Using Total Quality Management Concepts to Advance Sustainability in Higher Education: An Exploratory Study of Selected Malaysian Universities
Islam Mohamed Salim
International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM)
Mohamed Bin Sulaiman
International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) - Department of Business Administration
August 6, 2011
International Conference on Creativity and Innovation for Sustainable Development, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2011
The aim of this study is to examine selected concepts of Total Quality Management (TQM) and their applicability to the concept of sustainability in higher education institutions (HEIs). In-depth interviews were conducted with senior executives of 15 public and private universities in Malaysia. The interview questions focused on the role of TQM concepts in promoting and implementing sustainability in HEIs. Findings of the study are that top management commitment, employee empowerment and involvement, and teamwork play a significant role in promoting sustainability practices in HEIs. While benchmarking is also a vital tool for sustainability, the study internal benchmarking was the dominant aspect rather than external or generic benchmarking. Being a qualitative inquiry, the study is exploratory and only limited to the context and participants involved. Future research may explore sustainability practices through TQM in several other universities in Malaysia and abroad, and combine both qualitative and quantitative methods. Research on the application of TQM principles on sustainability is scarce. The use of in-depth study also provides a unique approach to exploring sustainability by reaching the deep thinking of senior executives of HEIs, which may not be possible through a structured questionnaire.
Keywords: Total Quality Management, Sustainability, Higher Education, Malaysia
JEL Classification: M10, M19
Date posted: August 7, 2011
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