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Mapping the critical links between organizational culture and TQM/Six Sigma practices


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  • Zu, Xingxing
  • Robbins, Tina L.
  • Fredendall, Lawrence D.
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    This study investigates how organizational culture influences the implementation of different practices incorporated in the recent Six Sigma approach as well as those associated with traditional total quality management (TQM). We employed the competing values framework to capture the underlying value orientations of organizational culture. Using survey data collected from 226 US manufacturing plants, the relationships between four culture types and 10 TQM/Six Sigma practices were examined via the structural equation modeling technique. The results reveal the differential effects of the culture types on the implementation of TQM/Six Sigma practices. The implications of the links between different cultures and different TQM/Six Sigma practices are discussed. While the relationship between TQM practices and culture has been the subject of prior research, this is the first look at the relationship between organizational culture and a comprehensive set of quality management practices including the new Six Sigma practices. The understanding of the advantage of each culture type should help managers achieve effective implementation of TQM/Six Sigma practices from a holistic perspective of both quality management and culture.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Production Economics.

    Volume (Year): 123 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 86-106

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:123:y:2010:i:1:p:86-106

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    Keywords: Six Sigma Total quality management Organizational culture;


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    1. Rahman, Shams-ur & Bullock, Philip, 2005. "Soft TQM, hard TQM, and organisational performance relationships: an empirical investigation," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 73-83, February.
    2. Robinson, Carol J. & Malhotra, Manoj K., 2005. "Defining the concept of supply chain quality management and its relevance to academic and industrial practice," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 315-337, June.
    3. Kevin B. Hendricks & Vinod R. Singhal, 1997. "Does Implementing an Effective TQM Program Actually Improve Operating Performance? Empirical Evidence from Firms That Have Won Quality Awards," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(9), pages 1258-1274, September.
    4. Ouchi, William, 1981. "Theory Z: How American business can meet the Japanese challenge," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 82-83.
    5. Robert E. Quinn & John Rohrbaugh, 1983. "A Spatial Model of Effectiveness Criteria: Towards a Competing Values Approach to Organizational Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(3), pages 363-377, March.
    6. Stock, Gregory N. & McFadden, Kathleen L. & Gowen III, Charles R., 2007. "Organizational culture, critical success factors, and the reduction of hospital errors," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 368-392, April.
    7. Choi, Ty, 1995. "Conceptualizing continuous improvement: Implications for organizational change," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 607-624, December.
    8. Henri, Jean-Francois, 2006. "Organizational culture and performance measurement systems," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 77-103, January.
    9. Kumar, U. Dinesh & Nowicki, David & Ramirez-Marquez, Jose Emmanuel & Verma, Dinesh, 2008. "On the optimal selection of process alternatives in a Six Sigma implementation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 456-467, February.
    10. Skerlavaj, Miha & Stemberger, Mojca Indihar & Skrinjar, Rok & Dimovski, Vlado, 2007. "Organizational learning culture--the missing link between business process change and organizational performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 346-367, April.
    11. Forza, Cipriano & Filippini, Roberto, 1998. "TQM impact on quality conformance and customer satisfaction: A causal model," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-20, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Saghaei, Abbas & Najafi, Hoorieh & Noorossana, Rassoul, 2012. "Enhanced Rolled Throughput Yield: A new six sigma-based performance measure," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 368-373.
    2. Gunday, Gurhan & Ulusoy, Gunduz & Kilic, Kemal & Alpkan, Lutfihak, 2011. "Effects of innovation types on firm performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(2), pages 662-676, October.
    3. Shun-Hsing Chen & Fei-Yun Chen & I-Ping Wu, 2014. "An Empirical Study of TQM Method Practices for Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 4(5), pages 18-31, May.
    4. Bayo-Moriones, Alberto & Merino-Díaz-de-Cerio, Javier & Antonio Escamilla-de-León, Sergio & Mary Selvam, Rejina, 2011. "The impact of ISO 9000 and EFQM on the use of flexible work practices," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 33-42, March.
    5. Hazen, Benjamin T. & Overstreet, Robert E. & Jones-Farmer, L. Allison & Field, Hubert S., 2012. "The role of ambiguity tolerance in consumer perception of remanufactured products," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(2), pages 781-790.
    6. Brun, Alessandro, 2011. "Critical success factors of Six Sigma implementations in Italian companies," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1), pages 158-164, May.
    7. Su, Hung-Chung & Chen, Yi-Su, 2013. "Unpacking the relationships between learning mechanisms, culture types, and plant performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 728-737.
    8. Pinheiro de Lima, Edson & Gouvea da Costa, Sergio E. & Angelis, Jannis Jan & Munik, Juliano, 2013. "Performance measurement systems: A consensual analysis of their roles," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 524-542.
    9. Schomaker, Margaret Spring & Zaheer, Srilata, 2014. "The Role of Language in Knowledge Transfer to Geographically Dispersed Manufacturing Operations," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 55-72.


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