This paper examines whether or not small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) can successfully pursue total quality management (TQM) beyond ISO 9000. A review of the literature on quality in small businesses shows that the benefits of ISO 9000 can far outweigh the costs of achieving registrations (even for small businesses) but also emphasizes that ISO 9000 should be viewed as a step towards TQM and not the end of the quality journey. Although many small businesses are benefiting from ISO 9000, an increasing number of small ISO businesses are not progressing towards TQM. To explore the actual impact of quality on small business, a number of small ISO 9000 businesses were surveyed. The main conclusions and recommendations arising from the thesis are that small businesses can benefit from implementing TQM. However, small TQM practitioners need to learn to be more externally focused, i.e. customer focused, to measure the financial impact of TQM on bottom line performance and to use direct methods to measure customer satisfaction.
Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.