The patterns of adoption of quality management practices and techniques vary across national boundaries. This article presents the findings of a questionnaire survey into the quality management procedures and tools adopted in three European countries, the UK, Portugal and Finland. A total of 450 responses are analysed. The main differences between the three countries are outlined with regard to factors motivating the implementation of quality systems, quality tools and techniques used, outcomes from quality management and problems encountered in providing quality training. The results are then analysed under the perspective of the probable impact of national culture. The models of national culture developed by Hofstede, Trompenaars and Earley and Erez were used for this purpose. The main conclusion is that these models can help to explain, to a great extent, much of the variation observed and constitute a basis for understanding why particular quality management approaches are adopted.
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