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Journal cover: International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401
Previously published as: Work Study

Online from: 2004

Subject Area: Performance Management and Measurement

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Exploring soft versus hard factors for TQM implementation in small and medium-sized enterprises


Document Information:
Title:Exploring soft versus hard factors for TQM implementation in small and medium-sized enterprises
Author(s):W.G. Lewis, (Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago), K.F. Pun, (Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago), T.R.M. Lalla, (Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago)
Citation:W.G. Lewis, K.F. Pun, T.R.M. Lalla, (2006) "Exploring soft versus hard factors for TQM implementation in small and medium-sized enterprises", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 55 Iss: 7, pp.539 - 554
Keywords:Small to medium-sized enterprises, Standards, Total quality management
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17410400610702142 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – This paper aims to rank the emphasis placed on critical factors and quality management principles that determine the success of total quality management (TQM) as it applies to quality management system implementation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Design/methodology/approach – This paper is a synthesis of the literature on TQM implementation in SMEs operating in a developing environment and identifies critical factors. These factors are prioritised according to the frequency in which they appeared by number of articles. The compliance requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 standard is mapped to one or a combination of quality management principles (QMPs) on which the standard is based. These principles are grouped as soft and hard and ranked in terms of the number of compliance requirements they represent.

Findings – The paper identifies critical factors of TQM implementation for SMEs operating in a developing economy. Although exploratory in nature, evidence shows that, while researchers have placed more emphasis on the “soft” factors, the compliance requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 standard stress more on the “hard” factors.

Research limitations/implications – The paper shows that the possibility of enriching the theories and practices of TQM implementation and extending the knowledge and applications of “soft” and “hard” factors need to be explored. Contrasting the eight QMPs of ISO 9001:2000 with the evaluation criteria of quality excellence awards needs to be addressed.

Practical implications – This paper reviews the relative importance of “soft” and “hard” factors, and relates the QMPs and compliance requirements of ISO 9001:2000 to TQM implementation in SMEs. It identifies strengths and weaknesses of the standard, and provides a source of information for top management of SMEs interested in implementing a quality management system.

Originality/value – The findings in this paper link the compliance requirements of ISO 9001:2000 to QMPs, and point to areas that tend to be least addressed by the ISO 9001:2000 standard. The paper also advocates a holistic approach to safeguard proper TQM implementation and continual improvement of people, product and processes in SMEs.



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