Characterising the Quality Journey of Total Quality Management in Relation to the Financial Performance of SMEs Under Crisis Conditions: the Case for Greece
During the last few years Greece is coping with severe economic and financial crisis conditions. Since the Greek SME are the largest productive and economic sector in the Greek economy, they bear the brunt of consequences for these adverse conditions. This thesis investigates the role of the total quality elements in improving or otherwise the financial performance of those SME. Ratio analysis is used as a mean of measuring the SME financial performance and specifically the level of their liquidity, profitability, efficiency and solvency. Furthermore the thesis tries to identify the role that each quality element and quality as a whole, have on different size SME and their financial performance. A data-triangulation methodology was developed to examine the influence of the above factors (use of a questionnaire and a set of semi-structured interviews) and the results and the conclusions derived have shown that:- - All the Greek SME have the intention to continue their quality journey to TQM. - Small SME give more emphasis in implementing the TQM elements, followed by the micro and the medium size SME respectively. However each group of SME prioritises differently the various quality elements. - The ratio analysis revealed that the group with the mostly improved financial performance was the micro SME followed by the small and the medium SME. - The worst financial performance of all the SME occurred between 2008 and 2010. - Amongst the SME that have managed to continue to operate, the ones characterised as TQM SME have shown an improved financial performance. Measuring the SME financial performance, efficiency and solvency were revealed as the most significant variables. The smaller in size the SME were, they pay a greater attention to efficiency while the larger SME pay more attention to solvency. - Utilising the Z-score rate as a criterion, the largest number of transitions among different levels of financial sustainability was revealed from the micro SME. Lower variability was identified from the TQM SME group in comparison with the other two groups of SME (ISO+ and ISO) that have also shown a very similar behaviour. In conclusion SME’s that have followed the ISO to TQM journey during the harsh financial conditions they were facing, they have managed to harbour themselves better in conditions of financial crisis.
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