An Empirical Taxonomy for Quality Management Systems: A Study of the Hong Kong Electronics Industry

Andy C. L. Yeung, L. Y. Chan, T. S. Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the existence of different patterns of quality management systems (QMS) and the relationship between such patterns and organizational performance by conducting a quantitative and qualitative study of 225 international and local firms in the electronics industry in Hong Kong. A cluster analysis of the survey data results in the identification of four patterns of QMS, which are labeled as undeveloped, frame, accommodating and strategic, respectively, according to the characteristics that each pattern displays. These four types of QMS were found to be associated with various organizational performance measures according to the stage of their development. The study suggests that organizations can improve their time-based operational performance by establishing a frame quality system. However, the overall performance of an electronics company can be enhanced only by the establishment of a strategic quality system (SQS), which requires the involvement of top management. Our investigation further suggests that the development of a QMS is influenced by top management's view on quality management. If quality management is viewed as an assurance system or a defensive strategy for answering customer requirements, a more advanced system will not be developed. The taxonomy developed here also enables researchers to understand the differences of major functions of quality systems at various stages of their development, the obstacles that management faces in the transformation process, and the corresponding strategies to be adopted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Cluster analysis
  • Empirical taxonomy
  • Organizational performance
  • Quality management systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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