Achieving Sustainable Performance Through TQM and Market Orientation: A Proposed Framework for Empirical Investigations - Page 6

Integrating TQM and market orientation elements.

Miles, Russell and Arnold (1995) propose that the firms attempt to leverage strategic quality to create customer value should integrate quality orientation precepts comprising customer focus, continuous improvement, and system perspectives. Mohr-Jackson’s (1998) field-based view of total quality constitutes four pillars: organisation-wide commitment, continuous improvement, customer perceived quality, and customer satisfaction. His finding supports the notion of customer-perceived quality that includes all products and service attributes that meet customer requirements better than competition. This supprts the assertion that customers judge quality relative to competition and is consistent with earlier literatures (e.g. Buzzel and Gale’s (1987) on perceived quality; Garvin’s (1988) user-based definition of quality; Marketing Science Institute’s (1991) market driven quality; Zeithaml et al’s. (1990) service quality).

Such integration suggest that quality orientation to be a commitment to maximise firm’s long-term value and stakeholder satisfaction by constantly reducing the product related cost to society. A further integration between quality and market orientation requires a complete delineation of the principles and elements of each approach to find their common themes and peculiar practices.

When discussing TQM and market orientation relationships it is important to differentiate between practices (elements) and performance. Practices, being inputs to achieve performance outcome influence the latter directly and singly or through interaction with other input variables. TQM and market orientation elements generated in chapter two and three respectively are collection of practices available for managers to steer their firms toward certain types of performance.

Despite authors implied the convergence of TQM and market orientation (e.g. Webster, 1994; Day, 1994; Gummesson, 1994, 1998; Reed et al., 1996; Mohr-Jackson, 1998) but there has been no explicit and precise listing of those practices that comprise the combined orientation. Perhaps the extensive overlapping between those practices (e.g. Webster, 1994; Spencer, 1994; Grant et al., 1994; Dean and Bowen, 1994) makes precise integration difficult. Descriptive literatures suggest that quality and market orientation practices may be mutually supportive, which means, TQM improves product quality and firm’s performance but TQM efforts could also improve market orientation performance. The converse may also be true.

This research begins to empirically articulate the relationship between TQM and market orientation, in terms of both elements (practices) and performance. Since TQM fundamentals, like market orientation concept, generate an array of peripheral principles, this research took the approach of dividing the TQM and market orientation elements into unique TQM practices, unique market orientation practices, and common practices. This method is consistent with approach taken by Flynn et al. (1995), who studied TQM and JIT relationships, although their basis for classifying unique and common practices are different.

Consistent with system approach and contingency view points each common practice in isolation or combined supports the effectiveness of the firm’s orientation. Common elements, which formed the foundation for integrating TQM and market orientations, become the organisational infrastructure that influences the attainment of firm’s core practices. Those conceptually different and similar elements based on related literatures are shown in table 1.1. Customer value is the unifying purpose for both orientations. These elements are assembled into an integrated conceptual model called market-based quality (MBQ) orientation as shown in figure 1.3.

Table 1.1: Unique and common elements of MBQ orientation

Unique TQM Elements

Common Elements

Unique Market Orientation Elements

1.Supplier management

2. Usage of quality/SPC tools

3. Operations optimisation

4.Employee involvement

5. Product / Service reliability

6. Continuous improvement

7.Quality training

8. Empowerment

9. Teamwork

10. Benchmarking

1.Customer orientation

2 Management commitment

3. Interfunctional coordination

4. Knowledge and learning

5. Design optimisation

6. Market advantage

7 Measurement

8. Customer satisfaction

1. Technological orientation

2. Marketing-mix modification

3. Competitor orientation

4. Customer relationships

5. Innovation orientation

  • Strategic positioning
  • Branding
  • International marketing
  • Marketing research


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