpose is to allow the students to better value what seen before by studying some typical models and some practical cases.



The appropriate material for the exam will be selected and partly distributed by the teacher during the course.

Students not attending the course are free to adopt texts and other sources (articles, websites), but covering the topics of the program.

Anyhow, some interesting books, articles and sites are listed below.


Vincent K. Omachonu, Joel E. Ross: “Principles of Total Quality”, third edition, CRC Press.

Stephen George, Arnold Weimerskirch: Total Quality Management: Strategies and Techniques Proven at Today's Most Successful Companies, John Wiley & Son.


Joseph E. Stiglitz: “The causes and consequences on the dependence of quality on price”, Journal of Economic Literature, 1987, pp. 1-48.

Internet sites:

Asymmetric information:

Cost of quality:,18,Cost of quality

Efqm & caf model:

Kano model:

History of quality:



The evaluation methods are different depending on the frequency or not the lessons from the students.

For students attending the course, two intermediate written exams are foreseen, one on the first half of the program and the other on the second part. The evaluation is based on the average of the results of the two tests. Students may ask to be admitted to an oral supplementary examination.

For students who do not attend the course, the evaluation is done both through a written test based on three open questions, and on an oral test to which those who have at least reached enough in writing are admitted.

Those attending at least 75% of the lessons are considered 'students attending the course'. The course attendance is recognized through signatures at the beginning of the lessons.

[Ultima modifica: martedì 19 gennaio 2021]