This paper adopts a critical perspective in seeking to inquire how TQM‐related models, developed initially in large organisations, are applied in the SME context. Using a grounded inductive approach, a study is made of 20 SME cases, where a quality model, the balanced scorecard, has been applied. A grounded model is derived which shows the critical factors in regard to the principles of TQM, when quality models are applied in an SME context. The findings indicate TQM, when a quality model is applied in an SME context. The findings indicate that SMEs can be compromised by the mechanistic and formalised nature of such models, which the SMEs consider as adding bureaucracy, while needing to remain flexible and innovative in a very dynamic environment over which they have little control.
McAdam, R. (2000), "Quality models in an SME context: A critical perspective using a grounded approach", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 305-323. https://doi.org/10.1108/02656710010306166
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