The influence of culture on quality management practices and their effects on perceived service quality by secondary school students

Published date02 January 2020
Date02 January 2020
AuthorJosé Soria-García,Ángel Rafael Martínez-Lorente
Subject MatterEducation,Curriculum,instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
The inuence of culture on quality
management practices and their
eects on perceived service
quality by secondary
school students
José Soria-García
Carlos III Professional Training College, Cartagena, Spain, and
Ángel Rafael Martínez-Lorente
Department of Business Management, Faculty of Business, UPCT, Cartagena, Spain
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate how quality culture inuences the relationship
between total quality management (TQM) and secondary school studentsperceived service quality
Design/methodology/approach The authorsunderpin research to analyse the effect of qualityculture
and TQM practiceson PSQ. The sample included questionnairescompleted by 268 teachers and 559 students
from 56 secondary schools in the Murcia Region (Spain). The proposed model comprises an exogenous
construct (quality culture) and three endogenous ones (two constructs represent the TQM models
infrastructure practices and core practices, whereas one represents PSQ), and species the relations among
them. The authors used the variance-based structural equation modeling technique and the partial least
squaresestimation method to test the hypotheses.
Findings Its empirical analysis reveals that the quality culture inuences the effectiveness of QM
practices by suggesting a signicant strong effect on infrastructure and core quality practices. In turn, the
analysisreveals that these two QM aspects differently have an impacton PSQ. Finally, the mediation analysis
results reveal the indirectsignicant impact of the quality culture on PSQ through the mediatoreffect of QM
Originality/value The main contribution of thiswork is to theoretically explain and empirically prove
some mechanisms by which education centers can develop and implement a total quality initiative. The
ndings provide ideas for management teams about how to personalizeTQM practices to achieve optimum
Keywords Quality culture, Perceived service quality, Partial least squares, Secondary schools,
Infrastructure and core quality practices
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
The common belief that certain aspects of the organisational culture may hinder or
encourage quality management (QM) being implemented acquires relevance based on at
least two important underlying assumptions. One is that culture can be changed in a way
that facilitates the implementation of QM practices. The other is that QM in schools has
positive effects on school performance (Markowitsch, 2018); however, empirical evidence is
practices and
their eects
Received3 January 2019
Revised11 June 2019
16September 2019
25October 2019
1November 2019
19November 2019
Accepted20 November 2019
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.28 No. 1, 2020
pp. 49-65
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-10-2018-0112
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Some research studies have questioned the universal validity of total quality
management (TQM) practices by investigating how the organisational context impacts
TQM practices (Wu et al.,2011;Zhang et al.,2012;Gambi et al., 2015). They all suggest that
the effectiveness of TQM practices depends on the organisational context. Other empirical
studies indicate that some TQM practices have no signicant impact on performance and
suggest that such practices may depend on the context (Powell, 1995), whichrenders some
TQM practices andtools inappropriate in certain situations (Deanand Bowen, 1994).
Increasingly, academicians and professionals acknowledge the relevance of
understanding organisational culture when implementing TQM practices and suggest
taking a closer look at the link among cultural attributes, QM practices and performance
(Wu et al.,2011;Zhang et al.,2012;Gambi et al.,2015). Thus, decision-makers must
understand the interaction between organisational culture and these quality practices to
efciently implement QM practices (Naor et al.,2008). This study builds on recent ndings
that quality practices are context-dependent, i.e. the adoption of differentsubsets of quality
practices is determinedby the type of culture (Gambi et al.,2015).
This work is arranged as follows. The proposed model and hypotheses are presented
below in Section 2. Sections 3 and 4 offer the research methodology and an empirical
analysis. Finally, the results, discussions and the conclusions are presented in Section 5; the
references and an appendix of the measuresused herein are also provided.
2. Theory and hypotheses
2.1 Quality culture
The role of culture in QM has received considerable attention (Wu et al.,2011;Zhang et al.,
2012;Gambi et al., 2015;Markowitsch, 2018). Most authors agree that TQM is based on a
series of central values that should constitute the organisational culture (Svensson and
Klefsjö, 2006). In this context, quality culture can be easily personalised in individual
organisations,including education institutions.
Prajogo and McDermott (2005) and Naor et al. (2008) emphasise that to successfully
implement TQM, the organisational culture must change and be characterised by its
customer orientation, support of senior management, continuous improvement and
employee engagement; variables that are present in the clan and adhocratic cultures and
have a major effect on TQM success.
This topic has been analysed only for higher education,and not in the secondary school
2.2 Quality management practices
Prajogo and McDermott (2005) dene TQM as the integrationof all functions and processes
into an organisation to continuouslyimprove the quality of goods and services in which the
ultimate goal is customer satisfaction.TQM has been accepted as a set of central values and
as a group of practices, tools, techniquesand systems (Prajogo and McDermott, 2005).
From a literature review and for this study, eight commonly used dimensions were
identied that comprisethe content of the TQM practices construct in education institutions.
The eight selected dimensions form part of the universe of critical concepts and factors
identied by the literature on, rstly QM and secondly quality in education. The former
comprises quality leaders (such asDeming, Juran, Crosby, Feigenbaum and Ishikawa) and
excellence models (such as European Foundation for Quality Management, Malcolm
Baldrige and Deming models) and empirical research in companies (Flynn et al.,1994;
Powell, 1995;Sousa and Voss, 2002;Kaynak, 2003). The latter includes some successful

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