The successful management of change is crucial to firm survival and success. Many firms have responded to the challenges they face by incorporating quality-based strategies to their change management approach. A commitment to quality can drive firms to make significant improvements in profitability, productivity and competitiveness. A recent paper of mine, co-authored with Prof. Stephen Roper, Warwick Business School, examines the impact of introducing quality improvement methods (QIMs) on firm innovation in Irish manufacturing plants. Prior studies have been based on cross-sectional analysis making causality difficult to identify, and providing little information on the nature of the learning effects and lags involved in QIM adoption and its potential benefits for innovation. We ask whether, and over what period, the adoption of QIMs (e.g. ISO9000; Total Quality Management; and Quality Circles) impact on plants’ innovation success. Our empirical analysis reveals short-term disruptive and longer-term beneficial effects of QIMs on product innovation performance. In addition, the organic versus mechanistic nature of QIMs has some bearing on this temporal relationship. Empirical findings also highlight the role of complementarities and learning-by-using effects in shaping the quality–innovation relationship. The adoption of QIMs has significant implications for plants’ product innovation outputs, albeit with some time lags as internal routines are optimised. Quality improvement strategies and implementation plans need therefore to consider their innovation implications and any consequent impact on firm performance.
Full paper can be accessed here.