On the Pitfalls of Total Quality Management: A literature evaluation from the managerial perspective



Total Quality Management, successful implementation, pitfalls, obstacles


As a management philosophy and a set of guiding principles Total Quality Management (TQM) aims an effective use of whole resources of an organization and contributes an organization to achieve its objectives. Since the philosophy of TQM was developed, TQM has been attracting the attention of academics and managers. Though there is a large number of literatures about success stories and benefits TQM, many TQM implementation programs fail because of various reasons. Because implementation of TQM is not without difficulties and there is no easy way to be successful.

The main objective of the article is to present pitfalls of implementation of TQM based on reviewing the literature. It is asserted that obstacles to a successful implementation of TQM are managerial, not individual. The article may be useful for managers and practitioners to avoid pitfalls of implementing TQM.


Ahire, S.L., Golhar, D.Y., & Waller, M.A. (1996), Development and validation of TQM implementation constructs, Decision Sciences, 27(1), 23-56

Akpoviroro, K. S., Amos, A. O., & Olalekan, A. (2019). The implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) in the telecommunication industry: Problems and prospects, IQC 13th Quality Festival 2019, 1(2),301-312. https://doi.org/10.24874/PES01.02.027

Aktan, C. C. (1999). Devlet yönetiminde toplam kalite. Türk Idare Dergisi, 71(442), 1-13

Al Nahyan, M. T., & All, S. F. S. (2017). Key enablers of effective implementation of TQM in Royal Jet Airways. Advances in Decision Sciences. 2017, 1-1. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/3197585

Al-Khalaf, A. M. (1997). Barriers to successful TQM implementation, WCTQ’97, 1-17, https://amsak.com.sa

Amin, M., Aldakhil, A. M., Wu, C., Rezaei, S., & Cobanoglu, C. (2017). The structural relationship between TQM, employee satisfaction and hotel performance. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 29(4), 1256-1278, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-11-2015-0659

Andrade, J., Mendes, L., & Lourenço, L. (2017), Perceived psychological empowerment and total quality management-based quality management systems: an exploratory research, Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 28(1/2), 76-87.

Angeles Escriba-Moreno, M., & Canet-Giner, M.T. (2006). The combined use of quality management programs and work teams: a comparative analysis of its impact in the organizational structure. Team Performance Management, 12(5/6), 162-181

Babbar, S. (1995). Applying total quality management to educational instruction A case study from a US public university. International Journal of Public Sector Management. 08(7), 35-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513559510103175

Bell, D., McNaney, N., & Jones, M. (2006). Improving health care through redesign: it’s time to shift from small projects to whole systems. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 332(7553), 1286-1287.

Brown, M.G., Hitchcock, D.E., & Willard, M.L. (1994), Why TQM fails and what to do about it, Small Business Reports, 19(7), 58-60.

Bugdol, M., & Piotr, J. (2020) Bonus for quality of products and services in the TQM concept: the problems of reality and justice, International Journal for Quality Research. 14(3), 734-737. http://ijqr.net/journal/v14-n3/5.pdf

Bugdol, M. (2020), The problem of fear in TQM - causes, consequences and reduction methods - a literature review. The TQM Journal. 32(6), 1217-1239. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-02-2019-0047

Chadwick, P. (1995). TQM at South Bank University: issues in teaching and learning. Quality Assurance in Education. 03(1), 39-44

Chiarini, A. & Baccarani, C. (2016), TQM and lean strategy deployment in Italian hospitals: Benefits related to patient satisfaction and encountered pitfalls. Leadership in Health Services. 29(4), 377-391. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHS-07-2015-0019

Colakoglu, N.& Simsek, Ö. F. (2019). Development culture and TQM in Turkish healthcare: importance of employee empowerment and top management leadership. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence. 30(11-12),1302-1318. https://doi.org/10.1080/14783363.2017.1366266

David, R. J., & Strang, D. (2006). When fashion is fleeting: Transitory collective beliefs and the dynamics of TQM consulting. Academy of Management Journal. 49 (2), https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2006.20786058

Degeling, P., & Carnegie, M. (1995) Structural impediments to TQM in Australian Health Care, Quality Management in Health Care. 3(4), 54-61. https://doi.org/10.1097/00019514-199503040-00007

Deming, W.E. (1986), Out of the Crisis, MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Study, MA, Cambridge.

Dilawo, R.S., & Salimi, Z. (2019). Understanding TQM implementation barriers involving construction companies in a difficult environment. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management. 36(7):1137-1158. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-05-2017-0096

Dooley, K. J., & Flor, R. E. (1998). Perceptions of success and failure in TQM initiatives. Journal of Quality Management, 3(2), 157-174, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1084-8568(99)80111-4

Evans, J. R., & Lindsay, W. M. (1999). The Management and Control of Quality. South Western Collage Publishing, Fourth Edition, USA -.

Garbutt, S. (1996). The transfer of TQM from industry to education. Education + Training, 38(7), 16-22. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400919610130736

GarcÍa-Alcaraz, J.L., Montalvo, F.J.F., Sánchez-Ramírez, C. et al., (2019). Importance of organizational structure for TQM success and customer satisfaction. Wireless Networks. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11276-019-02158-5

Hewitt, F., & Clayton, M. (1999). Quality and complexity- lessons from English higher education. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 16(9), 838-858

Hill, F.M., & Huq, R. (2004). Employee empowerment: conceptualizations, aims and outcomes. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 15(8), 1025-1041, https://doi.org/10.1080/1478336042000255505

Hilman, H., Ali, G.A. & Gorondutse, A.H. (2019), The relationship between TQM and SMEs’ performance: The mediating role of organizational culture. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management. 69(1), 61-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-02-2019-0059

Hochman, L. (2005). Magnetic appeal, Personnel Today. https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/magnetic-appeal/

Hubiak, W.A., & O’Donnell, S.J. (1996). Do Americans have their minds set against TQM?, National Productivity Review. 15(3), 19-32.

Huq, Z. (2005). Managing change: a barrier to TQM implementation in service industries. Managing Service Quality, 15(5), 452-469. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604520510617301

Jackson, S. E., & Schuller, R. S. (2000). Managing Human Recourses, South Western Collage Publication, Edition 7, USA

Jaeger, M.& Adair, D.(2016). Perception of TQM benefits, practices and obstacles: The case of project managers and quality management representatives in Kuwait. The TQM Journal. 28(2), 317-336. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-10-2014-0091

Jones, G. R. (1998). Organizational Theory, Addison- Wesley Publishing Company, second edition, USA

Katz, A. S. (1993). Eight TQM Pitfalls. Journal for Quality and Participation, 16 (4), 24-28

Kaur, M., Singh, K. & Singh, D. (2020), Identification of barriers to synergistic implementation of TQM-SCM, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management. 38(1), 363-388. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-05-2019-0141

Kavrakoglu, I. (1994). Toplam Kalite Yönetimi, Kalder, Istanbul

Kotler, P. (2000). Marketing Management, Prentice-Hall Inc, The Millennium Edition, USA

Krajcsák, Z. (2019). Leadership strategies for enhancing employee commitment in TQM. Journal of Management Development. 38(6). 455-463. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-02-2019-0056

Kumar, V & Sharma, R. R. K (2015). Identifying critical success & failure factors for TQM implementation: Extract from real case studies. 2015 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IEEM), Singapore, 16-20, https://doi.org/10.1109/IEEM.2015.7385599

Ljungström, M., & Klefsjö, B. (2002). Implementation obstacles for a work-development-oriented TQM strategy. Total Quality Management. 13(5), 621-634. https://doi.org/10.1080/0954412022000002036

Long, C.S., Thean, L.Y., & Kowang, T.O. (2013). The transformational leadership: a possible TQM solution to increase job satisfaction? Life Science Journal. 10(4), 1474-1848. http://www.lifesciencesite.com/lsj/life1004/196_21443life1004_1474_1484.pdf

McManus, J. (1994). TQM - Lessons to be learned from failure. Managing Service Quality. 4(6), 8-9. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604529410074090

Mosadeghrad, A. M. (2014). Why TQM programmes fail? A pathology approach. The TQM Journal. 26(2), 160-187. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-12-2010-0041

Nwabuez, U. (2011). Implementing TQM in healthcare: the critical leadership traits, Total Quality Management. 22(3). 331-343

Rao, A., Carr, L. P., & Dambolena, I. (1996). Total Quality Management, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., USA

Rawlani, M.V., Vaidya A.M., & Husain, M. (2020). Barriers to TQM implementation in MSME -special reference to JALGAON MIDC. Mukt Shabd Journal, IX(V), 48-56

Sadikoglu, E., & Olcay, H. (2014). The effects of total quality management practices on performance and the reasons of and the barriers to TQM practices in Turkey. Advances in Decision Sciences. 2014. 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/537605

Samat, N., Ramayah, T., & Saad, N. M. (2006). TQM practices, service quality, and market orientation: Some empirical evidence from a developing country. Management Research News. 29(11), 713-728. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409170610716025

Shammas-Toma, M., Seymour, D., & Clark, L. (1998). Obstacles to implementing total quality management in Saudi Arabia marketing tourism services. Construction Management and Economics. 16(2):177-192. https://doi.org/10.1080/014461998372475

Snape, E., Wilkinson, A., Marchington, M. & Redman, T. (1995), Managing human resources for TQM: possibilities and pitfalls. Employee Relations. 17(3), 42-51. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425459510086884

Soltani, E., Lai, P.C., & Gharneh, N.S. (2005). Breaking through barriers to TQM effectiveness: lack of commitment of upper-level management. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence. 16(8/9), 1009-1021, https://doi.org/10.1080/14783360500163201

Talapatra, S., & Uddin, K. (2018). Some obstacles that affect the TQM implementation in Bangladeshi RMG Sector: An empirical study Subrata. Proceedings of the International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management Bandung, Indonesia, March 6-8, 2018. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324136937

Tobin, L. M. (1990). The new quality landscape: total quality management. Journal of Systems Management. 41(11), 10-14.

Ünal, Ö. F. (2001). Application of Total Quality Management in higher educational institutions, Journal of Qafqaz University, Spring (7), 1-18.




How to Cite

Ünal, Ömer F. (2021). On the Pitfalls of Total Quality Management: A literature evaluation from the managerial perspective. Eurasian Journal of Higher Education, 2(2), 1–15. Retrieved from http://londonic.uk/js/index.php/ljis/article/view/20