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The soft side of TQM and teachers job satisfaction: an empirical investigation in primary and secondary education

Niki Glaveli (Department of Business Administration, University of the Aegean, Chios, Greece)
Fotios Vouzas (Human Resources Management, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia) (Department of Business Administration, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Myrsine Roumeliotou (Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of the Aegean, Mytilene, Greece)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 25 May 2021




The current study provides insights on the application of critical soft TQM practices in primary and secondary education and their impact on teachers' job satisfaction (TJS).


Based on a review of the literature related to TQM application in primary and secondary education, six soft TQM elements were traced as critical to the success of TQM implementation in the school environment: participation/involvement in continuous improvement, teamwork, empowerment, appraisal systems/recognition and reward for quality, training and development (T&D) and leadership (vision/commitment to quality culture). Moreover, their relationship to JS was theoretically founded and empirically tested. An online questionnaire was used as the research instrument. The participants were 200 primary and secondary public school teachers working in urban, semi urban and rural regions of Greece. After assessing the validity and reliability of the measurement scales, multiple regression analysis was applied to test the hypothesized relationships.


The research findings revealed that leadership and empowerment are the most highly implemented TQM practices in primary and secondary education. Moreover, participation/involvement, appraisal systems/recognition and rewards and leadership were the TQM elements that had a positive association with TJS.

Practical implications

The outcomes of the study are of help to school principals and policy-makers in order to design and implement TQM policies that advance the quality of teaching and the effectiveness of processes in the primary and secondary education system, as well as to satisfy and motivate teachers for continuous improvement.


This was, to the best of our knowledge, the first study that has explored the impact of soft TQM elements on TJS.



The authors are grateful to the anonymous referees of the journal for their valuable comments that helped them improve the quality of the paper. They would also like to express their gratitude to the Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and Emerald editorial team members for their support.


Glaveli, N., Vouzas, F. and Roumeliotou, M. (2021), "The soft side of TQM and teachers job satisfaction: an empirical investigation in primary and secondary education", The TQM Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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