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Sustaining ISO 9001-based QMS in higher education: a reality?

Roslina Ab Wahid (Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 13 June 2019

Issue publication date: 21 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to describe how a large public university sustains its ISO 9001 quality management system (QMS) for the past 20 years. At the same time, this paper also provides a snapshot on the problems and challenges faced and overcame by the university in its quality journey.


This is a case study and therefore it describes interventions and experiences within the university as the subject understudy.


There are four main phases of QMS that the university has undergone, namely, initiation, internalisation, alignment and improvement in the last 20 years. Critical success factors for implementing and maintaining the QMS are commitment from people, training and good communication. Some of the problems and challenges encountered have included a lack of knowledge and understanding of the processes and standards, lack of relevant skills, lack of commitment and cooperation from people, lack of resources and poor communication.


This paper provides insights into the world of QMS’s sustainability in a large public university that will be useful as a guide for academic managers and administrators. It also presents the issues of transitioning from the previous to the current standard experienced by the university which has not been discussed by many.



Ab Wahid, R. (2019), "Sustaining ISO 9001-based QMS in higher education: a reality?", The TQM Journal, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 563-577.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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