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A longitudinal study of TQM implementation: factors influencing success and failure

Wright, Gillian H. and Taylor, W. Andrew (2003) A longitudinal study of TQM implementation: factors influencing success and failure. Omega: the international journal of management science, 31 (2). pp. 97-111. ISSN 0305-0483

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Abstract

This is one of a very few longitudinal research studies of the link between TQM implementation and successful outcomes. The paper reports on perceived TQM success for a cohort of 109 firms over a 5-year period. Some 42 firms, predominantly small in size, had discontinued with TQM, while the remaining 67 firms reported varying degrees of success. The data suggests that the size of firm, the nature of the customer base and the holding of ISO9000 series certification has had no significant effect on TQM outcomes for this cohort. The research has also highlighted some necessary antecedents for TQM success. In particular, managers need to understand the nature and purpose of TQM, its relationship to ISO9000, and the potential benefits that can accrue from its implementation. We have shown that these factors are significantly associated with perceived TQM success. They are also significant for the discontinuing firms. Deriving success from TQM has also been shown to be significantly associated with (i) the time since adoption, (ii) the inclusion of quality objectives in the strategic planning process, and (iii) the need for senior managers to take charge of TQM and to ensure that the majority of employees are involved in its implementation. While these findings are supportive of such assertions in the literature, this paper provides further robust empirical evidence from a cross-section of UK companies in a longitudinal research design. This research has also contributed to the debate about the effects of firm size and ISO9000 certification. The paper concludes by proposing the next phase of analysis of these firms, based on five additional performance variables collected during both studies of the cohort.

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