Investigation into the hierarchical nature of TQM variables using structural modelling
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide the empirical evidence supporting the existence of a multi-level hierarchical TQM model showing the structural inter-relationships among a total of 16 TQM variables (i.e. drivers, enablers and outcomes). Design/methodology/approach – The set of identified TQM variables is the product of an in-depth review of the literature, and a robust reiterative process of verification and validation. Inter-relationships among the TQM variables were subjected to the scrutiny of a panel of experts, and were used as a basis for developing a web-based survey to explore the existence as well as strength of the structural relationship between each and every pair of the identified variables using interpretive structural modelling and MICMAC (Impact Matrix Cross-Reference Multiplication Applied to a Classification). Findings – TQM variables were classified and clustered based on their influence and dependence on each other. Variables such as commitment by top management and customer satisfaction appear to have a strong chance to affect change, whereas variables such suppliers and competitors are very dependent on, and sensitive to, the evolution of the influent variables. Originality/value – The paper demonstrates a multi-level TQM model encompassing all identified TQM drivers, enablers, and outcomes. The paper not only addresses a gap in the relevant literature (reduces the evidence scarcity about the hierarchical nature of TQM variables), but also gives insights into the variables with most driving power needing greater management attention.
International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management