Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 241-258

First online:

Total Quality Management: A Plan for Optimizing Human Potential?

  • A. Paul WagnerAffiliated withSchool of Humanities and Human Science and School of Education, University of Houston-Clear Lake

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Israel Scheffler's ground-breaking essay, On Human Potential, deserves to be more widely known among educational policy analysts, especially in light of the popularity in educationist circles of W.E. Deming's organizational philosophy known as “Total Quality Management”. In what follows,I argue that the heuristical value of Deming's perscriptions are entailed in Scheffler's On Human Potential. More importantly, I argue, where Deming's work falls short, especially in being naive about the human condition, Scheffler's analysis provides a foundation for management theory in education that insures the flourishing of an optimal number of contributing participants. In fashioning these ideas, Scheffler brings pioneering thinking to the emerging fields of management studies generally and educational policy specifically.