Quality practices in particular countries/organisations

An important aspect of supply chain management is that of quality improvement. This is important in the development of relationships between customers and suppliers, and to give a competitive edge in the market place. 

PhD research at Lancaster has investigated the practice of quality management in Malaysia and Mexico and more recently in Kenya and Greece, and currently concerns Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In each case questionnaires were designed, and responses received from many individuals and organisations. In the Malaysian case, a detailed investigation of several electrical and electronics companies followed, using structured interviews. In the Mexican case several detailed case studies were undertaken in manufacturing companies.

The ultimate purpose of such research is to improve the quality performance of the companies in the countries concerned. With this in mind there are other avenues of research in quality management that could be pursued, and therefore the precise nature of the avenues to be investigated can be determined during the first few months of a research programme.

Quality in the insurance industry

Simmy Marwa completed his research in 2005, into service quality diagnosis and improvement in the insurance industries of the UK and Kenya. His objective was to establish an appropriate diagnostic that may be used to measure and improve service quality in the insurance industry. This study revealed the extent to which the two insurance industries are in conformity with the excellent quality systems model. He aims to determine what problems, if any, are evident in the insurance industry today, and to what extent these problems impact negatively on the quality of insurance services in the two countries. Data will be collected using appropriate research instruments, in both Kenya and the UK.

Vagelis Tsoukatos is drawing evidence from the Greek Insurance Industry to research a) the links between variables leading to customer loyalty and b) assess the worth of models, reflecting these links, as instruments for managing the behavioural intentions of customers by directing quality efforts and resources to improve customer loyalty levels. His research has been extended to include culture as a determinant of the relationships between the variables under examination with interesting results so far.

Quality in education

Latifa Alghatam is in the process of completing research about the moderating effect of national culture and religious ethical sensitivity on the quality management culture in both state secondary schools and service sector organisations in one of the Arab Middle East countries (Bahrain). Her objective is to determine the influence of national culture and Islamic ethics on QM culture in the service sector and state schools in Bahrain. Information has been collected using appropriate research instruments. The study reveals that management in relation to QM practices in the Arab Gulf region may turn out quite differently to the characteristic Western experiences. The political situation in the Gulf region is very complicated and rules and regulation are in many instances not taken very seriously. The study provides detailed ideas on the managerial implications for implementing TQM. It also proposes a description of a generic framework for TQM implementation to assist Bahraini state schools to implement effectively their TQM initiatives.

Abdulrahman Al-Nasser's work is in the education sector in Saudi Arabia. There is disagreement on the definition of organisational culture and whether organisational culture can be changed and managed. TQM researchers also debate the relationship between TQM and organisational culture, and, in particular, whether quality values can be formed or internalized among people to create the appropriate culture that supports TQM implementation in an organisation or whether a specific type of organisational culture is prerequisite for success in TQM implementation.

This study employs a causal model research designs to discover the impact of TQM implementation on organizational values and norms of behaviours by using a questionnaire instrument built specifically to assess TQM values that are assumed to be internalized among people in organisations that implement TQM. Utilizing a causal research design to study the relationship between TQM implementation and organisational values may lead to better understanding of the role that values play in organisational culture and at the same time advance understanding of the nature of the relationship between TQM and organisational culture.

Six Sigma research

The centre welcomes enquiries from researchers interested in the subject.

Selected references in this area:

Zailani, S. Mohamad (1998) The implementation of quality improvement practices in the Malaysian Electrical and Electronic Industries. Unpublished PD. Thesis, University of Lancaster.

Escalante, Edgardo, J (1999) Quality and Productivity Improvement: a study of variation and defects in manufacturing. Quality Engineering 11, 427-442.

Escalante, Edgardo J. (2003) A study of variation and defects in manufacturing, with specific application to Mexican industry. Unpublished PD. Thesis, University of Lancaster.

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