Why quality management programs fail: A strategic and operations management perspective

Muhammad Asif (School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, Enschede,The Netherlands)
Erik Joost de Bruijn (School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, Enschede,The Netherlands)
Alex Douglas (Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)
Olaf A.M. Fisscher (School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, Enschede,The Netherlands)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Publication date: 4 September 2009

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to elaborate the reasons why quality management programs (QMPs) frequently fail to produce the intended results, and to demonstrate how QMPs could be effectively institutionalised in an organisational setting.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of literature from different management fields was carried out to determine how the main issues about QMPs' implementation are discussed in diverse areas (such as strategic and operations management) and how useful insights regarding better implementation and institutionalisation of QMPs could thus be induced.

Findings

To harness maximum benefits, QMPs need to be implemented as a meta‐methodology (or meta‐management) targeting the whole enterprise. The QMPs need to be effectively integrated with the business strategy, which steers the business processes towards its unique competitive advantage. An undesirable scenario would be employing QMPs as sub‐methodologies that take the form of tools and techniques (quick fixes) and thus remain as stand‐alone programs which fail to yield desired results. Institutionalisation of QMPs requires a context specific design that promotes greater buy‐in by employees; developing the routines and structures that act as memory of organisational knowledge, and nurturing a common and fostering culture (instead of various sub‐cultures). Managerial intent of QMP implementation, i.e. performance improvement or legitimisation in the eyes of stakeholders, also determines the success or failures of QMPs.

Practical implications

This paper should provide practitioners and academics with a better understanding of managerial actions and factors that lead QMPs to failures and how such problems could be tackled. This research also provides a better understanding of managerial actions about QMPs implementation that are actually counter‐productive.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to theory and practice by explaining the reasons for QMPs failures and thus how such failures could be prevented. The research has significant originality, as there is little research to date focusing on the QMPs problems explained through perspectives from strategic management and operations management literature.

Keywords

Citation

Asif, M., Joost de Bruijn, E., Douglas, A. and Fisscher, O.A.M. (2009), "Why quality management programs fail: A strategic and operations management perspective", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 778-794. https://doi.org/10.1108/02656710910984165

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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