Report On Total Quality Management At Dafza
Report On Total Quality Management At Dafza
It has been widely argued that the implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) has been the success of manufacturing firms, often depending on their corporate culture. However, it has never come to the attention of researchers that the environment in which a business operates as well as free zones affect its corporate culture and model of operation. In this light, this paper launches an investigation into TQM practices, how they resonate with corporate culture and how they impact the performance of manufacturing firms set up in Dubai Airport Free Zone. The research has been conducted using questionnaires that contained the three main topics of the research, and these were distributed among various functional managers of the firms found within DAFZA. The responses were then analyzed according to the way various TQM practices resonated with corporate culture established within the firms in the free zone and how this influenced the performance of these firms in general. In particular, the report analyzed the relationship between TQM practices and the quality of services that various firms offered. Additionally, the report analyzed corporate culture established within the free zone from empirical research results and how this influenced general performance of the manufacturing firms within the free zone.
Total Quality Management (TQM) has been regarded as a means that enable multinationals to achieve excellence. When it comes to the success of its implementation, researchers and scholars express various points of view. For instance, Rogala (2016) contends that TQM improves the financial performance of the company while, on the other hand, Talib and Rahman (2015) suppose that the model improves customer satisfaction. However, it should be noted that this model has not received only positive reviews. Others are rather pessimistic about it. Vranaki, Vranakis, and Sarigiannidis (2015) rate the failure of TQM at 75% while Rogala (2016) rates the same to be at 33%. Other scholars have mixed feelings about the appropriateness of this method. In this sense, some techniques within TQM are quite successful while others are not (Talib & Rahman 2015). There have been suggestions about the applicability of this model in business management; some scholars suppose that its success lies in its relation to the organizational culture of the firm (Rogala 2016). Even then, there is a shortage of reliable information on how culture together with TQM practices impact the performance of firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and more specifically within the highly coveted free zones. This paper investigates how the corporate culture built by Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) combined with Total Quality Management (TQM) model result in high performance in this area.
Researchers have not agreed on the components of TQM model of business management. Inasmuch as there seems to be some similar components in various lists, some scholars suppose TQM has four components while others define as many as ten. Even those who propose ten components such as Rogala (2016) and Talib and Rahman (2015) still do not agree on the exact number. However, Vranaki, Vranakis, and Sarigiannidis, (2015) have come up with the most comprehensive list that strikes a balance between hard and soft tools used in implementing TQM. Soft tools encompass the commitment by the management and workforce empowerment. Hard tools, on the other hand, include on-the-job training, benchmarking as well as statistical methods used in assessing performance.
Researchers also agree that business models do not operate without corporate culture and so is TQM (Vranaki, Vranakis, & Sarigiannidis 2015). Supportive culture, for instance, is said to provide a conductive environment for implementing TQM model, at least according to Talib & Rahman 2015. They still think that the very implementation of TQM model can implicate business culture. All in all, the review has shown that much of the research has been related to TQM model, corporate culture, or the performance of the business. Research focused on how TQM practices and corporate culture work together to impact the performance of a firm.
The sampling frame for this research was based on the list of awardees of Dubai Quality Award (DQA). There were top-performing companies from Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA). Questionnaires were then distributed among operations managers, functional managers, and general managers of the selected firms. The follow-up was in the form of private e-mail addresses as well as telephone calls. The collected data were then analyzed in two weeks after questionnaires had been administered. Additional data was collected by reviewing the literature on empirical research conducted among manufacturing firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These would help to provide information on how corporate culture affects performance of manufacturing firms in the UAE cosmopolitan areas.
In total, there were 36 responses with a low response rate of 29%. Among these respondents, there were 25% (9) operations managers, 19.4% (7) general managers, and 55.55% (20) functional managers. Taking into consideration gender, 77.78% (28) of respondents were males while 22.22% (8) were females.
Discussion and Conclusion
Based on the responses, three factors clearly defined the dimensions of TQM. These included continued improvement on customer focus, the commitment of the management to quality the output, on-the-job training and workforce empowerment, and finally benchmarking. There were more factors but these three scored highly on Cronbach index of coefficients: 0.9875, 0.9326 and 0.7642 respectively. This showed that the three factors are very influential as far as the implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) is concerned.
Empirical research results produced by Talib & Rahman (2015) have shown that the abovementioned three factors have significant correlation with the first factor. Namely, it means that continued improvement on customer focus helps to ensure customer satisfaction, which in turn results in high sales, share capital in the business, and general acceptance of the business within the community of DAFZA. Similarly, management’s commitment to quality and employee empowerment as well as on-the-job training is bound to improve when the aforementioned developments occur. Considering the latter observation, it is clear that continued improvement on customer focus is central to the implementation of TQM among firms operating within DAFZA and the entire UAE because through this dimension firms are not only able to increase sales quantity and maximize their profitability but are also guaranteed a longer stay in the free zones where they get the advantage of not being levied on income and corporate tax. It goes without saying that the management is deeply committed to quality. This helps the firms to provide quality output to their highly esteemed customers, lengthen they stay in free zones, and do business transactions. Others such as on-the-job training and benchmarking come second and are strategic too as they help in improving the performance of the firms.
Moreover, the current research has established the relationship between the implementation of TQM practices of the firms and their organizational culture with the help of empirical researchers that used Pearson correlation. Apparently, all the three TQM constructs show significant strong correlations with both outward and inward cultural dimensions. This rebuts the argument that TQM practices would exhibit a positive correlation with one dimension of corporate culture, say inward dimension, and a negative or relatively weak correlation with another cultural dimension. This may be understood from the fact that most employees working for firms at DAFZA are from the UAE, and it is the duty of the management of this free zone to ensure that there is a stimulating cultural environment. Thus, the two cultural dimensions are not fundamentally opposed to one another. What would affect an inward dimension is likely to affect the firm in general.
The research results have also shown that a continued improvement on customer focus has the strongest correlation with both cultural dimensions. An open, innovative, and trustworthy culture resonates well with what employees and the entire UAE community would like to see in a firm. This has proved that it is the best way to achieve greater feats for any firm within the DAFZA area. This result is similar to that reported by Talib & Rahman 2015 in which the two researchers contend that supportive culture is more beneficial when it implements TQM practices.
The main aim of this research was to illustrate how TQM practices and corporate culture impact performance. Since customer focus showed a stronger correlation with each of the TQM practices, the key aim was to establish this combined effect as it is likely to affect various performance measures. Performance measures are often based on a firm’s ability to compete favorably in the market. This competitiveness is a cultural dimension. Therefore, competitiveness measures the performance of a firm and also relates to the firm’s ability to pay attention to what corporate culture dictates. Competitiveness is also measured by how effectively a business model is implemented. This means that both factors – culture and business model – determine how a business performs. Apparently, all firms that are able to major in this combined effect are recognized as top-performers by various bodies as the firms within DAFZA. A culture of openness, for instance, reduces the number of complaints received from customers. This is further reinforced through the TQM dimension focusing on continued improvement on customer focus. When complaints are reduced, sales rates are likely to go up, and this means more profit for the firm. It is this profitability that encompasses the elements used for measuring performance.
In conclusion, it is clear that TQM practices are very effective as they are all-encompassing. It is also clear that culture must be taken into consideration when establishing any business within DAFZA. The two factors do not work in isolation, just like the TQM model recognizes the contribution of each independent part to the final result. Benefits from TQM practices can only be appreciated when organizational culture implies their implementation. When this takes place, a firm is destined to perform in any of the free zones in the United Arab Emirates.
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A big part of the research has been dedicated to the performance of firms in the United Arab Emirates. Various business models have been investigated for their effectiveness in manufacturing firms. However, there are still gaps within this area since little is done for the research on service firms, what models they use, and what challenges they face. This area should be researched since Dubai and the UAE cities in general are known for cutting-edge services worldwide. However, the reason for the research arises not only from high-tech facilities and skyscrapers. There is more to it than empirical research may reveal.
Similarly, in the process of doing this research, my attention was drawn to imbalanced job allocation in managerial positions as far as employment and gender are concerned. What could be the main causes of this and what strategies can be used or have already been used to correct the situation? With less than 30% of female managers in some of the most coveted positions in the UAE, it is impossible to say that standards of living have been equally improved. This may be a far-fetched idea and research can aid to correct the situation. Therefore, additional research should to be conducted to establish factors hindering women from reaching managerial positions in the UAE.