Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Paul Spector, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Anol Bhattacherjee, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Solomon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rebecca Smith, DBA


Action reserach, Quality climate, Quality management, SME


Quality Management (QM) in one of its many forms has become an integral part of contemporary business. Most research in this field was conducted within the context of large business. This study is one of the first to examine QM for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). This article used the action research methodology to explore how a SME located in the southeastern United States implemented a climate of quality. QM implementation in this company was executed in two separate interventions. In the first intervention, the factors of top management commitment, collaboration, data-centered decision making and process focus were implemented using tactics that resulted in an 80% decrease in defects and substantial cost savings. In the second intervention a training system was developed that resulted in a 60% reduction in defects over the measured time period. The study provides an illustrative example of how small businesses can implement a QM climate, and the potential benefits of such climate for the organization.