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Bridging the gap between TQM and HRM: mapping knowledge and identifying areas for future research

Giulia Flamini (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Roma, Italy)
Luca Pareschi (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Roma, Italy)
Marcello Martinez (Dipartimento di Economia, Universita degli studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Capua, Italy)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 28 February 2023

Issue publication date: 18 March 2024




Since the first definition of Total Quality Management (TQM) was established, its inseparable relationship with Human Resource Management (HRM) has been undeniable. However, many years have passed since this initial definition was made. During this time, not only have TQM and HRM evolved, but their relationship has also adapted in order to accompany and follow the environmental and technological changes that have ultimately changed the ways the authors work and how the authors perceive quality. This study provides a detailed map of the knowledge evolution of the TQM–HRM relationship. It also identifies interesting gaps for future researchers to consider to enable us to better understand emerging challenges and identify the next steps in the progression of TQM literature.


The study adopted a bibliometric analysis approach, using a systematic literature review of a data set that included 132 peer-reviewed articles published between 1991 and 2021 to identify thematic topics. In exploring each of these, the authors created a framework to spotlight future explorative and exploitative research questions.


The results show that literature on the relationship between HRM and TQM focuses on six topics: a different performance appraisal (PA); a different role for the human resources (HR) department; HRM practices, such as different bridges between JIT and TQM; the integration of job satisfaction into TQM goals; different TQM healers; and the different effects of HRM practices on firm performance. This paper provides clear interpretations of these topics and offers some recommendations for how HRM studies could contribute towards the development of TQM research, thus forming a clear agenda for the future of TQM–HRM research.


This study represents the first attempt to systematize, analyze and critically interpret TQM–HRM studies, promoting a collective reflection on the state of the art and stimulating further discussions on this topic.



Flamini, G., Pareschi, L. and Martinez, M. (2024), "Bridging the gap between TQM and HRM: mapping knowledge and identifying areas for future research", The TQM Journal, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 720-742.



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