Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD; Michael L. Hergert, PhD


administration, College of Business, descriptive case study, higher education, Leadership studies, Total Quality Management


Today, a wide range of organizations are involved in what is commonly referred to as total quality management (TQM). Implementation and associated research have primarily been focused in the business community; however, over the past decade, faced with dwindling enrollment and increased competition, the educational community has also started to embrace TQM at differing levels in a wide variety of settings across the nation, ranging from doctoral granting institutions to community colleges to elementary schools. This descriptive case study examined the implementation of a TQM process at a College of Business in a large state university on the west coast. Using the methodology of participant observation, the researcher was able to document the successful, yet difficult struggle to implement TQM in the College. This study also examined the influence patterns which occurred among team members, the level of training necessary, which TQM tools were the most effective, and what aspects of the process the participants believed were worthwhile. Results indicated that significant quality improvements were made within the College by some of the teams. As a result of the team process, many indirect gains occurred in the areas of job satisfaction, improved co-worker relationships, and office harmony. Although TQM can be successfully implemented within an educational setting, it is difficult because the most salient principles necessary to the TQM model are virtually unknown in higher education. Thus, ideally the overall zeitgeist of administration and faculty must be changed to reflect an emphasis on customer focus and process orientation. Further, the change effort must be built on the principles of empowerment and mutual trust because without these, the participants will maintain the status-quo.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access