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A Knowledge Management Based Approach to Quality Management for Large Manufacturing Organizations Open Access

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The purpose of this dissertation lies in integrating knowledge management (KM) and quality management (QM), and in demonstrating the operational effectiveness of a KM/QM strategy through quantitative empirical research. The research framework proposed herein is based on the KM/QM strategy, reflecting the improvements implemented at the research site. Four manufacturing companies that operate under similar conditions were evaluated. The research consists of a three year pretest period, before the KM/QM strategy was implemented, and a six year posttest period with an implemented KM/QM strategy. Statistical analysis was used to determine the operational effectiveness of the KM/QM strategy. The quantitative empirical study in this dissertation supports the claim of four main research hypotheses that a company using a KM/QM strategy has a significantly higher product quality than companies without one, that a KM/QM strategy contributes significantly and positively to product quality, significantly reduces the number of quality related improvement activities, and cost of quality over KM/QM strategy application time. The approach applied in analyzing the KM/QM strategy as a holistic system includes the obtainable factors that influenced the results of this study, confounding effects, as well as the dynamic interaction of factors. Determining the actual strength of the individual factors, and the strength of factor interactions, is not part of this research, which is a recommended opportunity for future studies.

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