Challenges and propositions for research in quality management
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2018

From its inception, the field of quality management (QM) has been characterised by practice-driven development. Although QM has reached maturity as a field of research based on empirical enquiry, its practitioners still struggle to adapt QM implementations to reap their benefits. This study aims to identify their challenges to better understand how contemporary QM research addresses them. We propose approaches to bridge the potential relevance gaps between research and practice. A Delphi study of QM practitioners in Swedish private and public organisations, several of which operate globally, generated 49 challenges. An exploratory factor analysis was performed to cluster these challenges into themes, and the literature was reviewed to investigate how each theme has been addressed in QM research. The empirical investigation identified three themes related to future QM challenges—organisations' adaptability to rapid changes in the business environment, quality as a strategic concern for business owners, and managerial ownership of quality. By analysing these challenges, six propositions for future research were proposed to reduce potential relevance gaps. Future research should focus on how to make QM a strategic concern for owners, and explore how it can contribute to organisational ambidexterity and adaptability. Research should also determine how context influences the way QM is applied, and investigate how it can improve organisational learning and innovation. Finally, research should indicate how top managers can adopt the responsibilities of quality managers, and explore the ways the principal values of QM can be better integrated into organisations.From its inception, the field of quality management (QM) has been characterised by practice-driven development. Although QM has reached maturity as a field of research based on empirical enquiry, its practitioners still struggle to adapt QM implementations to reap their benefits. This study aims to identify their challenges to better understand how contemporary QM research addresses them. We propose approaches to bridge the potential relevance gaps between research and practice. A Delphi study of QM practitioners in Swedish private and public organisations, several of which operate globally, generated 49 challenges. An exploratory factor analysis was performed to cluster these challenges into themes, and the literature was reviewed to investigate how each theme has been addressed in QM research. The empirical investigation identified three themes related to future QM challenges—organisations' adaptability to rapid changes in the business environment, quality as a strategic concern for business owners, and managerial ownership of quality. By analysing these challenges, six propositions for future research were proposed to reduce potential relevance gaps. Future research should focus on how to make QM a strategic concern for owners, and explore how it can contribute to organisational ambidexterity and adaptability. Research should also determine how context influences the way QM is applied, and investigate how it can improve organisational learning and innovation. Finally, research should indicate how top managers can adopt the responsibilities of quality managers, and explore the ways the principal values of QM can be better integrated into organisations.

Delphi study

Organisational adaptability

Ambidexterity

Quality management

Relevance gap

Författare

Anders Fundin

Mälardalens högskola

Bjarne Bergqvist

Luleå tekniska universitet

Henrik Eriksson

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

Ida Gremyr

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

International Journal of Production Economics

0925-5273 (ISSN)

Vol. 199 May 125-137

Ämneskategorier

Annan maskinteknik

Övrig annan teknik

Tillförlitlighets- och kvalitetsteknik

Styrkeområden

Produktion

DOI

10.1016/j.ijpe.2018.02.020

Mer information

Senast uppdaterat

2018-06-18