Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to determine the main total quality management (TQM) elements adopted and the respective results achieved by higher education institutions (HEIs) in Greece. Design/methodology/approach: A research study was designed and carried out in private sector Greek HEIs. Fifteen HEIs were approached through interviews based on a structured questionnaire. The measured variables of the TQM elements and results identified in the literature were used as the questionnaire items. Descriptive statistics were applied to determine the TQM elements mostly adopted and the results achieved by the HEIs. Findings: According to the findings, the TQM elements mostly adopted by the Greek HEIs concern the following: student focus, leadership and top management commitment, strategic quality planning, process management and teaching staff and employee involvement. On the other hand, the most significant results achieved by the sample HEIs concern quality performance improvement, teaching staff and employee satisfaction, operational performance improvement and the positive impact on society. Research limitations/implications: The subjective data collection involved chief executive officers of a small sample of HEIs operating in a European Union country. Thus, no advanced statistical methods could be applied. Based on these limitations, future research studies are recommended. Practical implications: By focusing on specific TQM elements, an HEI can develop a robust TQM model, approach business excellence, which can, in turn, help the HEI apply for appropriate quality awards, and finally derive significant benefits. In doing so, an HEI can lay the foundations for being competitive in the current global context that is characterised by an economic downturn. Originality/value: This study contributes to the literature by empirically determining the TQM elements mostly adopted as well as the respective results achieved by Greek HEIs in a period of economic downturn. This is the first research study in the field of TQM in higher education that has been carried out in Greece in a period where many service organisations, whether private or public, are making significant efforts to withstand the current downturn and achieve a sustainable growth.
- Higher education institutions
- Total quality management
ASJC Scopus subject areas