A grounded theory research approach to building and testing TQM theory in operations management

Rodney McAdam, Denis Leonard, Joan Henderson, Hazlett Shirley-Ann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Total quality management (TQM) has continued to develop as a strategic business improvement approach in organisations and within the Operations Management literature. Strategic TQM is a dynamic phenomenon, reflecting the complexity and technology development in the business environment. Therefore, this conception of TQM has led to significant challenges with regards to developing suitable models and research methodology where traditional, and normative research data, includes survey responses associated with deductive theory and testing. Such data, and its use, is often premised on cause and effect rationality and fails to supply deep rich data to address meanings, phenomena and complex socio-political events, which is a feature of strategic TQM.The primary aim of this paper is to develop strategic TQM models which are representative of the dynamic and complex elements of organisations and their environments. A secondary aim is to examine theory building in relation to TQM by using Grounded Theory research methods to fulfil the primary aim of the paper. The data includes longitudinal interviews; practitioner reflexivity; social constructionist groups; critical action learning teams and multiple and longitudinal cases, which was analysed and integrated using quality-based rules within Grounded Theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-837
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2008


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