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Chileshe, N (2006) Investigating practitioner's understanding of TQM in small and medium construction companies. In: Boyd, D (Ed.), Proceedings 22nd Annual ARCOM Conference, 4-6 September 2006 Birmingham, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Vol. 1, 59–70.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: assessment; construction industry; quality management; quantitative; SMEs; UK
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0 9552390 0 1
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2006-0059-0070_Chileshe.pdf
  • Abstract:
    Generally, there is confusion as to what constitutes TQM, though it can be regarded as a set of concepts and tools for getting all employees focused on continuous improvement, various schools of thought have defined or classified the critical success factors as constructs, concepts and principles. Whereas a concept may be defined essentially as a business philosophy, a company ideal or a policy statement, the confusion in the terminology can lead to uncertainty, as noted by several authors. Furthermore what might be called core values such as customer focus, continuous improvement, or process orientation are one and the same thing as principles; dimensions; elements; or cornerstones and interventions. There is an obvious omission of a practical methodology of understanding the stated terminology. The main aim of this paper is to provide a practical approach for understanding the quality management terminology. Using the existing quality management measurement instruments available in literature, the terminology used is classified into constructs, practices and finally tools or techniques. Quality Management may then be viewed as a combination of the three sets of terminology. These four dimensions were deemed to be interrelated and mutually support each other. Drawing on the quantitative study which investigated the implementation of TQM within the SME, the critical factors of TQM as used in that study as used to demonstrate the practical approach or methodology for the understanding of the terms thus used. Having classified the broad areas of where SMEs can align their TQM applications, the study indicates that constructional related SMEs can align their TQM application into one of the following areas; Customer Oriented TQM, Supplier Oriented TQM; HRM Oriented TQM; or Process Oriented. For the benefit of practitioners within the Construction Management field, a bit of clarity is required as regards the terminology used. This study contributes to clarifying the conflicting results being reported in the quality management literature which inevitably leads to having different levels of analysis of Quality Management. Accordingly, the strength of quality management compared with other business philosophies should then focus on the practical methodology, namely the practices and techniques.