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Perceived quality: in search of a definition

Andrey Solin (Stirling School of Management, University of Stirling, Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Adrienne Curry (Stirling School of Management, University of Stirling, Edinburgh, UK)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 29 April 2022

Issue publication date: 7 March 2023




This paper aims to present a review of extant literature representing attempts to define perceived quality and to propose a new definition. Perceived quality (PQ) is a well-researched, yet vaguely defined subject. Despite a plethora of PQ definitions suggested by various scholars, there is no consensus among researchers on what it really is. The main purpose of this study is to offer a conceptualization of PQ that different researchers and practitioners would agree upon.


This study adopted Garvin's five approaches to defining quality as a frame of reference. The paper utilizes a continuum of approaches to underscore the fact that PQ is neither totally subjective nor wholly objective. After a comprehensive analysis of available conceptualizations, the paper then proposes a new definition that captures the intricate nature of PQ and aligns its various perspectives.


The paper proposes a new definition of PQ as an impression of quality. Such a conceptualization of PQ aligns the various researcher perspectives of it. It also highlights the fact that PQ relies on quality cues under conditions of limited product knowledge by the consumer, a situation known as information asymmetry.


The study contributes to the understanding of the elusive concept of PQ by suggesting a new definition of PQ.



Solin, A. and Curry, A. (2023), "Perceived quality: in search of a definition", The TQM Journal, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 778-795.



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