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Title: Study of total quality management (TQM) application by Malaysian small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMEs)
Author: Abdullah, Azizan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 9042
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2007
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After 50 years since TQM began to be popularised in the management literature, companies still struggle to implement and sustain these programmes of continuous improvement despite the central importance of TQM to maintaining business competitiveness. Much of what has been written under the banner of TQM has been drawn directly from studies of large businesses and there remains a void as to how small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can engage such systems (in the absence of a large number of business managers and an established hierarchy of command). SMEs have therefore been left behind in the academic debate and few studies have truly attempted to investigate the models of TQM application at SME businesses. Malaysia is an economy that is dependent upon SME businesses and the improved performance of these organisations to meet the challenges of the economy in the transition to a modern manufacturing state. Following an extensive literature review and interviews with academic experts in the field of TQM, the objectives of this study were designed to close this gap in knowledge and to identify the enablers of successful TQM implementation and how the models, engaged by Malaysian SME businesses. The survey questionnaire distributed to Malaysian and Welsh SMEs to gain a general understanding of TQM implementation and to identify the enablers from the perspective of senior business managers. The main section of this study concentrated upon eight purposively selected and in-depth case studies of Malaysian SMEs (3 award winners and 5 non-award winners) to determine differences in performance and the differences in features engaged at high and lower performing businesses. The findings of this study show a series of enablers that correlate with higher performance and underpin a model of TQM that was later developed by the researcher. The analysis of the research clearly indicates three levels of TQM application starting with Quality Control (QC), then a broader application of management involvement with Quality Assurance processes (QA) and finally a system-wide application of Total Quality Management (TQM) which involves a high degree of strategic integration of TQM principles. The integration between functional areas in the factory, formalisation of activities and clear strategy were present at the TQM businesses and resulted in effective and efficient systems of customer service, operational excellence and human resource integration. The conclusions of the study suggest there is a logic and structure to high performance businesses and the application of TQM and this finding has important implications for the future study of TQM application by SME businesses and how best to promote these concepts for the economic prosperity of Malaysia. With almost 100:1 better performance advantage enjoyed by the award-winning companies over their closest rivals the importance of promoting TQM on a national scale cannot be under-estimated and could bring about a renewed interest in the relationship between TQM implementation, SMEs improvement and national competitiveness for SMEs and for their larger customer businesses in Malaysia and abroad.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available