A review of empirical investigations comparing quality initiatives in manufacturing and service organizations
Journal article, 2008
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate, by reviewing the literature, the relationship between quality management and business performance with a comparison between manufacturing and service organizations. Design/methodology/approach - This meta-analytic study critically examines the literature and evaluates the business performance implications of adopting quality management principles in manufacturing and service organizations. Altogether, 14 published research studies were identified that focused on the relationship between quality management and business performance with a comparison between manufacturing and service organizations. Findings - The results show several inconsistencies in previous research when it comes to the relationship between quality management and business performance when comparing manufacturing and service organizations. Some of these inconsistencies concern the principles of supplier relationships, leadership commitment and customer orientation. The inconsistencies can be explained by a number of factors: the difference in size of the organizations included in the studies, the cultural aspect and the research design. Regarding consistencies, two quality management principles stand out in several studies as being more central for service organizations: employee management and process orientation. Practical implications - The results can provide guidance for service managers aiming to implement quality management. In addition, the paper provides guidance to researchers about methodological issues so that future research can provide more reliable and valid results. Originality/value - The paper provides a critical review of previous research on what principles of quality management should be adopted in a service organization.