Much of the research on quality practices and performance reflects a resource-based perspective of the firm, dealing primarily with internal issues of managerial and technological competence in developing and executing an effective TQM strategy. The neoclassical perspective on the influence of the competitive environment on quality practices and performance remains conspicuously absent in the empirical quality literature. Our study aims to address this gap by examining the contingent role of international competition on quality management and performance.
We develop and test an integrative framework of quality management, consisting of high involvement work practices, quality practices, quality performance, and firm performance. We then examine the contingent effects of international competition on the constructs and relationships of the framework. International competition was found to moderate the relationship between quality practices and customer satisfaction performance, as well as the relationship between high involvement work practices and firm performance. The moderator effects suggest interesting implications for quality theory and practice.