To read this content please select one of the options below:

Pareto analysis of critical success factors of total quality management: A literature review and analysis

G. Karuppusami (Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, India)
R. Gandhinathan (PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India)

The TQM Magazine

ISSN: 0954-478X

Article publication date: 1 July 2006




The purpose of this literature review is to identify and propose a list of few vital critical success factors (CSFs) of total quality management (TQM) for the benefit of researchers and industries.


Even though there has been a large number of articles published related to TQM in the last few decades, only a very few articles focused on documenting the CSFs of TQM using statistical methods. The main objective of this literature review is to investigate and list the CSFs of TQM according to the descending order of frequencies of occurrences. The domain of review is the scale development studies and the TQM effect versus performance measurement studies. The review period is between 1989 and 2003. Rigorous statistical reliability tests and validity tests were conducted during these studies to factorize the CSFs and hence these studies were chosen for the literature review. Finally, the quality tool “Pareto analysis” was used to sort and arrange the CSFs according to the order of criticality.


An examination of 37 such TQM empirical studies resulted in compilation of 56 CSFs. Implementation difficulties exist to operationalize such a large number of CSFs in organizations. This study analyzed and sorted the CSFs in descending order according to the frequency of occurrences using Pareto analysis. A few vital CSFs were identified and reported. The results of this study will help in a smoother penetration of TQM programs in organizations.

Practical implications

In future, the researchers in quality management may develop models to measure and sustain the level of implementation of TQM in industries. CSFs are the essential constructs based on which further statistical analysis can be carried out. The present study will guide the researchers in selecting the reliable set of CSFs for empirical studies. Industries can benefit by adopting the results of this study for effective implementation of TQM.


This paper presents a solution to the difficulties hitherto faced by the organizations in operationalizing the very large number of CSFs proposed by the various empirical studies published in TQM during the last two decades.



Karuppusami, G. and Gandhinathan, R. (2006), "Pareto analysis of critical success factors of total quality management: A literature review and analysis", The TQM Magazine, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 372-385.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles