The aim of this paper is to conduct an inductive grounded theory study into the strategic impact of total quality management (TQM). The strategic importance of TQM has been argued for some considerable time (at least ten years or more). The resulting discourse has led to corporate strategy being considered as inherent in TQM. Despite an acknowledgement of the existence of this relationship, there is a paucity of research which seeks to investigate the key issues involved. A grounded theory research methodology was developed using 19 grounded case studies of organisations which were involved in TQM and which had well-developed strategic planning processes. First, it was found that there was an inconsistency in TQM terminology, especially in regard to TQM's integration with the strategic planning process. Second, TQM was only articulated as a means of achieving a target, which has been set at strategic level. Finally, the results indicated that TQM plays a key role in strategy implementation, as distinct from strategic formulation, within the organisations.
- Grounded theory