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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation eTheses
Title: Evaluating management standards: empirical research into the Scottish Quality Management System
Author(s): Marshall, George H
Supervisor(s): Mould, Gill
Issue Date: May-2006
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Managers today are faced with a bewildering choice of Management Standards that are being promoted to improve personal and organisational performance by a wide range of Standards-setting bodies. Standards-based management is a well-researched field, but all the research concentrates on individual Standards such as ISO 9000 and 14000 without identifying the influences of other Management Standards. This research seeks to extend the debate about Standards-based management and to encourage other researchers to consider it as both an entity and a phenomenon and to note its divergence from other management theories. A taxonomy of Management Standards is presented to enable the principal Standards to be categorised and a definition of a Management Standard is proposed to enable the distillation of the considerable body of literature into more manageable proportions. A chronology of Management Standards development is tabled and compared with the evolution of Quality Management and Total Quality Management (TQM) and the possible future development of Management Standards is examined. The literature research confirmed that Standards-based management approaches had increased very significantly, despite a lack of empirical research to show that this method of management yielded uniform improvements. It identified a trend for integrating Management Standards and creating a “super” Management Standard that would incorporate all the functions of management within an organisation. The Scottish Quality Management System (SQMS) is an integrated Management Standard that incorporates many of the key functions of management within an audited Management Standards framework that its architects claim is based on the principles of TQM. While originally developed for the Scottish training provider network in 1993, it has spread internationally and is currently in use by circa 600 organisations in several countries. It is the only example of a Management Standard of this kind, and despite its longevity, extensive coverage and significant public investment, it has not attracted any previous research interest. The SQMS project was ambitious, seeking to impose a major new Standard on a diverse and predominately unsophisticated population of organisations within a tight time frame. The field research surveyed the entire SQMS registered organisation population using a questionnaire that was based upon the principles of ISO 9004: 1994 and some preliminary research. The questionnaire was designed to examine attitudes and motivation, as well as gauging the effectiveness of the SQMS Standard as determined by an analysis of the improvements that could be directly associated with its implementation. The survey achieved over 70% response rate and the resulting data set was comprehensive and the analysis robust. An additional element of the research compared the results of the questionnaire response analysis with the perceptions of the SQMS Auditors who had audited a majority of the respondent organisations. The field research showed that the SQMS population was very experienced and had been working with SQMS for well over three years. This is a period that the literature research indicated was the minimum time required for the benefits of quality improvement initiatives to become measurable. In the absence of any clear published objectives for the implementation of SQMS, a number of likely objectives were postulated and these objectives were measured against the results of the research. The results of the research suggest an attitude of compliance, rather than improvement as the underlying mind-set of the SQMS organisations and an absence of quality improvement planning or measurement of key performance indicators. This attitude was no different among organisations that had also adopted ISO 9000 and IiP. SQMS accreditation had not shown to provide any marketing or promotional benefit in the same way as ISO 9000 and it had not led to increased market share or profitability. Few of the possible benefits of applying a Standard of this nature had been realised by the majority of organisations and there was little evidence of tangible organisational improvement. The Standard could not be deemed to have met its proposed objectives and a comparison with an accepted model of TQM did not find sufficient compatibility to designate SQMS as a tool for TQM implementation. The interviews with SQMS Auditors identified major discrepancies between their perceptions and the views of the organisations that they audited. The admission by over half of the respondent organisations that they produced evidence purely to satisfy audits raised questions about the effectiveness of the Standard and its audits and the competence of auditors to audit “super” Standards. The novelty of the research is examined and suggestions for future research proposed.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School
Management Education Centre

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