The decision as to which management practices should be emphasized for effective TQM implementation has been a major concern of decision-makers in the field (Flynn et al. , 1995). In an exploratory investigation of the relationships between specific quality management practices and quality performance, these authors contrived a framework and found that different quality management practices lead to success in different quality dimensions. A study by Adam (1994) examined the relationships between alternate quality improvement approaches and actual operating and financial performance. The results indicated that each organization has a profile that identifies the improvement strategies that are required to achieve objectives, whether they are to improve quality, operating and/or financial performance.
Depending upon the selected measure(s) of quality, operating and financial performance, an appropriate approach to quality improvement can also be selected. Samson and Terziovski (1999) attempted to find the relationships between the various TQM practices, individually and collectively, and company performance. The results showed that the intensity of TQM practice does contribute significantly to the performance. In another investigation, Terziovski and Samson (1999) tested the relationship between TQM practice and organizational performance with and without the covariates, company size, industry type and ISO 9000 certification status.
The authors concluded that there were significant differences in the relationship between TQM and organizational performance across industry type and size, especially on the effect of defect rates, warranty costs and innovation of new products. The work of Powell (1995) provided valuable insights into the `soft issues' of TQM. Powell explored TQM as a potential source of sustainable competitive advantage and found that the most generally acceptable features associated with TQM, such as quality training, process improvement, benchmarking, etc.
may not be that useful for effective TQM implementation.
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