QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN HEIS: A LITERATURE REVIEW
Quality management (QM) has been analysed broadly in literature. In the context of higher education institutions (HEIs), external pressures and the European Higher Education Area suggest that a quality culture is important to HEIs and it is a critical issue that managers must take into account. However, although research has been conducted on this topic, there is still not enough research on QM in HEIs. The management literature examines QM in HEIs to a lesser extent than in business or other public sectors (e.g. health), and most of the papers that examine these issues are conceptual papers or case studies.
The aim of this paper is to review the literature about QM and QM in HEIs in order to identify QM dimensions in HEIs. A computer search of the ABI Inform, Emerald and Science Direct databases was conducted for works that related the expressions quality management, TQM, ISO 9000, or ISO 9001 to performance (and results and profitability) in the title of the paper regarding QM search, and TQM, quality management, quality assurance, ISO 9000, EFQM model, or excellence model combined with higher education in the abstract of the paper regarding QM in HEIs search. The research focuses on articles published in journals, and therefore does not use sources such as books or papers presented at conferences.
The results show that QM has been developed from three areas and that QM practices have been operationalised in measurement studies and QM-performance studies. From this review, 26 studies which measured QM as a multidimensional construct were considered to identify the dimensions which are shared within a QM system: people management; information and analysis; customer focus; leadership; process management; supplier management; planning; and product design.
In the field of QM in HEIs, several theoretical and empirical studies also identify the QM practices in HEIs. It can be inferred from this review that the QM dimensions cited most commonly in the literature on QM in HEIs are people management (e.g. involvement, training, recognition of staff, professional development), information and analysis (measurement, data from student learning, daily operations, complaints, academic results), process management (e.g. design of the learning process, mapping processes), stakeholder focus (aspects related to students, staff, society and other stakeholders relationships), planning (definition, communication and review of objectives and plans), leadership (top management commitment), continuous improvement, programme design (involvement of all affected departments in design reviews, clarity of specifications and emphasis on quality); and supplier management (relational practices associated with suppliers).
Accordingly, considering the literature review on QM and QM in HEIs, the QM dimensions in HEIs are people management, information and analysis, process management, stakeholder focus, planning, leadership, programme design and supplier management. Similarly, it would be interesting to measure performance using variables related to student learning outcomes and other stakeholder outcomes, organisational effectiveness, financial results, and social outcomes (e.g. governance and social responsibility).
Finally, these dimensions may be used by managers to develop and measure a quality culture in HEIs and also for researchers to measure QM in HEIs in future studies, as well as to analyse the effects of QM on performance.