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The Effects of Organizational Context on Quality Management: An Empirical Investigation


  • P. George Benson

    (Curtis L. Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455)

  • Jayant V. Saraph

    (College of Business, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301)

  • Roger G. Schroeder

    (Curtis L. Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455)


While the quality literature abounds with prescriptions for how quality should be managed, no one has proposed an organization-theory explanation for how quality is managed in organizations. This paper proposes a system-structural model of quality management that relates organizational quality context, actual quality management, ideal quality management, and quality performance. The relationships between organizational quality context and actual and ideal quality management are investigated using data collected from 152 managers from 77 business units of 20 manufacturing and service companies. A previously reported instrument is used to measure managers' perceptions of ideal and actual quality management in terms of eight critical factors including product/service design, training, employee relations, and top management leadership. Several measures are used to characterize organizational quality context including company type, company size, degree of competition, and corporate support for quality. The results indicate that organizational quality context influences managers' perceptions of both ideal and actual quality management. This suggests that knowledge of organizational quality context is useful for explaining and predicting quality management practice. Important contextual variables are corporate support for quality, past quality performance, managerial knowledge, and the extent of external quality demands.

Suggested Citation

  • P. George Benson & Jayant V. Saraph & Roger G. Schroeder, 1991. "The Effects of Organizational Context on Quality Management: An Empirical Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(9), pages 1107-1124, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:9:p:1107-1124

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leech, Dennis, 1985. "Ownership Concentration and the Theory of the Firm : A Simple-Game-Theoretic Approach to Applied US Corporations in the 1930's," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 262, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    2. Guillermo Owen, 1972. "Multilinear Extensions of Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(5-Part-2), pages 64-79, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Raju, P.S. & Lonial, Subhash C. & Crum, Michael D., 2011. "Market orientation in the context of SMEs: A conceptual framework," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(12), pages 1320-1326.
    2. Karim, M.A. & Smith, A.J.R. & Halgamuge, S.K. & Islam, M.M., 2008. "A comparative study of manufacturing practices and performance variables," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 841-859, April.
    3. Luis Eduardo Solís, 2004. "An empirical investigation of the relationships among supplier-based relationships (...)," Working Papers Economia wp04-26, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    4. 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.
    5. Abdullateef Usman, 2013. "Determinants of Electricity Consumers Satisfaction in Selected Electricity Distribution Zones in Nigeria: Implications for Regulatory Activities," Journal of Asian Business Strategy, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(6), pages 103-124, June.
    6. Macinati, Manuela S., 2008. "The relationship between quality management systems and organizational performance in the Italian National Health Service," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 228-241, February.
    7. Aravind Chandrasekaran & Claire Senot & Kenneth K. Boyer, 2012. "Process Management Impact on Clinical and Experiential Quality: Managing Tensions Between Safe and Patient-Centered Healthcare," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 14(4), pages 548-566, October.
    8. Jha, Pradeep K. & Jha, Rakhi & Datt, Rajul & Guha, Sujoy K., 2011. "Entropy in good manufacturing system: Tool for quality assurance," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 211(3), pages 658-665, June.
    9. Zhu, Andy Yunlong & von Zedtwitz, Max & Assimakopoulos, Dimitris & Fernandes, Kiran, 2016. "The impact of organizational culture on Concurrent Engineering, Design-for-Safety, and product safety performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 69-81.
    10. 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.


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