A Critical Investigation into the Heirarchical Nature of TQM Drivers and Enablers using Structural modelling

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Mohamed, Sherif

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Stewart, Rodney

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Total Quality Management (TQM) has been subjected to definitional ambiguities among scholars and practitioners in the sense that there is a lack of consensus as to the exact meaning of the term. While some authors contend that TQM is a set of management values, others conceptualise it as a strategy and philosophy. Notwithstanding the foregoing, TQM is acknowledged as a critical, comprehensive and complex management topic which based on a large number of principles embraces all aspects of the organisation as well as its customers and suppliers. Despite a plethora of TQM research studies; there is an evident scarcity in scholarly literature about the hierarchical nature of TQM drivers and enablers. The paucity of research on how TQM drivers and enablers influence each other, and how they, individually or collectively, influence organisational outcomes is surprising in light of the widespread adoption of TQM. In the Australian context, TQM is deployed widely through compliance with: (1) the international management standard ISO 9001, or (2) through an elemental approach as promoted by many of the TQM practitioners, consultants and professed experts in the field, or (3) by alignment with the prize-criteria Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF), or more often, some combination of all three approaches. In view of the above, this research study reports on a critical investigation of the hierarchical nature of TQM drivers and enablers. A review of the literature identified 16 drivers and enablers group elements (attributes), which positively influence organisational outcomes. The study adopted Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) to help structure the collective knowledge of a group of TQM experts (via a pilot study) in order to construct a hierarchical network representation of the complex pattern of the contextual relationship among all pairs of identified drivers and enablers. Eleven experts from differing organisations in industry, academia and the government participated in this pilot study. The collective views and responses were developed into an online Research Questionnaire, which 159 respondents from differing Australian organisations completed.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Griffith School of Engineering

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TQM drivers and enablers

Total quality management

Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM)

Structural modelling

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