In order to probe the application of TQM within Small and Medium Sized UK Construction-Related Organisations, a study was conducted on 63 SMEs; 20 (31.7%) of these reported implementation of TQM on their management system. For this purpose, a monitoring and assessment tool was developed, incorporating within it the TQM implementation quality features or techniques, grouped in 10 sub principles. The rate of TQM commitment and advancement was then measured for each organisation. The study was designed to assess the levels of advancement of implementation constructs in both UK TQM and non- TQM Construction related SMEs. The research was conducted in four stages: exploratory, descriptive, empirical and analytic research. The exploratory stage involved an extensive literature review for searching TQM models and critical success factors. The Powell (1995) instrument was selected as the criterion for the critical success factors, with the justification provided for the selection, by comparing and evaluating it with other existing and validated instruments such as Saraph et al, 1989; Flynn et al, 1995; Black and Porter, 1996 and Ahire et al, 1996. The descriptive study involved a questionnaire survey of construction related SMEs in the UK. The research design also included:
- an empirical investigation to assessth e critical successf actors and levels of TQM advancementin the UK construction SMEs,
- identification of the advocated advantages associated with the implementation,
- measuring the success of TQM and assessment of the business and organisation performance,
- assessment of the competitive environment. The survey was conducted to investigate the four stated issues and finally,
- to ascertain the combined effect of TQM practices on the business and organisation performance in the context of organisation size, TQM maturity and union density. The results of the surveys provided the levels of implementation of TQM in both TQM and Non-TQM organisations. The survey results of the study indicated that while TQM deploying organisations were more advanced in the observation of the deployment constructs, non-TQM organisations exhibited marked levels of achievement of implementation constructs.
The empirical and analytical research involved in subjecting the developed Total Quality-Self Monitoring and Assessment Rating Tool (TQ-SMART) Model to a structural analysis based on the computation of the TQM relative advancement indices. The TQ-SMART was developed consisting of 10 TQM constructs with 34 independent variables (items). This resulted in the 10 constructs having high cronbach values. The TQ-SMART model was found to be valid, based on the goodness of fit indices. (Field 2000). It also exhibited strong undimensionality, reliability, convergent, discriminant and criterion-related validities. The structural models demonstrated and built in this study hypothesised and tested the relationship among the ten TQM deployment constructs and their contribution to the UK Construction-related SME's business and organisational performance indicators (BOPI) and competitive advantage. The explanatory research involved a detailed case study on three organisations. An interpretative approach was used to gain further insights in the implementation of TQM. This included both non-TQM and TQM deploying organisations. Though various assessment models exist, and literature has examined issues such as organisations needing to identify the unused capabilities, there is a lack of formal methods of working out the unused capabilities or conducting empirical studies. The application of the relative advancement index will prove particularly useful as benchmarks for comparison with other TQM deploying organisations. The Commitment and Advancement indices generated by the TQ-SMART Model serves as an assessment and monitoring mechanism for TQM deployment organisations at the same time as an assessment mechanism for non-TQM deploying organisations wishing to identify their existing levels of quality initiatives. Quality Managers can use this model as well as Senior Management to assess their strengths and weaknesses on the deployment constructs necessary for the effective and efficiency implementation of TQM. The research concluded that the conceptual model though not generalisable was still indicative of the general trends within the UK Construction Related SMEs.