Barriers for Quality Management Implementation in Higher Education

Barriers for Quality Management Implementation in Higher Education

Mufaro Dzingirai
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9829-9.ch007
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To survive in a highly-competitive higher education sector, institutions of higher learning are focusing on quality management principles. Therefore, a strong need emerges for a deeper understanding of quality management. Despite a substantial, growing interest from scholars, policymakers, and educationalists in quality management as a common phenomenon in higher education, many obstacles remain in the implementation process. This chapter captures the worldwide quality issues and a controversy related to implementation of quality management in higher education, identifies the barriers for successful implementation of quality management in higher education, reviews the key barriers that deter the efforts to effectively execute quality management in higher education so that quality management strategies can be formulated by the top management and policymakers accordingly, and presents directions for future research.
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In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards the adoption of quality management principles in the higher education context around the world. This emerged trend has heightened the need for a deeper understanding of the barriers to implementing quality management in higher education. With the dynamic and competitive nature of the higher education sector, institutions of higher learning need to continuously enhance the quality of their educational services so as to remain relevant and competitive (Prakash, 2018; Teeroovengadum, Kamalanabhan, & Seebaluck, 2016). It is worth mentioning that increased stiff competition, knowledge-based society and economy, cost-efficiency, globalization, rapid expansion of higher education, and accountability forced the institutions of higher learning to progressively swift their focus on quality systems so as to achieve a competitive edge (Al Mahdhoori & Ghani, 2015; Dumond & Johnson, 2013; Kosloski, 2006; Prakash, 2018; Rodman, Biloslavo, & Bratož, 2013; Tavares, Sin, & Amaral, 2015). These factors pressurized the higher education institutions to import quality management models that are deeply rooted in the manufacturing systems. In this respect, the majority of these institutions are focusing on quality management as a strategic priority. In order to satisfy their external and internal stakeholders, the institutions of higher learning must develop and implement their quality management systems in harmony with their institutional vision, mission, goals and objectives, and values (Rosa & Amaral, 2014; Santos, 2011). In spite of some controversial issues related to the conceptualization of quality management in higher education, its fitness in the face of global competition epoch is well accepted (Sahney, 2016). Accordingly, driven by the struggle to survive, it is of vital importance that higher education institutions must continuously question their quality systems and practices to ensure that all internal and external stakeholders are satisfied.

There is no doubt about the significance of high-quality higher education when it comes to social and economic development. It is well accepted that the success of a country is directly influenced by the quality of its higher education system (Pavel, 2012). In this regard, it is salient to observe that higher education must address the social and economic needs of a country. Consequently, institutions of higher learning must enhance teaching and learning excellence so as to effectively and efficiently address the needs of society in general. It is common knowledge that societies expect institutions of higher education to play a leading role in accelerating economic development by producing knowledge workers and by developing new knowledge. Admittedly, investment in higher education is considered as an important issue when it comes to poverty alleviation, social justice, and social transformation. More interestingly, higher education is considered as a beacon of progress in a knowledge-based society. This demands the institutions of higher learning to provide high-quality education and to improve their processes continuously (Ardi, Hidayatno, & Zagloel, 2012; Clemes, Cohen, & Wang, 2013; Mehta, Verma, & Seth, 2014; Selesho, 2014; Tasopoulou & Tsiotras, 2017; Venkatraman, 2007). Nonetheless, scholars and educators have underscored their concerns about the quality of higher education given an emerged trend of mass education (Pham & Starkey, 2016). With this in mind, it is salient to observe that quality management appears to be a powerful technique for addressing quality issues emanating from all higher education stakeholders.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Quality Management: Act of managing all the processes and procedures necessary to attain an expected level of excellence. Quality planning, quality improvement, quality control, and quality assurance are the main four components of quality management.

Quality Improvement: Systematic, dynamic and continuing process to assess and improve the quality activities of an organization.

Higher Education: Encompasses all the education levels beyond the secondary level that is provided by universities or colleges.

Quality Management System: The formalized system that encompasses documentation of processes, procedures, structures, and responsibilities for accomplishing the stipulated quality policies and objectives.

Implementation: The process of putting a quality management system into effect.

Barriers: The strategic, structural, procedural, human resource, and contextual factors that hinder the effective implementation of systems of quality management in organizations.

Quality Culture: An established culture that aimed at quality enhancement in an organization.

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