The goal of this exploration is to observationally test the connection between total quality management and SMEs' performance. Specifically, it looks at whether organizational culture (OC) has an interceding impact on the TQMSMEs performance relationship. Established on the literature review of TQM, OC and SMEs performance, the theoretical model for this investigation was formed. A self-controlled survey was utilized to gather information from the SMEs owners-managers in the South-western region of Nigeria. In determining the relationship, SEM-PLS 3.0 was utilized. Measurable results add to the literature by showing a positive direct impact of TQM and OC on SMEs' performance, and a critical and positive aberrant impact of TQM on SMEs' performance through OC. The quantitative cross-sectional research configuration explored an example of assembling SMEs. Subjective methods or a contextual investigation approach for additional data examination could be utilized for subsequent research. The results of this exploration give awareness into SMEs' owners-managers in the present unique manufacturing setting, concentrating on TQM as an instrument for improving their performance. The outcomes can help SMEs by giving direction with regards to the OC, on account of its impact on the effective execution of TQM, in this way improving the dimension of performance. The examination expands the TQM literature with an extensive comprehension of TQM from the point of view of SMEs in Nigeria. It fills the void in observational examinations that research the joint impact of TQM and OC on SMEs' performance.
By means of the swift development of the international economy, companies are confronting expanding pressure to accomplish and keep up functional distinction to advance their general performance and competitiveness (Gherardini et al., 2017; Kirkham et al., 2014). Internationally, organization, additionally, consistently encounter a changing in organizational culture, competitive market, with an expanded spotlight on progress in efficiency, quality, consumer loyalty, innovation in high-tech, political and fiscal unpredictability (Gadenne and Sharma, 2009; Maheshwari and Vohra, 2015). More than at any other time, organizations today can never again depend on their present business forms in an exceedingly competitive marketplace (Dubey and Gunasekaran, 2015; Ibidunni et al., 2017). They need to embrace and put into action new operation management performs, in order to continue to exits, which have been successful over the years (Zakuan et al., 2010). A standout amongst the most well-known types of contemporary operations management practice is Total Quality Management (TQM), which has gained widespread attention from both industry and academics over the last two decades Sinha (Haffar et al., 2017; Jimoh et al., 2019; Panuwatwanich and Nguyen, 2017; Salas-Arbelaez et al., 2017; Sinha and Dhall, 2018).
TQM is an integrative firm-wide management philosophy aimed at continuously improving the quality of the processes, products and services by focusing on meeting or exceeding customer expectations to enhance customer satisfaction and organizational performance (Baird et al., 2011; García-Bernal and Ramírez-Aleson, 2015 ; Sadikoglu and Olcay, 2014). Therefore, organizations had implemented TQM to improve their business success by differentiating their products and gaining a competitive position in the market (Herzallah et al., 2014; Perez and Gutierrez Gutierrez, 2013). This leads to positive results with increasingly higher profits, market share and superior performance (Kimet al., 2012; Santos-Vijande and Alvarez-Gonz alez, 2007). Recent researchers have found total quality management implementation has a momentous association with firms' performance (Al-Dhaafri et al., 2016; Kanapathy et al., 2017; Sinha and Dhall, 2018). However, others have found no or negative correlations between TQM and performance (Duarte et al., 2011; Yeung and Chan, 1998). Indeed, some studies have indicated that three-quarters of TQM implementations have problems and fail to achieve any results, causing considerable financial loss and threatening the organization's survival (Haffar et al., 2017; Valmohammadi and Roshanzamir, 2015). These mixed results lead to the question about the compatibility of the TQM-organizational performance relationship, as well as what elements can contribute to the success of this association. This view supported by (Nair, 2006, p. 951), “the nature of these indirect and interactive relations among QM practices and performance lack generalized agreement among researchers”.
The literature in the field of TQM reports that the organizational culture (OC) is recognized as one of the utmost significant requirements for the achievement or disappointment of total quality management implementation in enhancing performance (Gimenez-Espin et al., 2013; Green, 2012; Haffar et al., 2013; Zu et al., 2010). According to Al-Bourini et al. (2013); Kaluarachchi (2010), SME owners and bosses find it problematic to harmonize the exercise of OC with their total quality management undertakings, largely because of the problematic characteristics of OC. Firms have been reported to spend an average of £250 million in ineffectively developing quality cultures, more than enterprises with a successful quality culture (Srinivasan and Kurey, 2014). In this case, TQM should focus on enhancing the spirit of managerial leadership among the members of the organization rather than on the process of long-term supervision and orientation, to encourage pride in workmanship, use of work teams, drive out fear and promote participatory management (Abiola-Falemu et al., 2008; Ranjan Kumar and Sankaran, 2007). A change of OC affects the attitudes of employees and is important to the successful implementation of TQM (Gimenez-Espin et al., 2013; Mohammad Mosadegh Rad, 2006).
In fact, OC can build a suitable environment which influences both operational performance and business (Cadden et al., 2013). Numerous, even opposing, kinds of harmonious OC has developed (Baird et al., 2011; Kanapathy et al., 2017), and these differences lead to the question of the impact of OC on the link between TQM and performance. This view is supported by (Kanapathy et al., 2017), who suggested examining the mediating role of OC on the relationship between TQM and performance. In particular, there is a deep inherent need to investigate the association between TQM, culture, and performance (Ebrahimi and Sadeghi, 2013). However, there is a dearth of experimental studies examining the association between TQM and performance within the context of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly in developing countries (Imran et al., 2018; Sinha and Dhall, 2018). This research addresses this case by looking into the associations among total quality management, OC and SMEs’ performance.
The SMEs sector assumes a fundamental economic function in the advancement and the overall performance of both developed and developing countries (Buli, 2017; Eniola, 2018a). It represents a major source of job creation with minimum cost and contributes to innovation and technological growth (Eniola, 2018b; Eniola and Entebang, 2014, 2017; OECD, 2017). In fact, SMEs represent 90–99% of the world's business enterprises (Eniola and Entebang, 2014), and contribute 67% of self-employment in the labor force Patrice (Muller et al., 2017). In the case of Nigeria, according to the Eniola (2018b); Eniola and Entebang (2017), SMEs made up of 99% of all companies in Nigeria and are accountable for 87 % of the employment in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. However, they contribute only 10% to the national GDP, which is low when compared to other developing and developed economies (Eniola, 2014). This poor performance of SMEs in Nigeria, especially when compared with other countries, is a serious issue and a reason for researchers to investigate the key factors behind the situation.
More importantly, only a few previous studies have attempted to evaluate the implementation of TQM and its effects in different sectors, for instance in public hospitals (Al-Shdaifat, 2015); telecommunication (Dada and Eniola, 2018); education (Ogunnaike et al., 2014), and the construction industry (Samuel Oludare and Olugboyega, 2016), while there is very limited or no empirical study specifically focusing on the relationship with organizational performance. Hence, this investigation purposes is to add to the research in the newer context of Nigeria.
Based on the above discussion, this research tests the Nigeria SMEs sector and provides empirical evidence concerning this problem. The study objectives are to empirically examine the association between TQM and OC and their effects on SMEs' performance; and the link between TQM and the performance of SMEs (local environment) with the mediating role of OC. It uses the criteria of the MBNQA model to identify six TQM practices Prajogo and Sohal (2006) in Nigeria, as well as the instrument developed by Cameron and Quinn (2013) to evaluate OC. The remainder of this study is arranged as follows. A brief literature review of TQM and performance is presented in the following section. The logic embodied in the literature is then used to build an integrative model to clarify the relationships among TQM, OC and SMEs’ performance, according to the proposed hypotheses. Third, the research methodology and hypotheses are discussed, followed by the presentation and discussion of the results. The conclusion identifies the limitations of the study and avenues for future work.