Shoji Shiba

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Shoji Shiba (11 January 1933) is a Japanese business theorist, Professor Emeritus of University of Tsukuba in Japan, and an international expert in Total Quality Management (TQM) and Breakthrough Management. He won the Deming Prize in 2002. Globally he is best known for developing the "Five Step Discovery Process" for Breakthrough Management. In the recent years he has been guiding the transformation of the Indian manufacturing industry.


  • TQM is focused on everyone's satisfaction. TQM is an unyielding, continuing, improving effort by everyone in the company to understand, meet, and exceed the expectations of customers. TQM is not just a quality control program.
    • Alex d'Arbeloff cited in: Shōji Shiba, New American TQM. Productivity press, 1993. p. 315
  • As Uchimaru sees things, an engineer who doesn't think TQM applies to technical activities must not understand either engineering or TQM or both. TQM is the application of the scientific method to business (pick an important problem, get the facts, analyze the facts, find the underlying truth, plan a method of improvement based on the underlying truth, systematically test it to verify that it works, standardize the new method, and then the cycle around again)
    • Shōji Shiba, New American TQM. Productivity press, 1993. p. 463
    • Shiba talks about Kiyoshi Uchimaru, who was president of NEC's main microchip design subsidiary in the 1980s.

Quotes about Shoji Shiba[edit]

  • The great quality teacher, Shoji Shiba, often tells people that the biggest barrier to changing understanding is the following word: IAKI, which is not a Japanese word at all. It is an acronym for I ALREADY KNOW IT... Professor Shiba then goes on to say: “Yes, you may know it, but you don't know how to do it!” There is an enormous difference between knowledge and know-how... Too many executives believe that if they listen to a lecture or read a book they will know how to do something....Nobody ever became a great lover by just reading a book or watching a video. You have to get in and do it. There are some things you can only learn through experience.
    • Myron Tribus "You Cannot Lead What You Do Not Understand — You Do Not Understand What You Haven't Done". Journal of Innovative Management, Fall 1996; As quoted in: William J. Altier (1999) The Thinking Manager's Toolbox. p. 9

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