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Top management: a threat or an opportunity to TQM?

Soltani, E. and Van Der Meer, R.B. and Williams, T.M. (2005) Top management: a threat or an opportunity to TQM? Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 16 (4). pp. 460-476. ISSN 1478-3363

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Abstract

In line with the proposed precepts and deadly diseases of TQM by Deming (1986) and other quality management scholars, the academic literature on the role of top management in quality improvement programmes suggests a fundamental question: 'why does the commitment from top management appear to have dropped off so dramatically?' On a theoretical level, a review of the relevant literature reveals a strong consensus that top management commitment is essential for successful TQM implementation. However, whether this commitment actually exists in practice, is an empirical question that has received much less attention. In addressing these issues towards filling this void, this paper aims to generate preliminary observations on the various factors affecting the role played by top management in organizational environments with a TQM orientation. Implications are discussed to generate research propositions that focus on the interplay of upper and middle level management and employees' commitment.