Measuring Changes in Quality Management: An Empirical Analysis of Japanese Manufacturing Companies


Our research addresses a framework, evaluation criteria and measurements for managing quality. Its main objective is to show how managerial emphases have been shifted from the past for Japanese manufacturing companies with established reputation in high quality. We use a research model that is composed of quality management infrastructure practices (QMIP), quality management core practices (QMCP), and quality results. The research model is designed to measure quality from two perspectives, the present state of practices/activities in quality management and the changes that occur over time in the same practices/activities. A questionnaire survey was designed to collect data from major Japanese manufacturing companies in various industries. A total of 317 responses were used for analysis. The research model was tested using structural model analysis. The results confirmed that good quality outcomes are directly dependent on good QMCP, which in turn are dependent on good QMIP. Additionally, good quality practices not only lead to good quality but also improve quality outcomes. An important result is the changing quality management practices. We found that the companies that shift their managerial emphases to product development improve quality outcomes. More emphases on product development are positively affected by more emphases on supplier relationship and customer relationship. The paper provides valuable empirical insight into the manners in which companies are shifting management priorities in today’s highly dynamic and ever changing business environment.

Keywords: quality management; questionnaires/surveys/interviews

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