The purpose of the study reported is to explore the approaches that multinational companies take in order to handle international differences in their management of quality. Qualitative methods for data collection have been used. The empirical data consist of in‐depth and/or focus group interviews at five multinational companies. The study shows that, although the magnitude of the problems raised by international differences is limited, some important implications exist. The differences that have most impact are those of culture, and especially the cultural dimension of power distance. The issue of centralisation versus decentralisation is discussed. The importance of the commitment of top management and having a common value base throughout the company is highlighted. A framework for handling international differences in a multinational company is proposed.
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