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Quality management in universities: towards an integrated approach?

Maria J. Manatos (ISEG Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal) (CIPES Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies, Porto, Portugal)
Maria J. Rosa (DEGEI Department of Economics, Management and Industrial Engineering, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal) (CIPES Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies, Porto, Portugal)
Cláudia S. Sarrico (ISEG Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal) (CIPES Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies, Porto, Portugal)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 2 January 2018

1029

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically test the thesis that universities are developing their different quality management (QM) systems comprehensively and integrating them in their broader management and governance systems, covering different processes, organisational levels and the principles of QM.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical work is based on a country case study which embeds three paradigmatic university case studies. Data are obtained from institutional documents, as well as from individual and panel interviews. A content analysis using N-Vivo was undertaken.

Findings

Universities show signs of integrating QM in their overall management and governance framework. They develop their QM systems with a focus on teaching and learning, but they are increasingly trying to integrate their other processes. They seek to involve their different organisational levels, from the programme to the institutional level. Universities cover most QM principles, but show deficiencies regarding customer focus, mutually beneficial supplier relationships, involvement of people and process and system approach.

Research limitations/implications

The research shows the results of three paradigmatic cases regarding QM implementation, since these were the first to have their QM systems certified by the Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education. In future work, it would be interesting to understand how other universities are developing their QM systems and whether implementation occurs in an integrated way.

Practical implications

The authors expect that the results will add to the discussion on the implementation of QM in universities, further contributing to the development of truly integrated approaches to QM in higher education.

Originality/value

The paper discusses the QM systems which are being developed and implemented in universities and analyses how integrated they are, as only those that are fully integrated will contribute to improve the overall quality of universities.

Keywords

Citation

Manatos, M.J., Rosa, M.J. and Sarrico, C.S. (2018), "Quality management in universities: towards an integrated approach?", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 126-144. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-04-2016-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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