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April 2001
Volume 8 • Number 2


Quality Management Training in Small to Midsized Manufacturing Firms

by Chuck Ryan, The University Of Southern Mississippi, Richard H. Deane, Georgia State University, Ned P. Ellington, Georgia Institute of Technology

There is a substantial body of work in the literature linking quality management training to firm performance. Many of the conclusions and prescriptions are based on anecdotal evidence. In this paper, the results of an empirical study investigating the relationship between training efforts and firm performance in small- to medium-sized manufacturing firms are reported. The findings suggest that quality management training has a significant impact on performance, and that family-owned firms generally conduct less training than nonfamily-owned businesses. This apparent deployment gap might help explain the relatively high failure rate of family-owned businesses.

Key words: family-owned business, performance, quality management practices

The purpose of this paper is to investigate quality management training practices in small- to medium-sized manufacturing firms. The research specifically seeks to establish whether there is a difference in the relationship between training and performance, based on ownership type (nonfamily-owned: NFOB, versus family-owned: FOB). The first section introduces the topic of family business, followed by a summary of relevant quality and training literature. The research methodology is then presented, followed by an analysis of the relevant demographics of firms included in the study. Empirical results relating quality training and performance are discussed, followed by a comparison of the impact of quality training in family-owned businesses versus nonfamily-owned firms. The conclusion section of the paper identifies limitations of the current research and directions for future research.