Grounded Theory

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IJQRM 18,2

Received March 2000 Revised September 2000

Grounded theory methodology and practitioner reflexivity in TQM research
Denis Leonard
University of Wisconsin, USA, and

Rodney McAdam
University of Ulster, UK
Keywords TQM, Management theory, Methodology Abstract There is a paucity of research which seeks to develop TQM theories based on a deep and rich understanding of both socio-political and technical issues. Resultant theories from such an inductive approach could potentially give a deeper insight into TQM, based on sound theoretical evidence. Studies of this kind should not be confused with descriptive case study analysis and examples of applications. While these helpful approaches contribute to the overall TQM discourse, they do not of themselves develop underpinning theory. This paper describes a grounded theory research methodology for TQM, rather than the actual theory and results. The methodology was applied to 19 organisations and to a longitudinal case study. The methodology makes a contribution from two aspects. First, a comprehensive grounded theory approach for developing TQM theory based in practice was developed and applied. Second, the methodology enabled the practitioners involved in the study to be critically reflective and reflexive in their thoughts and influence throughout the study. This reflexivity resulted in the case study organisation evaluating and implementing TQM-based change throughout the study.

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 18 No. 2, 2001, pp. 180-194. # MCB University Press, 0265-671X

Introduction The body of knowledge known collectively as total quality management (TQM) continues to grow exponentially both in academia and in practice (Hendricks and Singhal, 1999;...