Research carried out at the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology over a ten‐year period has led to the authors identifying six levels of TQM adoption. The article examines all six in detail, moving from level one: uncommitted, through to level six‐ world‐class. Agues that the levels are not inevitable for every organization as it progresses through a TQM project, but they do indicate common characteristics and behaviour in relation to TQM. Focuses on Uncommitted, Drifters, Tool pushers, Improvers, Award winners and World‐class organisations, giving examples of activity typical to each category. Concludes by inviting managers to consider the six levels of TQM adoption and place their organization in one of them.
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