An investigation into quality practices within irish service smes
O Rourke, Vicky
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The objective of this research was to determine the extent to which quality practices and procedures were integrated within Irish Service SMEs, with a view to proposing a quality model which reflects the unique set of pressures faced by SMEs. A series of depth interviews among owner/managers who had embarked on a quality management accreditation process were undertaken. Their purpose was to explore issues surrounding quality management in SMEs. Subsequently a second phase of primary research was undertaken with a representative sample of Irish service SMEs. Its purpose was to determine how quality practices and procedures were implemented within service SMEs with particular focus on their impact on the reduction of service quality gaps. Owner/managers intermittently involve themselves with a selection of quality practices; many are not conducted on a frequent basis, including the identification of customer requirements. Analysis indicates that previous implementation of a quality model is positively related to the frequency with which many quality practices are conducted, including the activity of setting employee performance targets. In addition, previous implementation of a quality model positively affected attitudes toward quality models. However, implementation levels remain low. This research proposes a conceptual quality model for service SMEs which aims to address issues raised throughout the study. This model is subject to further testing and refinement.
- Theses - Business LYIT 
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