Africa’s Total Quality Management Guide

Studies show many barriers to implement Total quality management in developing countries in Africa, (Kulemeka (2010), Kululanga and Kuotcha (2010), Dilawo and Salimi (2019)) list in their work the TQM inhibiting factors in the least developed countries being bureaucratic, government control, lack of competition, poor knowledge base, scarce capital, lack of foreign exchange and poor political environment. Moreover, the same authors noticed some efforts to apply TQM soft principles. Also, Vouzas and Psychogios (2007) classified TQM principles in two categories, soft principles and hard principles, as denoted in the table.

Table: TQM soft and hard principles. Source: Vouzas and Psychogios (2007).

TQM soft principles TQM hard principles
Employee participation Statistical process control
Continuous improvement Quality function deployment
Training ISO standards
Teamwork Pareto analysis
Top management support & commitment Fishbone and PDCA
Customer focus Histogram and process charts
Culture change Critical path analysis

Thus, TQM implementation in developing countries has been seen to fail, if implemented without taking into consideration the local aspects and the culture in the country where it is implemented, Psychogios (2010).

Dilawo and Salimi (2019) classified TQM barriers into three categories: Organisational, External stakeholders and Working environment.

Table: Barriers to TQM implementation in the least developed countries.

Organisational TQM barriers
Top management commitment Measurement
Leadership Resources
Quality assurance Employee improvement
Strategic planning Communication
Improvement Training
Structure Individual behaviour
External stakeholders  
Suppliers Customers
Subcontractors Client representatives
Working environment  
Business environment Government system
Global occurrences Culture
Local factors Industry


  • Kulemeka P. (2010), “The Road Sector in Malawi” in “Proceeds of the 1st AFCAP practitioners conference: the roads sector in Malawi”, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, pp. 1 –24

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