Initiating Quality Management in a Small Company
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2016

The purpose of this paper is to identify critical aspects of Quality Management (QM) adoption in a small company. QM is more widely applied in large companies than in small ones. Previous research has pointed to QM ideas as sound and valid for small companies, but that many such initiatives fail because of poor implementation. With scarcity of resources and expertise, it is critical to study how QM can be initiated in small companies with often sceptical owner-managers. Design/methodology/approach This paper is based on a single case study of a small company; data has been collected through two sets of interviews: one in late 2009 and one in mid-2012, as well as project reports and public financial data. This allows for a study of the adoption process over time. Findings This study points to four critical areas when initiating QM work in a small company: the importance of initiation, the importance of contextualisation, QM adoption as an iterative process, and the need for external support. Originality/value (mandatory) This paper highlights the importance of overcoming small business owners’ reluctance towards QM. Most research on QM initiatives in small companies has focused on the stages that follow an actual decision to begin a QM initiative. This paper shows that it is critical to carefully consider the stages leading to the decision. Further, it contributes with a case study on a small company, otherwise uncommon in QM research.

continuous improvements



adoption process

quality management

small to medium sized enterprises

small firms


Marcus Assarlind

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

Ida Gremyr

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

TQM Journal

1754-2731 (ISSN)

Vol. 28 2 166-179


Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi

Annan maskinteknik


Hållbar utveckling





Mer information