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TQM and market orientation in care home services

Eduardo San Miguel (Department of Financial Economics II, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain)
Iñaki Heras-Saizarbitoria (Department of Management, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain)
Juan José Tarí (Department of Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 5 September 2016




The purpose of this paper is to operationalize the concepts of total quality management (TQM) and market orientation (MO) and to analyze the relationship between them in a major economic sector of activity, namely, the social services sector.


The paper analyzes the aforementioned relationships by means of a quantitative study carried out with information from managers of 137 Spanish organizations in the field of social service provision and, more specifically, in nursing homes for the elderly. Structural equation models were used to contrast the relationships.


Evidence is provided for the multi-dimensional structure of TQM and MO. The results confirm that TQM contributes to a greater degree of MO in the organizations analyzed, since a significant positive relationship between a set of components of the first concept (namely, processes, leadership and people) and the second is found.

Practical implications

Managers need to take into account the fact that the application of a management system in nursing homes that is based on TQM dimensions favors the development of an MO culture. The staff are the key factor in orientating the residential home toward the market.


The research covers a gap in the literature since these relationships have not been studied empirically in depth in service sectors such as social services and nursing homes, despite great and growing economic importance of this sector.



This paper is a result of a research group funded by the Basque Autonomous Government (Grupos de Investigación del Sistema Universitario Vasco; IT1073-16). The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to the editor and to the anonymous reviewers for their assistance, since their constructive criticism and suggestions helped to improve and develop the paper.


San Miguel, E., Heras-Saizarbitoria, I. and Tarí, J.J. (2016), "TQM and market orientation in care home services", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 33 No. 8, pp. 1076-1098.



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