TQM and business success:do all the TQM drivers have the same relevance? an empirical study in Spanish firms

Carmona-Márquez, F. and Leal-Millan, A.G. and Vázquez-Sánchez, A. and Leal-Rodríguez, Antonio Luis and Eldridge, Stephen (2016) TQM and business success:do all the TQM drivers have the same relevance? an empirical study in Spanish firms. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 33 (3). pp. 361-379. ISSN 0265-671X

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Purpose Prior studies by Salaheldin (2009) and Talib et al. (2011) have assessed the relationships between TQM critical success factors (CSF) and business results. This study builds upon this research by considering the relationships between these CSFs and their sequencing during the implementation of TQM. Furthermore, the influence exerted by the maturity of TQM implementation on the link between instrumental drivers and performance is explored. Design/methodology/approach The TQM drivers are clustered by means of three constructs: strategic enablers, tactical drivers and instrumental drivers and a model employed in which the strategic and tactical factors are treated as antecedents of the instrumental drivers. The direct effect of each cluster on business results and the indirect relationship of strategic and tactical factors via the mediating role of the instrumental drivers are assessed. These assessments use the Partial Least Squares (PLS) approach which is a variance-based Structural Equation Modeling technique using a sample of 113 Spanish organizations with experience of implementing a TQM program. Findings The findings confirm the existing relationships among the CSFs and business performance identified by studies Salaheldin (2009) and Talib et al. (2011). However, our results reveal that instrumental drivers possess the highest variance explanation power over business performance outcomes and it is possible to identify a CSF implementation sequence that generates the greatest impact on business performance. Furthermore, the study was inconclusive with regard to the influence exerted by the number of years of TQM implementation on the link between the instrumental drivers and performance. Research limitations/implications The first is related to organizational bias. It seems likely that those firms which are not satisfied with their TQM system performance would be less likely to be motivated to contribute to the development of this study. Therefore, we have included in the sample a higher proportion of “good” systems than is the case in the population at large. Secondly, although we provide evidence of causality, causality itself has not been proven. Thirdly, this research relies mainly on perceptions and we only used a single method to elicit these perceptions. Finally, this research was carried out in a specific geographical setting (Spanish companies) and we must be cautious about generalizing these results in other contexts. Practical implications This study offers a substantial number of practical implications. First Firms’ managers should emphasize that continuous improvement, benchmarking, and zero-defects mentality is a never-ending process. Especially, they should understand that reliable product/service design is critical to exceed the customers’ expectations, leading to improved business success. The results of this study should also lead managers to seeing a “return on investment” in their efforts to implement a TQM program by firstly, paying more attention on how to implement the instrumental factors, and secondly, avoiding the belief that the passage of time and experience-based learning will bring business performance enhancement and success on their own. Originality/value The results suggest the need to consider whether all the CSFs are equally relevant on the basis of their contribution to business success. For example, strategic enablers are generally considered to be of primary importance with tactical and instrumental drivers assuming a secondary position. Our study challenges this view and highlights the role of instrumental drivers over strategic and tactical factors with the clear implication that managers should focus strongly on daily implementation tasks such as benchmarking, zero-defects mentality and continuous improvement processes in order to achieve good business performance outcomes.

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Journal Article
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International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
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21 Oct 2015 04:57
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 00:43