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Today's engineering managers who use total quality management (TQM) face the challenge of moving it from adoption to seamless incorporation into their organizations. Both the application and the theory of TQM can be advanced through an examination of the philosophy of pragmatism and the sciences of adaptation. Pragmatism provides a philosophy that establishes a theory for incorporating TQM into engineers' management practice; it derives its epistemology from actual experience. In essence, pragmatism suggests that practical experience, such as that gained from the continuous improvement of and experimentation with TQM, provides the basis for successful organizational performance. The sciences of adaptation identify the characteristics of organizations that promote successful adaptation. They suggest that incremental adjustments to ongoing change are keys to effective and successful growth. This paper explores both philosophy and science to identify actions and attitudes that can enable the success of TQM in an organization.