The purpose of this study was to perform a qualitative, inductively-oriented investigation of leadership and quality improvement (QI) efforts. This approach was chosen given that there is relatively little evidence regarding the nature of effective leadership as organizations pursue QI, potential differences across managerial levels, and the persistence of leadership as QI efforts evolve. Our qualitative analyses involved the identification of relevant themes or categorical schemes, data collection in an open and somewhat unstructured manner, and theory development in line with the data collected. Based on the analyses, we develop a proposed model of alternative paths of leadership and managerial commitment in association with a QI process. One path involves continuing commitment toward QI efforts and results in a culture shift. In contrast, a second path involves wavering commitment and could lead to negative outcomes such as cynicism about the possibility of organizational change. In sum, this study demonstrates the potential value of pursuing an inductive approach in leadership research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Applied Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management