PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore and describe how research on quality management (QM) has evolved historically. The study includes the complete digital archive of three academic journals in the field of QM. Thereby, a unique depiction of how the general outlines of the field as well as trends in research topics have evolved through the years is presented.Design/methodology/approachThe study applies cluster and probabilistic topic modeling to unstructured data from The International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, The TQM Journal and Total Quality Management & Business Excellence. In addition, trend analysis using support vector machine is performed.FindingsThe study identifies six central, perpetual themes of QM research: control, costs, reliability and failure; service quality; TQM – implementation and performance; ISO – certification, standards and systems; Innovation, practices and learning and customers – research and product design. Additionally, historical surges and shifts in research focus are recognized in the study. From these trends, a decrease in interest in TQM and control of quality, costs and processes in favor of service quality, customer satisfaction, Six Sigma, Lean and innovation can be noted during the past decade. The results validate previous findings.Originality/valueOf the identified central themes, innovation, practices and learning appears not to have been documented as a fundamental part of QM research in previous studies. Thus, this theme can be regarded as a new perspective on QM research and thereby on QM.
International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 2, 2018
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