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The purpose of this study is to map the implications and competencies for Industry 4.0 to the hard and soft aspects of total quality management (TQM).Design/methodology/approachThe author/s collected data from purposively drawn samples of early-career engineering professionals (ECEPs) using a cross-sectional survey. A total of 20 ECEPs from three small-class cohorts (2014, 2016 and 2018) participated in the survey. The author/s analyzed data using the Kruskal–Wallis test and Wilcoxon–Mann–Whitney test to establish the effect of cohort and gender on the implications and competencies for Industry 4.0. The author/s then mapped the top- and bottom-ranked implications and competencies onto the hard and soft aspects of TQM using a matrix.FindingsBased on the cohort, significant differences p < 0.05 existed in the interests and competencies for Industry 4.0. In congruence, the 2014 cohort had the highest number of “unique” top- and bottom-ranked competencies and implications spanning the hard and soft TQM. Based on gender, nonsignificant differences p < 0.05 existed in the interests and competencies for Industry 4.0. The male and female ECEPs' “common” top-ranked implications appeared under the hard and soft TQM. All their “common” top-ranked competencies appeared under the hard TQM, while all their “common” bottom-ranked competencies appeared under the soft TQM.Research limitations/implicationsThe sample size, context/discipline and perceptual data are limitations.Practical implicationsOptimizing an existing TQM framework/matrix to design Industry 4.0 TQM, advanced as TQM 4.0.Originality/valuePerspectives of early-career professionals for TQM 4.0 implementation.
The TQM Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 24, 2021
Keywords: Competencies; Early career; Engineering; Industry 4.0; TQM
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