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Leadership and quality management practices in Thailand

Tipparat Laohavichien (Department of Operations Management,Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Lawrence D. Fredendall (Department of Management, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)
R. Stephen Cantrell (Department of Management, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




This study aims to examine the effects of leadership behaviors on quality management (QM) practices and their effects on quality performance of manufacturing companies in Thailand. The hypotheses were that leadership leads to infrastructure practices, which in turn support quality practices. These quality practices improve quality performance. This was tested using a structural equation model. In general, the model was supported although all of the individual practices examined here were not statistically significant.


A survey of quality managers of firms located within Thailand was conducted and analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM) to determine how leadership affected quality practices which in turn affected quality performance. The interactions of leadership with infrastructure and core variables were tested and found to be insignificant.


The SEM established that leadership behaviors supported one infrastructure practice – human resource management, which in turn supported one core QM practice – statistical process control. While six dimensions of transformational and two dimensions of transactional analysis were tested, only two dimensions of transformational and one dimension of transactional leadership were retained. However, these did load onto one leadership second‐order factor. The interactions of leadership with infrastructure and core practices were not significant. The core practices significantly affected three quality performance measures – product returns, product rework and scrap levels.

Research limitations/implications

Further investigation is needed to understand how the Thai culture affects the use of quality practices. Since there was only one respondent per company, the study needs additional validation. Further investigation of the transformational and transactional leadership constructs is necessary.

Practical implications

This suggests to international managers that many of the quality techniques are useful in both developing countries and developed countries. It also suggests that transactional leadership was more effective than prior literature expected it be.


This paper demonstrates that leadership in Thailand is important to the implementation of quality practices. The findings indicate that leadership is an important component of QM and affects infrastructure practices which in turn affect core quality practices. Finally, these core practices affect quality performance. This confirms prior QM models. A major finding is the importance of the contingent punishment dimension of transactional leadership. The confirmatory factor analysis suggests that the individual dimensions of transformational and transactional leadership are not reliable as currently operationalized and further work is needed to develop reliable leadership scales.



Laohavichien, T., Fredendall, L.D. and Stephen Cantrell, R. (2011), "Leadership and quality management practices in Thailand", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 10, pp. 1048-1070.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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