Over the last few years Total Quality Management (TQM) programs have hem widely adapted by Korean manufacturing firms to improve their productivity, competitive edge and product quality levels. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the level of importance placed on four key TQM factors (customer satisfaction, strong management leadership, continuous improvement, imployee involvement and participation) used during the implementation of korean manufacturing TQM programs and to assess the effectiveness of those key factors in improving the performance of the firms. A Questionaire was developed and sent to senior managers in manufacturing organizations throughout korea. This survey asked qustions regarding 1) the firm's business environment and TQM program development 2) subcomponents of the key factors and 3) the effectiveness of the TQM program at improving the performance of the organization. The survey data were analyzed to determine the degree of correlation between each of the factors and the effectiveness of the TQM programs. This study demonstrated that the TQM programs were instrumental at improving the performance of the firms studied, and that the improvement was positively correlated with the length of time that the program had been implemented and the planned duration of the TQM program implementation. It was found that the person-oriented elements of management leadership and employee involvement were positively correlated and predictive of the success of the TQM Program, while the process-oriented components of customer satisfaction and employee involvement were not useful predictors of the effectiveness of the TQM program implementation.
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