Total productive maintenance: A contextual view

Kathleen E. McKone, Roger G Schroeder, Kristy O. Cua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


While Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) has been promoted for its simplicity and its benefits to the maintenance delivery system, both the academic and practitioner literature has failed to identify the contextual issues that influence TPM adoption. This paper explores the contextual differences of plants to better understand what types of companies have adopted TPM programs. We propose a theoretical framework for understanding the use of TPM and how it depends on managerial factors such as Just-in-Time (JIT), Total Quality Management (TQM) and Employee Involvement (El) as well as environmental and organizational factors such as country, industry and company characteristics. We test this framework using data from 97 plants in three different countries to determine what types of companies are most likely to aggressively pursue TPM practices. We find that specific contextual variables explain a significant portion of the variance in the level of TPM implementation. Our results indicate that while environmental contextual factors, such as country, help to explain differences in TPM implementation, managerial contextual factors, which are under the direction of plant management, are more important to the execution of TPM programs. We discuss environmental, organizational and managerial issues that should be considered when developing or improving maintenance systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-144
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Empirical research
  • Maintenance


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