Working towards total quality management in Saudi Arabia

A. Alhwairini, Andrea Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – There is an old adage that has some resonance with “the TQM journey”: a traveller asked for directions to their destination and got the reply, “Well, if I were you I would not start from here”. The purpose of this paper is to examine the preparedness of a case study organisation in relation to the selective critical success factors (leadership approach and continuous improvement) that are widely acknowledged as being crucial for the successful implementation of total quality management (TQM) regardless of the type of organisation. The case study is a not-for-profit organisation in Saudi Arabia, although the findings would assist any organisation in its TQM journey. Design/methodology/approach – A conceptual framework was derived from the literature review. A survey was developed and distributed to a sample population in the organisation. Follow-up interviews were carried out with key management staff. Findings – It was found that the selected TQM pre-requisites and the current state within the organisation are not aligned. Recommendations are made to address these shortcomings. Research limitations/implications – Future research could examine the influence of national culture and religion in adopting TQM practices in Arab countries. Practical implications – Much has been written about TQM in the academic literature. The paper investigates how that theory stands up in the workplace. Originality/value – The paper adds to the body of knowledge about organisations in Saudi Arabia and their efforts to adopt modern business approaches and TQM in particular. Quality professionals and researchers alike will gain insights into some of the obstacles to the successful implementation of TQM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-199
Number of pages13
JournalEducation, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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