The total quality management (TQM) concept was originally developed to increase the efficiency of occidental and Japanese organisations. As a consequence of its success there, it has spread world‐wide. Companies in many developing countries are attempting its implementation. However, the cultural environment in these countries may be significantly different from the prevalent one in the regions where TQM has flourished. This paper aims to examine the potential for successful TQM implementation in a “theoretically” unfavourable TQM environment, and what can be expected from such implementation if it is successful.
This study is based on a case of a company with characteristics that are in conflict with what are accepted to be necessary for successful implementation of TQM. The development of TQM in the company is examined and successes and failures in the implementation process they implemented are evaluated. The degree of success in implementing TQM is assessed through the changes that resulted in both internal performance indicators and an independent external governmental evaluation of the company.
It is possible to implement TQM principles in an environment deficient in factors that are generally accepted as critical to its successful implementation. The identification of and reaction to cultural difficulties are central to a successful TQM implementation approach taken. Positive outcomes may exceed, in terms of speed and scale, what could be expected from the occidental/Japanese model for successful TQM implementation.
As the research is based on a specific case study, it does not provide a proof that all companies in unfavourable environments can benefit from TQM implementation.
Very little research is currently available about TQM implementation in unfavourable environments, about how to deal with these specificities, and what benefits can realistically be expected if the implementation is successful.
Jones, J.P. and Seraphim, D. (2008), "TQM implementation and change management in an unfavourable environment", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 291-306. https://doi.org/10.1108/02621710810858614
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