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Does total quality management reduce employees' role conflict?

Pei‐Lee Teh (Faculty of Management, Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Malaysia)
Chen‐Chen Yong (Institute of China Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Veeri Arumugam (Faculty of Management, Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Malaysia)
Keng‐Boon Ooi (Faculty of Business and Finance, University Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kampar, Malaysia)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 25 September 2009




The purpose of this paper is to examine the total quality management (TQM) practices of both manufacturing and service firms in order to determine the relationship between the multidimensionality of TQM practices and role conflict of employees.


Questionnaires are distributed to 433 employees of 98 different firms from manufacturing and service industries in Malaysia.


The results support significant negative correlation among all TQM practices (i.e. leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, human resource focus, process management and information analysis) and role conflict. By employing multiple regression analysis, leadership, process management and information analysis are found to have significant and negative relationship with role conflict. Human resource focus is reported to have a significant and positive relationship with role conflict.

Practical implications

This model is ideal for practical usage by managers to evaluate the perceptions of role conflict of employees in TQM‐oriented firms. The findings suggest that firms should look into ways of developing the major roles of leadership and process management as well as improving efficient use of information analysis in order to reduce the detrimental role conflict of employees. This finding may also help administrators and individuals to attain a fine‐grained understanding of different dimensions of TQM in relation to role conflict.


TQM practices appear to be related to role conflict, addressing an apparent noticeable gap in the literature of TQM and the psychological well‐being of employees. This paper also lays the foundation for formation of a theoretically based model which integrates the elements of TQM and role conflict.



Teh, P., Yong, C., Arumugam, V. and Ooi, K. (2009), "Does total quality management reduce employees' role conflict?", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 109 No. 8, pp. 1118-1136.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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