Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.9, 35-40
Published Online Septe mber 201 3 in SciRes (http ://
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Teachers’ Perception towards Total Quality Management
Practices in Malaysian Higher Learning Institutions
Ahasanul Haque1, Abdullah Sarwar1*, Farzana Yasmin2
1Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences,
International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2Faculty of Business and Professional Studies, Management Science University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Email: *
Received July 2013
The service industry is a rapidly changing industry and this dynamic culture offers a challenge for the
service companies to lead or to actually survive in this competitive environment. As the education indus-
try is a part of the overall service industry, this raises the need for a solid base to be developed to reach for
high quality service in the education industry. Though, adoption of TQM in the higher educational institu-
tions is of common practice in the Western world, however, the history of TQM adoption in the Malay-
sian higher educational institutions is not very long. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to
identify the factors influencing the level of TQM practices in the Malaysian higher learning institutions
based on the teacher’s perceptions. In doing so, this study was conducted in both types of Malaysian
higher educational institutions (public and private). Total 300 questionnaires were distributed randomly,
out of which 20 6 were returned. After collecting the data, statistical tests were performed using SPSS and
Amos. This study has got satisfactory results. Results also show identical results with the previous studies.
However, this study has pointed out that there is still room for improvement that affecting the level of
TQM practices in the Malaysian educational institutions. Finally, future directions are provided at the end
of the paper.
Keywords: TQM; Higher Learning Institution; Malaysia; Quality of Life
The service industry is a rapidly changing industry and this
dynamic culture offers a challenge for the service companies to
lead or to actually survive in this competitive environment. As
the education industry is a part of the overall service industry
where students are the customers; this particular factor raises
the need for a solid base to be developed to reach for high qual -
ity service in the education industry. Hence, adaptation of Total
Quality Management (TQM) tool can provide the needed qual-
ity which wi ll enhance the success of the business.
Adoption of TQM in the higher educational institutions is of
common pra c ti ce in the Western world (e.g. UK, USA, Aus-
tralia, Europe) those adopted TQM in their higher learning in-
stitutions with an aim to improve the overall quali ty of the uni-
versity to attract more students both from home and abroad
(Idrus, 1995). This strategy paid well for the m in reaping a
generous amount of revenue from the foreign students (Rampa,
2004). Thus, it is not unusual to observe the great potential of
the education industry that has significantly contributed to the
developed and the developing countries in terms of sizable eco-
nomic advantages and benefits.
Though, there are many countries presently offering high
quality edu cation around the globe; however, Malaysia’s ac-
ceptabi li ty as an international destination for education is yet to
come. Thus, there is a need for investigating the teachers’ per-
ception on the current level of TQM practices in Malaysian
higher learning institutions to identify the present barriers
which ha ve been overlooked by the academicians till date. Con-
sequently, this study attempts to address the issue to introduce
some important indicators of TQM practices currently existed
in the Malaysia n higher learning institutions. In addition, policy
makers need to find the requirements for sustainable quality
education in Malaysia.
Literature Revi ew
The history of TQM is dated back in 1950’s when Japanese
manufacturing industry introduced the concept (Hashmi, 2007).
When the Ja pane se realized that there is a need to introduce some
special technique through whic h the overall operational process
might improve, they gave birth to the concept of TQM (Deming,
1986). According to Brocka and Brocka (1992), TQM is a con-
tinuous management process where a whole lot of deliberation
is needed in improving the performance of every level of oper -
ation by proper management of the both resources; human as
well as capital. Töremen, Karakus and Yasan (2009) stated that,
organizations are the places which have a defined set of aims
and objectives to be achieved. As such, they cannot be thought
of as separate from the outside world. To remain competitive,
there is always a ne e d to monitor every change that took place
inside the organization. This helps is achieving better output for
the overall organization. Hence, TQM has become the most
vital tool that ensures the organization ’s goals a re achieved and
performances are improved (Günbayı & Cevik, 2004).
Furthermore, many studies in the literature developed a nd
validated TQM critical factors or practices in both manufactur-
*Corresponding a uthor.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
ing and service sectors. According to Waldman (1993), these
are calle d “elements”, whereas Dean and Hel ms (1996) describ-
ed them as “practices”, Hellsten and Kelfsjo (2000) named them
as “techniques”, Reed, Lemak and Montgomery (1996) identi-
fied them as “processes” and Sitkin, Sutcliffe and Schroeder
(1994) mentioned them as “principles”.
Total Quality Management in Education Industry
As a modern manageme nt approach, TQM can be used suc-
cessfully in education sec t or that are mainly focused on increas-
ing the customer satisfaction (Munoz, 1999). Recent researches
on TQM have brought a wi dely updated plan for educational
reforms and modernization of educational organizations (Mutlu,
2001). The TQM principles have broad applications in educa-
tional organizations and have produced desirable outcomes
(Munoz, 1999). With these applications, educational institu-
tion’s improvement has become a continual process (Sallis,
2002). There is a considerable proximity between the principles
of T QM and the principles of effective schools (Balcı, 2002).
The practi ce of TQM at schools has provided with a perspective
to look at the handicaps facing effective schools and with a tool
to remove the obstacles in the way of effective schools ( Ha me -
doglu, 2002; Sallis, 2002). In this aspect, the principles of TQM
are appropriate for educational settings.
“Rapid economic growth, global competition, downsizing,
privatization, corporate mergers and the liberalization of global
education have caused a surge in demand for TQM implemen-
tation in Malaysian higher learning institutions” (Tay, 2001: p.
258). It has become the most prestigious quali ty indicator for
measuring the overall quality of an educational institution (Thi-
agarajan, 1996). As quality is a fundamental issue in education,
the Ma laysian government has al so emphasized in improving
the overall education quality for both public and private univer-
sities with an aim to attract more foreign students (MOE, 2012).
Moreover, the Malaysian government also encourages both pri-
vate and public universities to acquire quality certification (ISO
9000, 9002) and TQM adoption with the purpose of meeting
international standards (Tenth Malaysia Plan, 2010). However,
the current practices of TQM among the various higher learning
institutions in Malaysia are not much satisfactory (Ariffin
Ahmed & Zain, 2000). Hence, there is a need to upgrade the
TQM practices in Malaysia.
Attitude towards Implementation
The absence of standards and attitudes in the implementation
process creates differences in the way employees work, result-
ing in educational institutions maintainability problems (Newby,
1999). Poor documentation of t he development process, in turn,
makes educational institutions difficult to maintain and to im-
prove (Bostan, 2005). In the education industry, the end product
is the students as well as the empl oyeessatisfaction (Mutlu,
2001). Past studies (Bonnie, 2011; Hashmi, 2007; Oakland &
Oakland, 2001; Zhang, 2000) have found that difficulty in im-
plementing TQM are the attitude, leadership commit me nt , lac k
of understanding and lack of resources. Basi ng on the above
literature review, the following hypothes is is drawn:
H1: There is a significant relationship between Attitude to-
wards Implementation and Teachers’ Perception towards T QM
Leadership Commitment
Strong leadership and their commitment towards the best
practices are of vital importance for any organizations. Thus,
there is a need to practi ce the TQM process in e ve ry le vel of the
organizational functionality (Sisman & Turan, 2002). As a hu-
man focused approach, TQM can make important contributions
to the increase of quality of education and the improvement of
educational organizations (Hyd e, 1992). As, both the inputs a nd
outputs of the educational organizations are human beings, and
human beings are the main act ors at all levels and in all pro-
cesses of t hese organizations, without t he satisfaction of human
beings (both as customers and providers), it is very hard to en-
sure the effectiveness of educational organizations (Hashmi,
2007). Therefore, quality issue at this basic level should matte r,
if management wants to attain a high quality education system
(Lezotte, 1992). Therefore, top management should be c om mit -
ted towards their employees with an aim to improve the overall
performance (Sisman & Turan, 2002). Basing on the above li-
terature review, the following hypothesis is drawn:
H2: There is a significant relationship between leadership
commitment and teachers’ perception towards TQM practices
through attitude towards implementation.
Employee Participation
According to Stevens (1993), empl oyees are the vital par t of
the organization. They are the people who actually execute the
tasks. Thus, they should be involved in the decision making
process as they some ti me s know better thing then the top man -
agement (Chapman & Al-Khawaldeh, 2002). As such, this will
help the top management in avoiding the misunderstandings
among the employ ees. Beside s, th e mi sunder standi ng and c hange
in design problems, there is an additional serious one which is
the customers’ increased expectations (Lam, 1996). This makes
it really hard to meet the deadline and have a product with a
quality high enough to impress the client (Boselie & Wiele,
2002). Hence, there is a need to understand the employees
requirements with an aim to increase productivity (Guimaraes,
1997). Accordi ng to Dahlgaard and Dahlgaard (2006: p. 271),
“in an organization’s management , primarily senior manage-
ment decided how the business should operate, including what
the pol i c ies and objectives to be; how it should be organized;
what jobs to be established; and how they should be done. In
early days, it was an unquestioned axiom that if everyone did
what the upper management required, the business would be
successful”. Basing on the above literature review, the follow-
ing hypothes is is drawn:
H3: There is a significant relationship be tw een empl oy ee
participation and teachers’ perception towards TQM practices
through attitude towards implementation.
Change Management
Both teachers (Yigit & Bayrakdar, 2003) and managers (Yıl-
dız, 2006) are aware of their lack of knowledge and skills and
the need for a change to implement TQM effectively. There are
some psychological, educational, managerial, economica l , cul-
tural and systematic problems in the way of succe ssful TQM
applications (Hamedoglu, 2002). But the educational institu-
tions have the necessary potenti al and determination to solve
these problems (Aydın & Sentür k, 2007). Determining the
problems and the obstacles in the way of successful TQM im-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
plementations, and to take necessary measures to remove these
obstacles are important factors for the effectiveness of educa-
tional institutions and in general for the whole education system.
For this, it is necessary to continually check the quality process
and control the success of practice s. Basing on the above litera-
ture review, the following hypothesis is drawn:
H4: There is a significant relationship between change man-
agement and teach ers’ perception towards TQM practices throu gh
attitude towards implementation.
This study was conducted on a random sampling of 300 fa-
culty members working at various private as well as public
higher learning institutions in Malay sia. The survey wa s con-
ducted from December 2012 till March 2013. Data has been
gathered from total four (04) public universities and nine (09)
private universities. Total 300 questionnaires we re distributed
out of which 206 wer e returned which were valid and usable for
further analysi s. T he rate of return was quite impressive
(83.67%). This is understandable that their profession had pl ay -
ed a significant role as they understand the requirement for the
research project.
The relia bi li ty of measures in this study was analyze d ba s ing
on the guidelines provided by Pallant (2005) and Sekaran and
Bougie (2010) where only factors with Cronbach’s alph a of 0.6
were considered as reliable. In this study, the Cronbach’s alpha
is 0.839 whi c h is considered very reliable. Moreover, this study
only addressed the content and construct validity as both were
deemed to be sufficient in analyzing the validity of its mea-
surements (Pallant, 2005). The content validity in this study
was assessed by thoroughly reviewing the available literature
on TQM. On the other hand, for construct validi ty was achieved
through factor analysis. For this study, the KMO value is .723
(Table 1) which is acceptable with the significance at .000
(Hair et al., 2010).
Results and Discu ssion
EFA (Exploratory Factor Analysis) was conducted to identify
the adequate dimensions or factors that appropriately explain
each of the variables identified for this study. Varimax rotation
was used in conducting the factor analyses of the variables. In
this study, .50 was considered acce pt a bl e threshold (cut off) for
exploratory study (Hair et al., 2010; Sarwar, Haque, & Yasmin,
2013; Sarwar, Haque, & Ismail, 2012). Total five factors were
extracted which were then renamed as attitude towards imple-
mentation, leadership commit me nt , employee participation, em-
ployee empowermen t an d tea ch ers’ perception towards TQM prac-
tices. Results from the factor analysis also show that 79.46 per -
cent of variance was explained by these five extracted vari-
Finally, for testing the hypothesis, SEM was employed.
However, before running the final model for this study, CFA
(Confirmatory Factor Analysis) was employed to assess the
unidimensionality among variables. This also confirmed the va-
lidity and reliability of the measurement items (Haque, Sarwar,
Yasmin, Anwar, & Nuruzzaman, 2012). Goodness of Fit (GOF)
was assessed whic h were suggested by Hair et al. (2010).
However, in the first model run, the GOF indices were not
achieved. Hence, MI indices were used to find out the multi-
collinearity problems. The model was then re-specified a s shown
in Figure 1.
The modified model (Figure 1) with the GOF indices was
Table 1.
KMO and bartletts test.
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy. .723
Bartletts Test of Sphericity
Approx. Chi-Square 519.553
df 136
Sig. .000
Attitude towards
TQM Practices in
Malaysian HLI
df = 270
P = .336
Normed ChiSq = 1.034
GFI = .996
AGFI = .906
CFI = .996
RMSEA = .012
Figure 1.
Structural model.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 4.
Regression weights: (default model).
Hypothesis Standardized Regression Weights Estimate S.E. C.R. P
H1 Teachers Perception towards TQM Practices <--- Attitude towa rds Implementation .096 .051 1.882 .001
H2 Attitude towards Implementation <--- Leadership Commitment .019 .077 .247 .000
H3 Attitude towards Implementation <--- Employee Participation .036 .080 .453 .000
H4 Attitude towards Implementation <--- Employee Empowerment .086 .068 1.265 .019
deemed to be the fina l model for this study. This model con-
firmed that leadership commitment (with path coefficient of
0.32), employee participation (with path coefficient of 0.23)
and e mpl oy ee empowerment (with path coefficient of 0.29)
have significant direct relationship with teachers’ perception
towards TQM practices through attitude towards implementa-
tion. Furthermore, it also indicates that there is also a signifi-
cant relationship between the attitude towards implementation
and TQM practices in Malaysian higher learning institutions
(with path coefficient of 0.25).
For hypothesis 1, the regression weight for Attitude towards
Implementation in the prediction of Teachers’ Perception to-
wards T QM Practices is significantly different from zero at the
0.05 leve l (two-taile d) . Hence, the H1 is accepted. Therefore, in
order to increase the work efficiency, management should cla-
rify the university principles in such a way that all the em-
ployees do not feel much pressure whic h in turn will increase
the work e ffi c iency and will ease the TQM practices among the
For hypothes is 2, t he regression weight for Leadership
Commitment in the prediction of Attitude towards Implementa-
tion is significantly different from zero at the 0.05 level (two-
tailed). Hence, the H2 is also accepted. This indicates that set-
ting definite standards and having strong management among
the work processes will ease the level of TQM practices among
the employees.
For hypothesis 3, the regression weight for Employee Par-
ticipation in the prediction of Attitude towards Implementation
is significantly different from zero at the 0.05 level (two-tailed).
Thus, H3 is accepted. Thus, it proves t ha t e mpl oyee’s participa-
tion in the decision making process is very important for that
influence on the level of TQM practices in Malaysian educa-
tional institutions.
Finally, for hypothesis 4, the regression weight for Employee
Empowerment in the prediction of Attitude towards Impl e me n -
tation is significantly different from zero at the 0.05 level (two-
tailed). Thus, H4 is also accepted. This indicates that increasing
the practice of empowerment among the facul ty members will
increase the level of TQM practices. Therefore, faculty mem-
bers should be empowered to participate in quality improve-
ment process which will ensure effective and constant commu-
nication to motivate faculty members.
Conclusion and Recommendation
There are many factors that influence level of TQM practices
in Malaysian educational institutions. However, thi s study only
discussed based on the teacher’s perception the level of TQM
practices in Malaysian educational institutions. In doing so, this
study was conducted in both types of Malay sian educational
institutions (public and private). The main purpose of this study
was to identify the factors influencing the level of TQM prac-
tices in the Malaysian higher learning institutions based on the
teacher’s perceptions. Results show identical results with the
previous studies.
However, this study has pointed out that there is still room
for improvement that affects the level of TQM practices in the
Malaysian educational institutions. Therefore, ther e is a need to
clarify the TQM policies tha t can significantly improve the
TQM practices among the empl oyees. Furthermore, determi n-
ing the problems and the obstacles in the way of successful
TQM implementations and to take necessary measures to re-
move these obstacles are important factors for t he effectiveness
of educational institutions and in general for the whole educa-
tion system. For this, it is necessary to continually check the
quality process and control the success of practices which in-
volves change management.
This study significantly contributed to the theoretical en-
hancement of the current level of knowledge that studied the
unique factors in the education industry that increase the appli-
cabili ty of TQM. Moreover, pr act ica l ly , the study findings will
help both the acade mi c ia ns and the managements involved in
the education industry to get more knowledge in increasing the
overall university performances. Hence, in this arena of the
globalization of education, Malaysia is still in dire need to de-
velop a competitive edge in international education before it
can emerge as a key player in the education business.
This st ud y opens an area for further investigation on the
TQM implementation into the Malaysian higher learning insti-
tutions. Hence, future studies should al so conduct from the stu -
dents’ point of view as students are the customers in this ser-
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