Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to identify different strategies in the application of Quality Management in Swedish industry. This purpose is divided into two questions; (1) what kind of management practices are applied in relation to which management concepts and (2) where do the organizations turn to seek knowledge about the applied concepts.
Methodology/Approach: A questionnaire survey was performed, where production managers in Swedish industry were requested to rate their rate of application of various management concepts and practices as well as their use of various information sources. Principal Component Analysis was applied to find patterns in the data, and cluster analysis was performed on the principal component loadings to identify groups of information sources, concepts and practices.
Findings: The analysis shows that three distinctive approaches to Quality Management can be identified, based on TQM/Six Sigma, TPS/Lean Production and ISO9000 respectively. In terms of seeking knowledge, there are also three distinct strategies: (1) a formal approach, focusing on external sources of information, such as university courses and professional networks; (2) an informal approach, focusing on easily accessible information in journals and the Internet; (3) a consultant based approach, seeking information mainly from management consultants. The consultant based approach seems to apply to all management concepts, whereas the two other approaches seem to be independent of the choice of concept.
Implications: This paper provides an empirical basis for classification of management concepts and practices, thereby providing support for practitioners aiming to select and implement a strategy for organizational change.
Lean, TQM, Six Sigma, ISO9000, Knowledge base, Principal Component Analysis, Cluster analysis