This paper presents the results of a study on the contribution of ISO 9000 standards towards total quality management (TQM). For the purposes of this study, a TQM measurement instrument was developed and tested for its reliability and validity to measure TQM performance improvement in certified companies in Greek industry. This performance improvement was then used to test the basic research hypothesis: “Can ISO 9000 standards provide a good first step towards TQM?”. The results of the study are presented in eight basic TQM categories, showing the certified companies’ performance improvement in the basic elements of each category, and revealing their strengths and weaknesses on their way to TQM.
The companies’ total quality management performance after certification was found to be quite good in all categories.
The basic conclusion drawn, based on the combination of literature review results of the empirical study on the Greek industry, is that the development and certification of a quality assurance system according to one of the ISO 9000 standards can offer a good first step towards TQM, since it offers significant improvement in companies’ performance in all TQM elements and areas examined by the research.
Moreover, it is proved that it boosts quality culture and quality commitment and it offers significant operational and other benefits to the certified companies.
Gotzamani, D.K., Tsiotras, D.G. (2001), ‘An empirical study of the ISO 9000 standards’ contribution towards total quality management’, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 21, Iss 10 pp.1326-1342.