Simultaneous consideration of contingency factors and quality management: An empirical study of Serbian companies.


V. K. SpasojeviÄ? BrkiÄ?*, M. M. Klarin, A. Dj. BrkiÄ?, V. J. Lučanin and D. D. MilanoviÄ?

The aim of the present paper is to answer whether the QM concept is universal or context-dependent, organic or mechanistic, and theoretical or practical in its essence.The study examines the impact of contingency factors on quality management in Serbian companies in order to find out the possible causes of failure, that is inadequate results of QM application and to recommend the companies how to harmonize their context with TQM principles. The starting point is that QM concept is not universally applicable, but context-dependent, so this is the reason why a model is assumed for relation between organizational contingency factors – environment, demographic variables, strategy, management style, organizational structure, technology applied, and employees’ behavior, and QM critical factors. The model was tested by the structural equation modeling method using the sample of 111 Serbian industrial companies. Context-dependent nature of QM concept has been proved by confirming basic research hypotheses, through direct impact of organizational structure and employees’ behavior, and by confirming accessory hypotheses for indirect impact of other contingency factors, such as environment, strategy, technology, and management style in the model. Quality management is directly dependant of mechanistic organizational structure (relation strength 0.657) and organic employees’ behavior (relation strength 0.520). The other contingency factors exert their influence indirectly through mediation (the largest influence has strategy 0.500, followed by demographic variables and management style 0.380, then technology 0.240, and finally environmental factors -0.280 on lower level of significance). The results indicate that large companies achieve solid results relatively easily in QM area, while small- and medium-sized companies cannot achieve solid QM practice through the pathway of demographic variables and organizational structure. Therefore, it is recommendable for SMEs to take the “alternative road” through clearly defined strategy without risk elements, which further impacts technology (so it can alleviate unfavorable environment impact) and furthermore management style and employees’ behavior. Also, it is noticeable that in more favorable environment the small-sized companies will additionally strengthen technology impact and thus achieve better QM practice. The present work also indicates that it is needed to combine mechanistic and organic principles, because high organizational structure with high formalization and specialization is a feature of mechanistic approach, while proactive behavior of employees with a strong spirit of collectivism is a typical feature of organic type.

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