Academic journal article Advances in Competitiveness Research

Trends in International Quality Management Research: 1990-1996

Academic journal article Advances in Competitiveness Research

Trends in International Quality Management Research: 1990-1996

Article excerpt


Companies trying to gain a competitive edge in today's global marketplace have realized the importance of raising the quality of goods and services. Quality management is now fairly well established in the U.S. and Western Europe, and it is increasingly being implemented in developing countries such as China, India, and the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe (Krygier, 1993). Quality management techniques are expected to increase market share, customer loyalty, productivity, cash flow, return on investment and stock price, and to reduce production costs and after sales service calls.

The move toward quality management in organizations has been accompanied by a growing interest in this area among academicians. Journals such as Decision Sciences, Academy of Management Journal, and California Management Review have brought out special issues on quality management, and a new journal Quality Management was founded in 1993. These publications have emphasized topics such as the importance of quality and quality attitudes (Batley, 1993), quality strategies (Daniel & Reitsperger, 1994; Hurd, 1992; Robinson & Schroeder, 1993), quality tools and techniques (Denton, 1991; Melcher et al., 1990; Pitman et al., 1995), and the implementation of quality programs in organizations (Easton, 1993; Lakhe & Mohanty, 1994).

The literature on international quality management, however, has not been integrated into a comprehensive framework for awareness and understanding. This paper begins the process toward integration by examining and identifying publication patterns in international quality management in industrialized, newly industrialized, and developing regions. Recognizing these publication patterns can be useful to both researchers and practitioners. Researchers can use this paper to assess the under- or over-representation of certain areas of research when developing theories and conducting studies in international quality management, and practitioners can get a better perspective on the quality management techniques adopted in different regions around the world. The next section discusses international quality management in industrialized, newly industrialized, and developing regions; the following section expands on quality management approaches prevalent in the literature. In addition, these sections present the research questions investigated in the study.


Quality management can be influenced by the degree of competition faced by a firm, barriers to entry in an industry or country, quality demands by customers, governmental regulations concerning quality, and the level of technology (Benson, Saraph, & Schroeder, 1991; Ettlie, 1997). These factors can vary by country. Companies in countries with high levels of competition and few barriers to entry are more likely to practice quality management; even if the competition is based on of price rather than quality, cost reductions can still be gained through improved quality techniques. Likewise, firms may be forced to adopt quality practices in the face of customers' quality requirements and government regulations (Benson et al., 1991). The level of technology can also influence the quality management practices of organizations. The connection between quality management and organizational performance is stronger in low-technology firms than in high-technology ones (Ettlie, 1997); hence, countries with large numbers of low-technology industries may benefit to a greater extent by adopting quality practices.

The literature suggests that industrialized and developing countries are at different stages of the quality movement. In industrialized countries, quality management has been practiced for a number of years, whereas in developing countries it is of a more recent origin. The literature has extensively examined quality management in industrialized countries such as the U. …

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