Is TQM a Viable Model for Leadership in University Kinesiology Departments?

Peer-reviewed Abstract

Sather, B. (2008, January). Is TQM a viable model for leadership in university kinesiology departments? [Abstract]. NAKPEHE Annual Conference Proceedings, 61. Retrieved from


Total Quality Management (TQM) was a process used in higher education beginning in the 1980s and greatly expanded in popularity in the 1990s (Marchese, 1993). The model has also been termed continuous quality improvement (CQI), total quality improvement (TQI), or total quality (TQ) but all focus on the concepts of total quality management.

The principles of TQM are applicable to higher education, particularly the principle of customer orientation (Owlia & Aspinwall, 1996). A major advantage of TQM is that it operates on the principle that employees intrinsically want to do their best (Marchese, 1993). This concept directly supports professors’ tendency toward intrinsic motivation and autonomy. Another advantage is the adaptability of TQM.

Various concepts have been applied to the application of TQM in postsecondary schools. For example, Brigham (1993) identified three cornerstones: employee involvement, the improvement of processes linked to results, and an enduring focus on the customer. Marchese (1991) characterized the TQM culture as quality-driven, customer-oriented, avid about improvement, and marked by teamwork. Marchese (1993) also outlined six specific concepts for applying a TQM model to higher education that will be discussed.

In this presentation, the concepts and history of TQM in higher education will be discussed. Are TQM principles currently used in kinesiology departments? Is TQM practical in a kinesiology department? What other progressive managerial models are realistic?

January 2008