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Trends in quality management research in higher education institutions

Juan José Tarí ( University of Alicante Alicante Spain )
Gavin Dick ( Kent University Canterbury United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 17 March 2016




The purpose of this study is to determine the state of research in quality management in higher education institutions based on a review of the academic literature. The aim is to provide universities with the best evidence for informing their focus and models for quality improvement. Despite quality’s role growing in importance as universities strive to compete in an increasingly underfunded market for students and research funds the review shows that current research is limited in volume and scope.


To ensure the widest coverage in our systematic literature review we use three databases: ScienceDirect, ABI/Inform, and Emerald.


The findings show that the three most common topics are quality management implementation issues, quality management models, techniques and tools, and quality management dimensions. The key quality management enabling dimensions found are: people management, process management and information and analysis, while the results dimension is predominantly focused on an understanding of stakeholders’ requirements and feedback on their perceptions of performance. We find in this literature that students are discussed as both end customers as graduates and participants in the learning process who have views on their experience. Also provided is an analysis that shows popular journal outlets, research methodologies used and country focus. The paper concludes with recommendations for the development of quality management for universities, and a future research agenda.


This article is the first literature of research in quality management in Higher Education Institutions following the model used in previous literature reviews on quality management and operations management.


Tarí, J.J. and Dick, G. (2016), "Trends in quality management research in higher education institutions", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 26 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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