Customization of quality practices: The impact of quality culture

Sarah Jinhui Wu, Dongli Zhang, Roger G. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aims to investigate how firms should customize quality practices to obtain or maintain quality advantage with the development of quality culture. The paper seeks to adopt March's learning framework and to differentiate quality management practices into two bundles: exploitation and exploration. Design/methodology/approach: A survey dataset, including 238 manufacturing plants located in eight countries and three industries was used to test the hypotheses. The total sample was classified into two groups depending on the maturity of quality culture, and regression analysis was conducted in each of the groups for comparison. Findings: Data analysis results show that quality exploitation practices are highly related to performance outcome when quality culture has not become a prevailing organization culture. In contrast, quality exploration practices are significantly associated with operations performance after quality culture plays a critical role in organizational culture. Research limitations/implications: The findings encourage future research on customization of quality management practices. Practical implications: The findings suggest when it is more appropriate to adopt explorative-oriented quality practices and when to adopt exploitative-oriented quality practices to make quality management programs more effective. Originality/value: This paper advances the understanding of quality management practices from the context-dependent perspective. Particularly, the study suggests the selective adoption of certain quality management practices based on the evolvement of quality culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Organizational culture
  • Quality culture
  • Quality management


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