Literature Review -Total Quality Management

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

 

 

2.1       Introduction

The aim of this chapter is to position the current research into theoretical realms and the available empirical studies in order to identify the research gaps in the research problem. As such, this chapter reviews the literature related on the research problem, in line with the research aim, objectives, and the research questions. First, the concept of total quality management is defined and the main practices associated with it identified in line with the available literature materials. Further, the key theoretical models related to total quality management practices are brought into focus. The available empirical studies on the subject of total quality management in UAE and other countries are identified and analyzed, which leads to the identification of the research gaps in literature in line with the research objectives and questions. As such, the conceptual framework that the researcher adopts in this study is identified later in this chapter, after identifying the research gaps, before the chapter concludes.

2.2       Total Quality Management

Total quality management (TQM) has become one of the most widely used management acronyms which created buzz in the management practices. As a result, a myriad of definitions have been developed by researchers and scholars with regard to the concept of TQM. According to Obaid, Ali, Saleh, Thami, &Minhas (2015) TQM is a “structured and comprehensive approach that organizations use to improve the quality of products and services” (p. 1). Other studies consider TQM as a process in which organizations focus on in improving the product or service continuously by involvement both the management strategy and employees’ skills, which involves integration between quality and management tools that results in minimizing the losses and increasing the market share of business (Hashmi, 2010; Kanorio, 2014). Other researchers consider TQM as an ideology that highlight the product/ service quality through customer satisfaction by anticipating the needs and expectations of the customers (Al Ali, 2012; Kanorio, 2014). Implementation of total quality management implies totally alteration of the organization’s culture to focus in customer, and this requires comprehensive  involvement and participation of all management’s tools as strategy of the organization and employees’ qualifications and their interests and functions through good communications and  problem solving methods that enhance the preservation of product/or service quality and innovation to achieve and keep customer’s satisfaction ( Talib et al.,  2013; Kanorio, 2014).

In most cases, TQM is considered by practitioners and researchers as a change management approach aimed at improving the quality of services and products in an organization so as to give it a competitive edge against competitors (Arumugam, Chang, Ooi&The, 2009). Nonetheless, it is important to note that TQM plays a critical role in developing management practices aimed at revamping efficiency in value delivery in organizations. As a result, it is important that organizations leverage TQM in order to ensure continuous improvement of their service delivery so as to facilitate the survival of the organization. The need for TQM over the recent years has been necessitated by not only the increasing competition, but also the continued turbulence in the environment in which organizations operate in (Talib, Rahman&Azam, 2013). There are a number of TQP practices that researchers and scholars have established which have been considered to have created value in organizations as well as fostering their competitiveness in the service industry.

2.3       Theories of Total Quality Management

While TQM is generally associated with methodologies aimed at improving the processes and customer service in organizations, there are multiple theories that explain various methodologies of TQM. These theories were developed by quality experts and scholars who largely contributed to the better understanding of what entails TQM practices. Historically, the first theories on TQM were established by Deming and Juran, whose theories were called after their names, and hence Deming’s theory and Juran’s theory. Afterwards Crosby, Feigenbaum, and Ishakawa came up with more theories between 1950s and 1980s.

2.3.1    Deming’s Theory

This theory is named after Dr. Edward Deming, who was among the pioneers of TQM theories in United States and Japan. Deming established the Shewhart cycle as a key framework aimed at improving quality and productivity. It is a four-step framework often referred to as the PDCA or the Deming cycle as shown in Figure 2.1. According to this cycle, managers should identify the most important accomplishments for their teams, decide on the most desirable changes they would want in their service offering, decide on how to collect data, plan for change, and decide on how to use the new data or observations made. In the next step, the planned changes are carried out in small scale, before leveraging a large-scale one based on the outcome of the changes introduced (Deming, 1986). Studying the results, learning on the outcome, and then predicting the outcome based on the changes is the last step in the four steps as suggested by Deming. In the fifth step, a repeat on step one with knowledge based on the outcome of the first cycle is done, and then proceeding to step six onward until another cycle is completed.

Figure 2.1 –:PDCA Cycle (Source Deming, 1986).

Moreover, Deming viewed production as a system that needed to be designed and redesigned based on any changes in consumer expectations. Based on his argument, quality should be based on what consumer wants, and hence production and any improvements in quality ought to be largely informed by consumer research. This led to his development of his “infamous system diagram’ as shown in Figure 2.2. In the diagram, Deming linked internal process with the external ones (customers and suppliers), which should be part of the quality improvement process. Based on his suggestions, based on customer expectations, supplier materials should be passed through certain quality checks in order to ensure that the entire quality chain is sustained throughout the organization’s value chain.

Figure 2.2 – Production system diagram (Deming, 1986)

Although Deming’s theory has been widely applied and acknowledged for his useful inputs in quality management, his inability to specify quality in any of his diagrams forms the basis for criticizing his work. His idea that it is solely the customer that should define quality alone has also exposed him to critics who argue that companies like Apple Inc have been very successful with their principle of ‘guiding the customer to the right technology’ rather than the customer guiding the company’s innovations (Maguad, 2006). Nonetheless, Deming’s works including his ’14 points’ and ‘seven deadly diseases’ have also been well received in academic spheres as well as practical realms.

2.3.2    Juran’s Theory

Juran Theory was developed by Dr. Joseph Juran in 1951, whose emphasis was on the managerial role in quality improvement. Most often, Juran has been referred to as the “father of modern quality management” (Deepa, 2014). Juran was the second American, after Deming, to develop TQM model referred to as Universal Process for Managing Quality (or simply the Juran’s Trilogy), which was to teach quality control in the Japanese industry. According to Juran, quality management starts with quality planning, which entails practices like establishing quality goals, identification of customers, and determining the needs of the customers as shown in Table 2.1). Moreover, quality planning involves the development of product features based on the customers’ needs, and developing the processes aimed at producing products that features what the customers want.

Table 2.1: Juran’s Universal Process for Managing Quality (Source Juran& Godfrey, 1998)

Further, the aspect of quality control, which is related to the evaluation of the actual performance of a product or service, is the second step. In the quality control, comparison of the actual performance with quality goals/parameters is done, so as to determine whether the quality standards established have been actualized or not (Juran& Godfrey, 1998). If there are gaps in the expected quality goals, then actions must be done to revamp the service quality to the expected levels. This leads to quality improvement, which is the third step aimed at configuring service/product standards to meet the quality goals. This step involves the establishment of the necessary infrastructure to foster the change through projects, establishing the project teams, and providing the teams with the necessary resources, training, and motivations to be able to diagnose the causes and stimulation of the remedies required. Afterwards, controls are established to hold the gains made. Through these three steps, Juran argued that organizations would be in a position to maintain and improvement on quality measures for their products or services.

However, despite the popularity of Juran’s model of TQM both in academic and practical realms; there are a number of criticisms that have been leveled against the theory. First, Juran defines quality as mainly ‘fitness for use’; yet researchers have considered quality as a relative concept, which varies from one context to another. This means that, generalizing the concept of quality, as merely ‘fitness for use’ is erroneous, since standards of quality vary, and thus the need for contextual quality analysis. Moreover, Juran’s perception that the customer has to define quality has also been a contested area of focus. Although focusing on customers is an important strategy, leaving quality attributes to be entirely determined by customers may not be the ultimate way of success, since it is the duty of organizations to innovate on the behalf of customers, and let customers follow (Sokovic, Pavletic, &Pipan, 2010). Nonetheless, this theory has largely gained ground through 1960s to 1990s; until contemporary theories on modern quality management were established based on the changes in the face of technology and globalization.

2.3.3    Crosby’s Theory

This theory was established by Philip Crosby focused on the concept of ‘zero defects’. Crosby believed that quality management system should entirely be based on ‘prevention-based system’ (Crosby, 1979). According to Crosby, most mistakes happen because of lack of knowledge, and hence attention should be made on equipping employees with knowledge and skills to identify weaknesses that may result into defects in a timelier manner. In this theory, much of the focus is given on the role of the management in creating awareness to the employees on ‘doing the right thing in the first attempt (Kerzner, 2009). The concept of efficiency maximization seems to be at the center of Crosby’s model, where he argued that avoidance should be made for non-compliance and expenses of poor quality; which need to be avoided through the adoption of outstanding quality practices. According to Crosby, quality is largely determined by the compliance to the requirements, but not necessarily determined by ‘elegance’ or ‘goodness’ of a product/service. This is one area that Crosby succeeded in bridging the shortcomings in Deming’s and Juran’s theories.

Crosby also pointed out that, quality emanates from a system that is based on prevention, rather than reactive, since preventing non-compliance is less costly than rectifying defective goods/services. The role of management is therefore a very important aspect, since it is the management that plans for the leveraging of a system that works to prevent poor quality, rather than dealing with it. On this basis, Crosby defined the quality performance evaluation standard as ‘zero defects’ based on expected standards, with errors not accepted (Sokovicet al., 2010). From this point of view, therefore, it can be argued that Crosby’s methodology of TQM is largely based on proactive measures towards the prevention of non-compliance to the expected standards in order to ensure that customers and all other stakeholders are satisfied by the outcomes in any venture undertaken in the organization. As such, Crosby summarized his model by pointing fourteen things that are necessary for sustainable defects prevention which include management commitment, quality improvement, quality measurement, the cost of quality, corrective action, zero defects action, employee education, zero defects day, goal setting, error-cause removal, and recognition (Neyestani, 2017).

However, although Crosby’s model of TQM was popular and was well received by scholars and practitioners on TQM, it has also been considered to be controversial by researchers. Some researchers (e.g. Omachonu & Ross, 2004) argue that zero defect model is difficult to achieve, as it leads to excessive inspection costs and reduced morale of staff members whose products keep on ‘failing’. Moreover, in many instances, ‘zero defects’ model is a bit difficult to sell because in many instances failure of a product/service quality may not be orchestrated by internal failures, but also external changes in the environment. However, most researchers agree that continual improvement is critical for total quality management, and thus amplifying Crosby’s idea of proactive changes towards achieving the best.

2.3.4 Feigenbaum Theory

Dr. Armand Feigenbaum is one of the modern theorists of total quality management practices who introduced viable operations management in quality control practices. According to Feigenbaum’s total quality control approach, effective of system for the integration of quality practices is first leveraged which facilitates maintaining of quality improvements towards ensuring customer satisfaction (Feigenbaum, 1991). Feigenbaum established a number of fundamental ideas that must be integrated on quality management practices. First, according to Feigenbaum, quality is an organization-wide process that should be done across all the functional realms within the organization’s value chain (Chan, &Hesan, 2000). Moreover, Feigenbaum considered quality as what customer prefers/or says. Unlike Juran and Deming who failed to define what quality is, Feigenbaum succeeded in acknowledging diversity in evaluating what may be considered as quality, by putting it as ‘just what the customer says’. In this theory, teamwork is prioritized because in order to ensure that all quality attributes are upheld across the organizational operational spheres. Based on the fundamental beliefs upheld by Feigenbaum, quality is not only a way of managing and dependent on innovation, but it is also an ethic, and hence directly related to the way an organization is perceived by the target customers. Further, this theory is based on the assumption quality is a total system connected to all stakeholders within an organization, and hence requires continuous improvement.

This theory emphasized on system approach towards quality, with for main considerations towards establishing a sustainable quality management system. First, Feigenbaum emphasized on the practice of setting of standards on what quality parameters should be focused in the organization. The quality standards set as argued by Feigenbaum are related to what customers expect, and hence quality standards at different times and regions may vary. Moreover, this theory emphasizes on the importance of appraisal for conformance to the standards established as a way of reinforcing positive behaviours towards quality control in the organization (Omachonu& Ross, 2004). However, Feigenbaum hinted that it is important to act when standards are not met, by focusing on the points of defection so as to improve or bridge them in future production. In addition, it is also important to plan for improvement of the standards because customer needs are highly dynamic, and hence change is often a continuous process in order to ensure quality attributes in line with customer expectations are maintained.

However, a number of critics have been leveled against Feigenbaum’s theory. One of the criticisms argues that, Feigenbaum mainly emphasizes on ‘total control’ which may not necessarily be related to quality (Chan, &Hesan, 2000). This means that, his total quality control falls short of specific emphasis on how to maintain quality in an organization, since school of thought of company-wide control approach lacks a specific direct on the specific quality attributes that ought to be integrated in the organization. Nonetheless, despite these few critics, researchers agree that Feigenbaum’s theory has been widely accepted and practiced across the world.

2.3.5    Ishikawa’s Theory

This theory was named after Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa who was among the most famous Japanese TQM gurus. Ishakawa pioneered many quality tools like cause-effect models (e.g. the fishbone model shown in Figure 2.3) and also the seven QC tool (Forbes, & Ahmed, 2011). According to Ishakawa, who developed the management tools in Kawasaki Company, these tools have the potential to solve 95% of quality issues in many companies. The Fishbone diagram is among the most applied tools in total quality management, whose key focus is to reduce and prevent errors and mistakes in organizational value chain. This involves first analysing the root causes of quality issues and their effects; and thus after the problems are identified corrective measures are put in place. Using this method, it is important that the management leverages parameters of identifying the problem where every cause and effect of the problem is clearly identified (Kerzner, 2009). For instance, in his model, Ishakawa suggested that the effect of wrong method may be due to poor staff training and bad attitude among others. Based on this model, it is important that the management focuses on relating any effect to its causes in order to be in a position to achieve sustainable solutions when the key causes are known.

Figure 2.3 – The Fishbone Diagram (Source: Kerzner, 2009).

According to Ishakawa, quality should be first focused, rather than short-term profits first, since based on his suggestion, firms which focus on quality first are able to enjoy long-term and sustainable customer satisfaction and loyalty (Omachonu, & Ross, 2004). Moreover, Ishakawa argued that customer-orientation should be the focus, rather than producer orientation, and hence he suggested that organizations should data from the customers first in order to understand what they want, so that quality parameters can be established from there. Utilization of data and facts from the field should be a key practice in total quality management framework, which means that any production decision ought to be informed by the customer needs. Nonetheless, management philosophy guided by respect for humanity should be the guiding moral ground for any actions taken, whereby the respect for employees, customers, and suppliers should be a key priority. Ishakawa’s strategy is largely leveraged on problem-solving tools towards improving quality in the organization’s value chain. Ishakawa suggested the establishment of quality circles, which involve a set of small number of employees to work as a team on a particular project, while also coordinating with other teams as a holistic approach towards quality management in organizations.

However, this theory has been facing a number of criticisms over the last few decades. While this theory suggests on brainstorming, it is possible that irrelevant potential causes may be identified alongside the relevant ones, and thus may result into a lot time and energy use. Moreover, brainstorming is often based on opinions but not facts, and hence lack of evidence may negatively affect the accuracy of the decisions made. Nonetheless, despite these criticisms, Ishikawa’s theory has proved to be quite useful in most automobile companies in Japan.

2.4       Total Quality Management Practices

Researchers and practitioners in management have established many practices of TQM, such as (1) customer focus, (2) strategic quality planning, (3) leadership, (4) human resource focus, (5) Supplier quality management, (6) knowledge management, and (7) information analysis, (8) training, and education, (9) resource management, (10) strategic planning, (11) staff selection and deployment, (12) competent staff, (13) teamwork spirit, (14) recognition and motivation, and (15) innovation and creativity (NoorHazila, 2009; Ali et al., 2010; Ang,  et al., 2011). While not all these practices can be adopted at the same time, a study conducted by Smith & Rees (2014) revealed that it is important that organizations identify the key competitive areas in their business in order to focus inclusively on them. Nonetheless, for TQM paradigm, Phan, Abdallah, & Matsui (2011) observed that it is important that a holistic approach is adopted in order to make organisations agile and be in a position to adopt any changes in the environment. As indicated earlier, total quality management mainly involves a comprehensive structured approach in organizations aimed at revamping their internal efficiencies which makes them to be in a position to deliver more value to the customers, it is critically important that organizations identify the key inputs and organizational behavioral aspects that ought to be maximized in order to be able to achieve the key deliverables in the organization. It is important to explore each of the above total quality management practices in order to explore what each entails in a comprehensive manner.

2.4.1    Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is one of the TQM practices that enable the employees to get accurate data in its real time which enables them do their jobs in the organization in effective and efficient way (Sadikoglu, & Olcay, 2014). Garvin, Edmondson & Gino (2008) introduced the concept of organizational learning as being closely related to knowledge management process in organizations, which is mainly related on how information is acquired, shared, and practiced in the organization in order to enable the organization to achieve its strategic objectives. Organizational learning, therefore involves the establishment of both formal and informal structures of information sharing in the organization, so as to foster knowledge diffusion among the employees in an organization. Garvin suggested that for an organization to be considered as a learning one, there must be a supportive learning environment, where employees feel safe disagreeing with others, recognizing the value of divergent idea, taking risk to explore new ideas, and taking time to review the organizational processes.

In addition, the availability of concrete learning processes in an organization as reflected by the availability of formal processes for generation, collection, interpretation, and dissemination of information, while developing employee’s skills through out-of-the-job training are also critical practices that foster learning in organizations. These practice plays an important role in improving performance in organizations, as the continuous controlling and monitoring the data periodically from time to time enables organisations to maintain their competitiveness and the ability to respond to any changes in the environment in a more agile manner. Previous studies confirmed that the application of this practice has improved the operational and management performance and enhance the innovation (Phan et al., 2011; Zehir & Sadikoglu, 2012; Kim et al., 2012). Although some studies argue that performance in organizations is not necessarily as a result of learning or knowledge development but rather as a result of recruiting the most talented staff members and leveraging of modern technology (Newstrom, 2007; Smith & Rees, 2014); a counter-argument by Rickards & Moger (2006) pointed out that when staff members are not exposed to new skills through training and on-the-job learning, their motivation is not only affected negative, but also the organization might be disadvantaged by the changes in the environment and hence ending losing its competitive edge. From this point of view, it is critically important that knowledge management practices in any organization be prioritized as part of its TQM practices aimed at positioning the organization at a better competitive advantage.

2.4.2    Leadership

The leadership is one of the most important requirements for effective implementation of TQM in service sector organizations such as health care. This practice is totally connected to some other practices, such as administrative support, upper-management involvement (Talib et al., 2013). Leadership practice requires effective change in culture of the organization, and the only way to implement it is the full participation of top management to the organization’s strategy for continuous improvement. Also it can be achieved by direct open communication between all employees and managers in all operational processes in the organization (Kanorio, 2014). According to Garvin et al. (2008), leadership that reinforces learning is critical in the success of any organization. The willingness to entertain alternating viewpoints while signaling the importance of spending time to identify a problem, transfer knowledge, and reflect on the processes in the organization is an important TQM practice.

Since TQM involves the adoption on a holistic approach towards the value chain elements in an organization, leaders are faced with the challenge of ensuring that all the core areas in an organization are effectively equipped with the necessary skills so as to ensure successful achievement of organizational objectives (Morgan, 2013; Smith & Rees, 2014; Henson, 2016). However, researchers agree that there is no standard leadership approach that suits all organizations (Caligiuri & Tarique, 2009). This is because each organization has its unique cultures and strategies that enable them to achieve their strategic goals and objectives effectively and hence based on these differences various leadership styles succeed in one organization but not in another. Moreover, another key factor that may contribute to the differences in the leadership needs in an organization is the culture of people in a country; since in some countries like United States the power distance index is lower than in another country like UAE (Hofstede, Hofstede & Minkov, 2010). This means that a particular leadership style may succeed in United States, but fail in UAE; and the vice versa is correct.

While there are many leadership styles that leaders in organizations may adopt, what should be carefully considered are the desired behaviour changes that are required in the organization as a result of the adoption of TQM. For instance, where there is need for dissemination of some critical skills to the employees by the leader, transformational leadership style may be more effective than autocratic leadership style (Henson, 2016; Vance & Paik, 2015; Western, 2008; Lengnick-Hall, Beck &Lengnick-Hall, 2011). In the same way, when a leader wants to foster a sense of self accountability and autonomy at work, the most effective leadership style may be democratic leadership style (Zander, Mockaitis, & Butler, 2012; Newstrom, 2007; Rickards&Moger, 2006). While there is no leadership style that is considered to be better or worse than another, Randere&Chaudhry (2012) argues that it is important that organizational leaders identify the specific behaviours in the organization that aligns with the culture and structure in the organization. By doing so, it becomes easier for the organization to be in a position to leverage an effective TQM practices since the leadership is strong and capable of directing the rest of the stakeholders towards a particular direction with regard to the required changes in the organization. However, with the continued influx of foreigners in UAE, there is no sufficient research to identify the most suitable leadership styles that most organizations adopt, since the increasing diversity of employees in various levels of authority may result into a complex organizational behaviour.

2.4.3    Customer Focus

Achieving the customer satisfaction is a result of best implementation of TQM practices. According to Dale et al. (2000), getting a good quality of product/ or service reinforces the customer satisfaction and gaining their loyalty, alongside attracting more new customers over time. Researchers agree that the utmost end-result of any total quality management system must achieve better customer satisfaction, which leads to increased customer loyalty as well (Obeidat, Hashem, Alansari, Tarhini& Al-Salti, 2016; Yang, 2003; Wang, Chen, & Chen, 2012). While many customers approach customer satisfaction by mainly confining product quality aspects alone, research has shown that one aspect of TQM that is often ignored is the service connected to the product including packaging and time distribution of the products. In the service industry, employee-customer satisfaction is the most important determinant of customer satisfaction, and hence researchers consider TQM practice puts customer needs at the center of every step taken as the utmost source of competitiveness (Rai, 2013). Researchers agree that, when organizations fail to focus on customer needs, they easily lose their customers to their competitors because the service touch-point is all what brings the difference between one service provider to another (Molina, Lloréns-Montes, & Ruiz-Moreno, 2007). It is therefore critically important that organizations consider leveraging organizational practices that aim at increasing positive customer experiences in order to make them more satisfied and also foster their loyalty towards the brand. There are multiple indicators that are used to measure service quality that meets customer satisfaction.

Researchers agree that courteousness of employees is one of the important aspects that customers use to evaluate service quality (Maguad, 2006; Goetsch, & Davis, 2010). This implies that, when staff members are friendly and empathetic to the customers, customers often feel satisfied by the service provided to them. However, other aspects like responsiveness and reliability of the service provided are also other dimensions that customers value much when determining the effectiveness of service provided. As such, it is important that TQM strategy must ensure that the customer service meets the responsiveness and reliability parameters in order to satisfy the customers (Ernest, & Ike-Elechi, 2015). In addition, the knowledgeability of the service providers is yet another key service quality dimension that researchers point out to be critically important in determining customer satisfaction. In order to ensure that service delivery to the customers satisfactorily meets their needs, it is important that organizations leverage an effective staff training strategy on customer care so as to ensure that the service delivery is executed effectively in line with the customer’s needs. However, it is important to ensure that organizations leverage an effective customer feedback system whereby it would be easier for the organization to understand the areas that need improvement based on the prevailing customer feedback and needs (Aquilani, Silvestri, Ruggieri, &Gatti, 2017). By so doing, it becomes easier for organizations to be in a position

2.4.4    Strategic Planning

As earlier stated, TQM involves the restructuring of organization’s processes aimed at improving quality of services so as to meet the needs of the customers. While strategic planning involves the process through which prioritization of activities and allocation of resources is done based on the strategic direction that an organization, researchers agree that strategic planning is an integral of TQM (Talib & Rahman, 2010). Strategic   planning is a concurrent practice that assure the participation of all the affecting operations related to the products/ or services, and then give the inputs and early expectation through the planning process, which include many steps, such as determine of organization’s goals, target customers, and then identify the needs of these customers and put the plan to meet the customer’s need with high quality through a series of optimum processes (Ater, 2011). Most importantly, organizations use strategic planning in predicting and anticipating the relevant changes in their businesses so as to be in a position to achieve a competitive edge. Strategic planning is therefore a holistic approach aimed at bring positive changes in an organization so as to make it easier to not only deliver more value to the customers, but also facilitate increased customer satisfaction and subsequent loyalty intentions.

Researchers have also considered strategic planning as an important tool that ensures that an organization is able to create a competitive advantage against its competitors (Talib & Rahman, 2010; Brun, 2010). In many cases, strategic management practices aims at bringing critical innovations in organizations, which fosters customer satisfaction through providing unique, top quality, and products/services that best suits/meets the customers’ needs. This is because many studies have established a positive link between strategic planning and innovation, which in return contributes massively towards the success of organizations. Considering that most TQM practices are change oriented for the better, researchers have pointed out the need for leveraging total quality management planning tools that enables them to be in a position leverage an outstanding customer experience, which include matrix diagram, tree diagram, and process decision (Goetsch& Davis, 2010). Ultimately, the most important focus in strategic planning is not only to optimize customer experiences, but also to ensure that resources in the organization are optimally utilized to create the maximum value both for the shareholders and the clients. As such, strategic planning is critical in ensuring that organizations achieve a competitive edge through increased efficiency in the internal operations, increasing agility to the changes in the environment, and maximizing customer value in the services and products offered by the organization.

2.4.5    Organization’s culture

Organization’s culture is a wide concept that reflect the attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values of an organization that form standards of behavior organizational members and the way in which they perform to achieve specific goals. Therefore, the top managers work hard to establish the suitable organization’s culture as it considered the critical factor that cause failure or success (Ater, 2013).The implementation of TQM practices needs to alter the organizations culture to reinforce participation between all employees in all process through open communication and cooperation among employees, managers, and customers, in addition to contribution in the process of quality management (Kanorio, 2014).TQM implementation require strength relationship between customers and employees and this is based on the organization’s culture (Khanna, Laroiya, & Sharma, 2010). Researchers agree that organizations with quality culture play a critical towards the success of the organization, since when an organization’s focus on quality services their customers feel more satisfied. Moreover, Bose (2004) pointed out that organizational culture impacts largely on the behaviours of staff members, and hence with a positive culture that prioritizes customer value it becomes easier for the organization to be in a position to succeed in highly competitive environment. This view was further reinforced by Ooi, Cheah, Lin &Teh(2010) who argue that knowledge sharing in an organization plays a critical role towards job satisfaction, which in return contributes towards increased innovations and subsequent customer satisfaction.

However, while the value of organizational culture has been widely linked to TQM, the specific ways in which the two concepts are related remains scantly explored (Hoang, Igel, &Laosirihongthong, 2006). Among the key aspects of organizational culture that Lakhal, Pasin, &Limam (2006) considers to be closely related to TQM include employee empowerment, teamwork culture, staff involvement, human resource development, and open communication. When employees are empowered to act within the vision of the organization, it becomes easier for them to craft outstanding products and service design that best suits the needs of the customers. In the same manner, Sadikoglu (2008) argued that an organization where the culture of open sharing of information is nurtured makes it easier for the organization to be in a position to achieve customer satisfaction, since through open communication and sharing of ideas innovations are easily developed in the organization leading to increased customer satisfaction. Nonetheless, researchers agree that organizational culture is largely influenced by the nature of leadership in the organization, since the leaders are mostly responsible for the various cultures in different organizations (Sit et al., 2009; Talib, &Rahman, 2010). As a result, when quality orientation is part of an organizational culture, it becomes easier for organizations to achieve better customer service leading to increased performance of the organization.

2.4.6    Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is an organizational practice aimed at ensuring that an organization continues to bridge any service quality gaps that may affect customer satisfaction (Hoang et al., 2006; Sadikoglu, 2008; Talib&Rahman, 2010). Researchers agree that organizations that leverage continuous improvement are able to leverage critical changes in their organizations based on the changes in the environment in order to retain or improve their competitiveness. Considering the way the business environment has been quite dynamic, research shows that organizations which leverage continuous improvements in their value chain are more successful since they are in a position to adjust their processes to accommodate new changes in the market (Terziovski, 2006; Talibet al., 2010; Obaidet al., 2015). One of the important practices of continuous improvement is leveraging a platform to get customer feedback. Through customer feedback, it becomes easier for organizations to identify any service quality gaps that may lead to customer dissatisfaction and thus enabling an organization to be in a position to adopt necessary changes in time in order to increase customer satisfaction (Brun, 2010).

Moreover, Aquilaniet al. (2017) argues that it is important that organizations adopt a learning culture where reflection on how processes are executed based on strategic plans. By developing a culture where employees are able to reflect how customer service is offered enables identification of gaps in time, which further determines the new changes that need to be incorporated so as to bridge the service gaps. Organizations that leverage continual improvement are considered to be more successful, as it becomes easier for the organizations to achieve higher customer satisfaction, unlike those organizations which do not embrace continual change (Goetsch& Davis, 2010; Molina et al., 2007). More important, continuous collection of data and acting based on it is among the most important practices in continuous improvement as an importance practice in TQM. This is because TQM entails a holistic approach aimed at ensuring that an organization is able to achieve competitive advantage over their competitors.

2.5       Organizational Performance and TQM Practices

Evaluation of organization performance represents a key factor at all management strategies. Both of reducing cost and improving quality are the two main indicators for organizational performance that directly affected by the implementation of total quality management practices (Terziovski, 2006; Yusuf, Gunasekaran, & Dan, 2007; Talib, Rahman, &Qureshi, 2010); and this indicator is related to applying some TQM practices such as training, process management, customer focus that influence the employees’ performance which in turn affecting the whole organization’s performance, increased market share, and profitability (Sadikoglu, 2009; Brun, 2010; Gharakhaniet al., 2013). There are a number of performance indicators that researchers consider to be critical determinants of organizational excellence. According to Lin et al. (2005), some of the indicators of performance include customer satisfaction levels and business results. Business results can be determined by the actualization of objectives and vision, which altogether implies that an organization has achieved excellence in its operations. Similarly, Fuentes et al (2006) pointed out that operational performance, market and financial performance as among the important indicators of performance in an organization.

Operational performance parameters include efficiency, reduced wastage, and achievement of performance targets in time and within the allocated resources. Similarly, market and financial performances may be attributed by the amount of sales, market share, and financial returns in the organization. Fuentes and colleagues also suggested that employee performance is also another integral part of the organizational performance. Sit et al (2009) also suggested that customer satisfaction is key indicator of performance in organizations. However, some researchers point out that performance is relative, since in some organizations what can be considered as good performance may be poor performance in another. The authors therefore suggested that, it is important that performance is an organization-specific factor, which ought not to be generalized in other organizations.

In the service sector, Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry (1988) established the SERQUAL model which has for long been used to measure service quality using parameters like tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. In terms of tangibles, the researchers considered the physical attributes of the service provider like the appearance of the stores, nature of equipment used, leveraged technology, and the general infrastructure in service delivery as being critical aspects the customers use to evaluate the quality of service offered by organizations, which further influences their satisfaction. On the other hand, the aspect of reliability relates to how dependable the service provider is, which plays an important role towards influencing customer trust on a particular brand (Ernest & Ike-Elechi, 2015; Huang, 2009; Klaus, &Maklan, 2013). Service responsiveness, in contrast, is related to how timely services are offered/delivered to the customers as promised. Moreover, Assurance is related to the knowledgeability of the staff offering the service, which is critical in nurturing customer trust for the brand. Lastly, service empathy is related to how staff members are friendly and offering personalized attention to the customers’ needs, which to a great extent plays an important role in determining how customers feel valued by the service provider (Mosahab, Mohamad&Ramayah, 2010; Parasuramanet al., 1988; Huang, 2009). On this basis, the degree of rating of the above five dimensions by customers play an important role in determining the performance of an organization.

Researchers have established a critical link between TQM practices and performance in organizations. According to Goetsch, & Davis (2010), one of the key TQM aspects that has been often associated with increased performance is knowledge management. In the contemporary knowledge based economy, researchers agree that organizational learning is the key towards improved performance. Since knowledge management is related to how employees acquire new ideas, knowledge, and skills related to their work, productivity among the employees is increased and this contributes largely towards the success of the organization (Aquilaniet al., 2017; Talibet al., 2010). Although researchers acknowledge that there are no standard knowledge management practices that suits all organizations because each organization has its unique ways of operations (Rai, 2013); a number of studies have established a positive relationship between knowledge management and organizational performance (Goetsch& Davis, 2010). With limited research on whether knowledge management impacts in any way on the performance of UAE private organizations, the following hypothesis was developed for investigation in this study:

H1– There is positive relationship between knowledge management and organizational performance

Further, the concept of leadership has also been attributed to outstanding performance in many organizations (Aquilaniet al., 2017). Researchers agree that, behavioral management is entirely a function of leaders in organizations, and hence when the leaders inspire positive values that contribute towards value creation in the organization; it becomes easier for the organization to achieve its strategic goals and vision (Obaidet al., 2015; Talib&Rahman, 2010). Leadership that supports learning, while motivating staff members in their work, has been considered by researchers to be critically important in determining the success of the organization. Empirical researches in the Arab world reveal that leadership behaviours in Middle East countries like UAE are borrowed heavily from the western style. However, with very little empirical research on how effective the leadership in UAE is, the current research seeks to explore how leadership impacts on the overall performance of organizations in the country; and hence the following hypothesis was formulated for this investigation:

H2 – Quality oriented leadership has direct impact on organizational performance

Moreover, the concept of customer focus has also been pointed out as one of the TQL practices that relates positively to organizational performance (Talibet al., 2010; Terziovski, 2006). When organizations focus on delivering outstanding customer service that meets the expectations of their customers, sales increase because of not only customer loyalty, but also due to attraction of new customers (Bose, 2004). With researchers agreeing that business that do not focus on customer loyalty a bound to fail (Ooiet al., 2010; Wang et al., 2012); it is critically important that organizations leverage an effective customer focused strategy aimed at fostering customer satisfaction in order to create customer loyalty. Based in this point of view, this study seeks to explore how customer focus as a TQM practice relates to organizational performance, and hence the following hypothesis was formulated:

H3: Customer focused strategy impacts positive on the performance of organizations

In addition, the aspect of strategic planning is yet another important factor that contributes largely towards success in any organization. Considering that strategic planning is mainly related to how an organization configures its internal resources and capabilities based on the external changes in the environment in order to gain a competitive edge (Lin et al., 2005; Fuentes et al., 2006; Rai, 2013), organizations which prioritize it often achieve better performance. Considering the way business environment is becoming highly turbulent as competition increases, strategic management practices helps organizations to nurture innovations and create more value for their customers, leading to organizational excellence. With limited research on whether strategic planning practices are employed by organizations in the UAE, the following hypothesis was formulated for investigation in this study:

H4: Strategic planning is one of the TQM practices that are   positively related to organizational performance

Lastly, organization’s culture is another TQM practice that is explored in this study with regard to performance in organizations. According to Hoang et al. (2006), organizational culture defines the key values and norms prioritized in an organization, which largely contributes towards service and product excellence in the organization. For example, if innovation and courtesy are key values integrated in the organizational culture, customer value is easily provided through high quality products and responsive customer service. As such, organizational culture is an important factor that largely determines the success of the organization. Based on the above assumption, the following hypothesis was formulated:

H5: Organizational culture predicts organizational performance

Continuous improvement is another TQM practice that has been associated increased organizational performance (Talib&Rahman, 2010; Terziovski, 2006; Talibet al., 2010). Continuous improvement requires that staff members in an organization strive towards maximum efficiency while focusing on zero defects in service/product offering, which contributes towards increased customer satisfaction. Through continuous improvement, customers are able to get top quality services, since the organization strives at bridging any service quality gaps that shared by the customers or through self evaluation (Obaidet al, 2015; Goetsch& Davis, 2010; Maguad, 2006). As such, through continuous improvements organizations are able to meet their customer needs more accurately, leading to the acquisition of competitive edge in comparison with the competitors. Continued improvement can be done through staff training or educational opportunities, which leads to increased innovations in the organization, and subsequently resulting into business excellence. Sadikoglu&Zehir (2010) pointed that continued improvement through innovations and finding of new methods to offer customer value plays an important role towards customer satisfaction, which further leads to improved organizational performance. On this basis, the following hypothesis is formulated for investigation in this study with reference to UAE’s organizations:

                        H6: Continuous improvement contributes towards improved performance

Supplier partnership has also been considered by researchers to be a critical practice for TQM that contributes significantly towards improved performance in organizations (Kerzner, H. (2009; Fuentes et al, 2006; Sit et al., 2009). As pointed out by Neyestani&Juanzon (2016), poor quality supplies from suppliers can adversely affect quality targets and hence it is important to integrate suppliers in the TQM framework. Since the quality of supplies directly affects the quality of services or products offered by an organization, researchers agree that integrating suppliers in the quality-oriented value chain contributes massively towards improvements in the performance of the organization. Based on these assumptions, the following hypothesis was formulated for investigation in this study:

H7: Supplier partnership directly impacts on the performance of an                          organization

2.6       Overview of the Service Sector in United Arab Emirates

The UAE’s services industry sector represents about (55%) of the combined GDP of the seven emirates (HKTDC-Research, 2017). The diversification strategy of United Arab Emirates make it one of the top successful countries in the region, especially the improvement of the investment in services industries supported this strategy, such as tourism and financial services. The results of HSBC’s research indicated that contribution of services to total exports in the country rose from (16%) in 2000 to (23%) in 2015 (Augustine, 2016). The Service business industries are considered the tertiary sector of the global economies. The outputs of the service sector are not concrete products but different services that make life or things acceptable. The business services industry is an important sector of the economy, which serve the other economic sectors. Furthermore, service organizations may provide services for the individuals or for their properties. Also this service could be tangible such as services after purchasing equipment as installation, maintenance and repair, or the service could be intangible such as banking, securities, ICT and education (Talib et al., 2012).

Nowadays, the quality excellence considered the key factor for market competitiveness, and was highly promoted throughout industries (Masejane, 2012). In the same context, for the services sector the service quality also increase the competitiveness opportunity for the organization, and the organization can gain a competitive advantage and distinguish itself from other organizations through improving service quality (Hasan and Kerr 2003). TQM was largely applied at various services industries as an effective managerial strategy with a main objective of enhancing organizations’ performance through effective participation of several models, procedures, employees and communication and management processes to cover all customer needs (Van Ho, 2011; Gharakhani et al., 2013; Abd.Aziz et al., 2015).

2.7Empirical Research on TQM and Performance in the Service Industry

A study conducted by Obaidet al. (2015) in U|E on how customer satisfaction has been revamped through TQM using a sample of 18 participants (including managers and employees) in telecommunication, civil aviation, road and transport industries was among the only available empirical researches in the country. In-depth interviews were conducted with the participants, where the aim of the study was to explore how TQM is implemented in the five industries and whether customer satisfaction was affected by the adoption of TQM. From the results obtained, it was revealed that continuous improvement in the organizations performance across the industries as a result TQM experienced positive impact on customer satisfaction. As a result of increased customer service, the researchers point out that the organizations were able to achieve a competitive edge. Nonetheless, this study adopted a very small sample, and this could have affected the external validity of the findings; and thus the need for a more focused research that adopts larger sample size in order to identify the impact of TQM adoption in the organizations in UAE with regards to performance deliverables.

A similar empirical research conducted by Talibet al. (2012) in the Indian hospitality was also reviewed in this study. In their research Talib and colleagues conducted a survey on 34 hospitality organizations focused on 17 TQM practices. The aim of the study was to identify and analyze TQM practices in the Indian hospitality industry and rank them based on their level of impact on the success of the organizations. From the research findings obtained, top management commitment (leadership), customer focus, service design, continuous improvement, and quality culture and training were the most impactful TQM towards the success of the organizations. However, supplier partnership and human resource management were the least impactful TQM services towards the success of the organizations. Although the researcher does not classify the size of the organizations, these findings seem to corroborate with Sadikoglu (2008) ideas that supplier partnership is less important in TQM practices. From the findings in this study, therefore, it is evident that not all TQM practices can foster improved performance in service organizations.

In another study conducted by Hassan, Mukhtar& Sharif (2012) whose key focus was to examine the relationship between TQM practices and performance with a sample of 171 quality managers in the manufacturing industry in Pakistan revealed that quality management practices plays a central role towards performance in the organizations. Among the key TQM practices that were found to be positively correlated to performance include continuous improvement, monitoring and control, process quality, incentives and staff recognition. Other behavioral factors that were considered to be critically important in performance improvement include quality-oriented leadership, customer focus, and employee involvement. From this study, it is evident that adopting TQM practices is a key towards improved performance. A similar study conducted by Irfan, Ijaz, Kee&Awan (2012) on how TQM has been used to improve the performance of public hospitals in Pakistan revealed a positive relationship between TQM practices and improved performance in the hospitals. Using a sample of 171 participants (comprising of staff members in the public hospitals, structural equation modeling (SEM) was applied revealed that adoption of quality management practices resulted into increased operational efficiencies leading to improved flexibility, increased quality care, and improved timely response to patients’ needs.

In another study conducted by Stringham (2004) to examine whether quality management had any effect on quality improvement of services offered by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in the United States, it was revealed that since the implementation of quality management practices performance had improved by over 50% within two years. With a sample of 4 senior employees who were interviewed, this study found that since the department leveraged TQM approach in their operations, timeliness in delivery of services had improved by 60%, customer satisfaction had improved, and costs were reduced by 30%. As a result, the researchers concluded that adopting quality management practices was directly related to improved organizational performance. Although Rai (2013) argues that performance may not be standardized because each organization has its own performance parameters, a study conducted by Maguad (2006) found that regardless of the performance parameters in various organizations, TQM practices mostly impact of customer satisfaction, and overall efficiency in operations.

Further, Adeoti in the year 2008 studied the implication of TQM practices in the Nigerian commercial banks where the key focus was to examine whether the adoption of TQM could prevent future risks of distress in the service organizations. Using a sample of three banks where in each a senior manager was interviewed, the findings obtained in the study revealed that although leveraging TQM practices could not give the banks the immunity against threats and distress, flexibility and quality practices resulted into increased customer satisfaction and subsequent loyalty. These findings confirmed that adopting TQM in the service industry is an important factor towards adopting successful customer service, since it contributes largely towards increased customer satisfaction. Although this study adopted a small sample size and hence affected the external validity of the findings adversely, other studies (e.g. Aquilaniet al., 2017; Yusuf et al., 2007) still confirm a positive relationship between TQM services and increased customer satisfaction.

Moreover, a study conducted by Akhtar, Zameer&Saeed (2014) whose aim was to evaluate the role of TQM practices in the service sector organizations in Pakistan using for semi-structured interviews with respondents from for industries including healthcare, banking, telecommunication, and airlines industries revealed a positive relationship between TQM and performance in the organizations. From these findings, the researchers suggested that adopting TQM practices in the service sector organizations positively correlated to increased service delivery competence, leading to increased customer satisfaction and subsequent success of the organizations. Although only four interviewers were the main sources of data, and hence affecting the reliability of the findings, this study seems to corroborates with other studies (e.g.Terziovski, 2006) which established a positive relationship between the adoption of TQM practices and success of the organizations in various industries.

In addition, a study conducted by Gimenez-Espin, Jimenez-Jimenez & Martinez-Costa (2012) using a sample of 451 companies where data was analysing using linear regression method was also reviewed. The aim of the study was to find the empirical relationship between TQM and organizational culture. The findings in the study revealed a positive relationship between adhocratic culture and TQM. However, the researchers found that clan culture had no effect on TQM. Most importantly, the researchers found that culture of quality in the organizations was the most significant on TQM. Further analysis of the relationship between TQM adoption and the performance revealed a positive relationship, which implies that organizations that had adopted TQM practices experienced significant improvement in their performance. From these findings, it is clearly evident that culture is an important aspect of TQM that contributes positively towards improved performance in organizations as a result of high customer satisfaction and improved internal efficiencies in the organizations.

Another empirical study conducted by Zehiret al. (2012) in Turkey whose aim was to explore whether TQM activities had any effect on the innovative performance of the organizations was also reviewed. A sample of 261respondents from 104 regional and international companies in Marmara region in Turkey was used for data collection in this study where data was analyzed using structural equation modeling. From the results obtained, TQM was found to be a quality oriented approach in the organizations which had positive effects on the quality performance in the companies. Among the most impactful TQM practices include effective quality-oriented leadership, process management, customer focus, and employee involvement. Among the performance indicators that were identified in this study to be directly related to TQM include quality attributes of service and products and innovations. However, this study only collected data in one area, and hence the findings may not be generalized because of low external validity. Moreover, the measures used in this study were self-report, and hence this affected the reliability of the findings. Nonetheless, the findings in this study corroborated with others studies (e.g. Sit et al., 2009) which also established a positive relationship between TQM practices and organizational performance.

Further, Yusuf and colleagues conducted a study on the implementation of TQM practices in China and how it impacts on the performance of the organizations. In their study, Yusuf and colleagues adopted a sample of 120 companies in China which were selected randomly, where only 36 of them responded to the questionnaires within the expected time. As such, the response rate was only 30%. Out of the 36 companies, 58.3% of them were from the manufacturing sector, while 41.7% were from the service industry. With about 69.4% of the companies indicating that they understand TQM practices and they employ them in their organizations, it was evident that majority of companies in China leverage TQM practices. From the results obtained, majority of the companies that had leveraged TQM practices reported increased performance after adopting TQM practices. However, the degree of performance improvement was determined by the extent at which TQM practices were established in the organization’s value chain. However, the findings in this study were faced by the shortage of external liability because only a small sample size, with much of the focus being made only in manufacturing organizations. Nonetheless, the research findings obtained in this study corroborated by other studies (e.g. Sadikoglu, 2008) which established a positive relationship between TQM and performance.

In addition, a study conducted by Wang and colleagues in 2012 whose key focus was to explore how TQM practices impact on market orientation and performance in the hotel industry was reviewed. This study adopted by input processing out model in constructing the research variables in their study. A total sample of 588 participants was selected from different hotels in Thailand where structural equation modeling was used in data analysis. From the research findings obtained, the hypotheses constructed that related on the relationship between TQM and performance turned out to be positive. This implies that, a positive relationship between TQM practices and performance was obtained. In addition, market orientation was found to be positively mediating the impact of TQM practices on performance of hotels. However, these findings revealed that organizations whose quality management approaches were informed by the changes in the external environment experienced higher performance, and this emphasized the need for environmental guided TQM.

Lastly, a study conducted by Terziovski (2006) aimed at testing the strength of the relationship between quality management activities and productivity and customer satisfaction. In his study, Terziovski used a database comprising of 962 responses from manufacturing companies in Australia, and 379 responses from New Zealand manufacturing companies. From the findings obtained in this study, it was revealed that implementing multiple quality management practices impacted more positively on productivity increment and customer satisfaction. From these findings, therefore, the researcher established a critical link between holistic approaches towards quality management, since the more quality practices adopted in an organization, the higher the customer satisfaction. These findings corroborate with another study conducted by Hoang et al. (2006) which found that the extent at which TQM practices are adopted in an organization determines the overall improvement in the organization’s performance.

2.8       Summary of Empirical Researches

Based on the empirical researches reviewed in this study, Table 2.2 was developed to summarize the key findings analyzed.

Table 2.2: Summary of the empirical researches reviewed

Author(s) Research Aim Methodology Findings
Obaidet al. (2015) To determine whether customer satisfaction is related with TQM practices Qualitative research; interviews with a sample of 18 participants (including managers and employees) in telecommunication, civil aviation, road and transport industries in UAE TQM practices were positively related to customer satisfaction
Talibet al. (2012) To identify and analyze TQM practices in the Indian hospitality industry and rank them based on their level of impact on the success of the organizations Quantitative with a sample of 34 hospitality organizations in India management commitment (leadership), customer focus, service design, continuous improvement, and quality culture and training were the most impactful TQM towards the success of the organizations
Hassan et al. (2012) to examine the relationship between TQM practices and performance Quantitative method; This was done using a sample of 171 quality managers in the manufacturing industry in Pakistan Quality management practices plays a central role towards performance in the organizations
Stringham (2004) To examine whether quality management had any effect on quality improvement of services offered by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in the United States Qualitative; a sample of 4 senior employees in the manufacturing and service industries were interviewed This study revealed that TQM contributed towards timeliness in delivery of services, customer satisfaction had improved, and costs were reduced.
Adeoti (2008) The key focus was to examine whether the adoption of TQM could prevent future risks of distress in the service organizations in Nigeria Qualitative; a sample of three banks where in each a senior manager was interviewed While leveraging TQM practices could not give the banks the immunity against threats and distress, flexibility and quality practices resulted into increased customer satisfaction and subsequent loyalty
Akhtar, Zameer&Saeed (2014) To evaluate the role of TQM practices in the service sector organizations in Pakistan Qualitative; semi-structured interviews with respondents from for industries including healthcare, banking, telecommunication, and airlines industries were conducted Adopting TQM practices in the service sector organizations positively correlated to increased service delivery competence, leading to increased customer satisfaction and subsequent success of the organizations
Gimenez-Espin, Jimenez-Jimenez & Martinez-Costa (2012) To find the empirical relationship between TQM and organizational culture Quantitative; a sample of 451 companies where data was analysing using linear regression method A positive relationship between adhocratic culture and TQM
Zehiret al. (2012) To explore whether TQM activities had any effect on the innovative performance of the organizations Quantitative; sample of 261 respondents from 104 regional and international companies in Marmara region in Turkey was used for data collection in this study where data was analyzed using structural equation modeling TQM was found to be a quality oriented approach in the organizations which had positive effects on the quality performance in the companies
Yusuf, Gunasekaran, A. & Dan, (2007) To determine the impact of implementing TQM practices in China and how it impacts on the performance of the organizations Quantitative; a sample of 36 companies were surveyed Majority of the companies that had leveraged TQM practices reported increased performance after adopting TQM practices
Wang, Chen, & Chen (2012) The aim of this study was to explore how TQM practices impact on market orientation and performance in the hotel industry Quantitative; a sample of 588 participants was selected from different hotels in Thailand where structural equation modeling was used in data analysis A positive relationship between TQM practices and performance was obtained
Terziovski (2006) To test the strength of the relationship between quality management activities and productivity and customer satisfaction Quantitative; Terziovski used a database comprising of 962 responses from manufacturing companies in Australia, and 379 responses from New Zealand manufacturing companies It was revealed that implementing multiple quality management practices impacted more positively on productivity increment and customer satisfaction

 

 

 

2.9       Research Gap

Although TQM is relatively a new concept in the field of business management, quite a substantial research has been conducted in this area as revealed in this review of existing literature on the research problem. While majority of the available empirical research on how TQM impacts of business excellence and success, very little empirical evidence is available on how TQM practices impacts on organizational performance. Given the way UAE has been experiencing expanding business activities in the private sector, the need for up-to-date research to explore whether the companies in the country adopt TQM, as well as how adopting TQM practices have impacted on the performance of various organizations. With the only one empirical research by Obaid and colleagues in 2015 that investigated in Telecommunication, Civil Aviation, Road and Transport industries to determine whether customer satisfaction was related to TQM, it was not clear on how the various TQM practices are related to organizational performance. Moreover, majority of the empirical research did not specify how the various TQM practices relate to various performance parameters; it is evident that there is need to explore how TQM practices affect organizational performance in general, as well as how each performance indicator related to the TQM practices. Conducting this study, therefore seeks to explore how various TQM practices affect performance at various levels.

2.10     Conceptual Framework

With the aim of this study being to explore the extent at which private companies in UAE have adopted TQM practices and how these practices affect the general performance of the organizations, much of the focus in this study would be on TQM awareness among the target companies and the extent at which TQM practices have been leveraged in the companies. Based on the research conducted in this review, among the key TQM practices that would be explored include knowledge management, quality oriented leadership, customer focus, strategic planning, organizational culture, continuous improvement, and supplier partnership (as shown in figure 2.4 below). Performance in the organizations would be measured using customer satisfaction levels, financial returns, efficiency, reduced wastage, and achievement of performance targets in time and within the allocated resources.

 

Organizational Performance

 

– Customer satisfaction levels, – Financial returns,

– Efficiency and reduced wastage

– Achievement of performance targets in time and within the allocated resources

 

 

TQM Practices

– Knowledge management

– Quality oriented leadership

– Customer focus

– Strategic planning

– Organizational culture

– Continuous improvement

– Supplier partnership

TQM Adoption in UAE’s Service Sector

Yes

H1

 

 

H2

H3

   No

H4

 

H5

H6

 

 

H7

 

 

H8

Figure 2.4 – The Conceptual Framework

In the light of the research objectives and questions, the above research conceptual framework seeks to investigate the relationship between various TQM practices and organizational performance as earlier discussed. However, based on the way past studies have pointed out how failure to adopt TQP practices is likely to affect negatively the performance of the organization, hypothesis eight (H8) was formulated as follows:

H8 – Failure to adopt TQM practices in UAE public organizations affects their performance negatively. 

Other hypotheses can be restated as follows:

 

H1– There is positive relationship between knowledge management and organizational performance

H2 – Quality oriented leadership has direct impact on organizational performance

H3: Customer focused strategy impacts positive on the performance of organizations

H4: Strategic planning is one of the TQM practices that are   positively related to organizational performance

H5: Organizational culture predicts organizational performance

                        H6: Continuous improvement contributes towards improved performance

H7: Supplier partnership directly impacts on the performance of an                          organization

 

 

 

 

2.11     Chapter Summary

This chapter has presented a review of relevant literature related to TQM and how it impacts on organizational performance. The main theories that informed the direction of this study include Deming’s theory, Juran’s theory, Crosby’s theory, Feigenbaum theory, and Ishikawa’s theory. From these theories, the main TQM practices that were identified include knowledge management, quality oriented leadership, customer focus, strategic planning, organizational culture, continuous improvement, and supplier partnerships. The empirical research explored in this study revealed TQM practices contributes towards improved performance, measured through customer satisfaction levels, financial returns, efficiency and reduced wastage, and achievement of performance targets in time and within the allocated resources. Nonetheless, it was pointed out that although TQM is relatively new concept, very little empirical evidence was available on how TQM is implemented in UAE’s service sector, and how it implies to the performance of the organizations. Due to these empirical gaps, this study seeks to explore whether service sector organizations in UAE adopt TQM practices, and how this adoption impacts on the performance. In the next chapter discusses the research methodology adopted in this study so as to bridge this knowledge gap.

 

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