In contemporary management in the 1990s, a strategy utilized by an increasing number of organizations for effective change and sustained competitive advantage is total quality management (TQM). There have been many established applications in manufacturing over the last two decades and, more recently, in services and the public sector. However, despite expectations that higher educational institutions should lead the field, TQM has been insignificant until recently. Aims to determine the advantages of TQM and how TQM can be effectively and efficiently applied in higher education institutions. Develops a TQM excellence (HETQMEX) model for higher education and training based on fundamental concepts of service quality: 5‐S, marketing and education quality control, quality control circles, ISO 9000 and total preventive maintenance. Acknowledges the diversity of customers that TQM must satisfy and highlights some of the problems encountered in implementing the model, based on well‐founded research and the experience of the authors.
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