Malaysia hotel industry especially luxury hotel industries are undergoing a challenging time because of stiff and intense competition from other hotels such as Airbnb, as well as heritage and budget hotels (The Borneo Post, 2017). Additionally, excessive hotel projects have saturated the market, with many more in the process of being constructed or about to be built, making the cutting-throat situation worst (The Star Online, 2017). The hotel market is pretty saturated at the moment and with more hotels opening, the demand for rooms is going to drop even further (The Metro News, 2017). In fact, due to the excessive supply of rooms as the number of Airbnb, budget hotels and guest-houses continued to increase significantly, it can be seen that hotels under the Malaysian Association of Hotels is either seeing stagnant or declining in terms of occupancy rates (Malaysia Tourism Statistics, 2016). The way in which hotels gain a competitive edge falls into two main categories: price based, by establishing a low-cost management through discounting; and quality based, by providing customers with a unique experience to achieve customer loyalty (Ooi, 2014). Although low-cost management through discounting helps increase a hotel's market share in the short term, it may negatively impact on profitability in the long term (Maslanka-Wieczorek, 2014). Many hotels therefore have turned to quality improvement for achieving a competitive advantage marketplace (Dimanche, 2014). Meanwhile, correct implementation of TQM practices could enhance the quality of products/services delivered and enable hotels to remain competitive (Ho, 2010).
Introduction to TQM
It is both a philosophy and a series of guiding justifications that are the basis of a ceaselessly improving organization (Shweta Bajaj, Ruchi Garg & Monika Sethi, 2018). It intends to accomplish the effectiveness of the system such as production, design, planning, quality tools, techniques involvement as well as customer satisfaction as it has potential not only to reinforce competitiveness but also to strengthen firm effectiveness and produce more satisfied customers (Khanam, Siddiqui & Talib, 2015). In order to ensure definition of TQM to be valid especially in hotel sectors which connects not only customers but also other stakeholders, it must encompass the meaning of conformance to internal specifications which are predetermined and required by customers (Ilkay & Aslan) and fulfill the continuously changing requirements of both the organization customer and stakeholders (Fotopoulos & Psomas, 2010). Hence, the current study proposes a new definition of TQM mainly drawn from Ismyrlis et al. (2015); Aranda et al. (2015) stated as following: TQM is a management based approach with the participation of all members of an organization in improving processes, products, services and the culture in order to achieve higher level of satisfaction of customers and other associated stakeholders.
Elements of TQM
There is no particular agreement on the elements that constitute TQM and still the elements are varying among different researchers across the globe (Corredor & Goni, 2011). What's more, use of different terminology in the context of TQM elements is raising the difficulty of comparing sets of elements since the terms elements, principles, components, factors and criteria seem to be employed interchangeably (Ahmad, Zakuan, Jusoh, Yusof, Takala & Arif, 2014). Motivated by this conclusion, it is recommended that the TQM elements to be standardized so that a sound comparison can be made (Calvo-Mora, Picon, Ruiz & Cauzo, 2014). Additionally, synonyms of the TQM elements may cause redundancies (Delic, Radlovacki, Kamberovic, Maksimovic & Pecujlija, 2014) hence it is essential for similar elements to be combined into one category of elements for this study as shown in Table 1. To boot, there are total eight heterogeneous TQM elements after similar elements are being combined into one category of elements which constitute of leadership, strategic planning, supplier's quality management, process management, product and service design, employee management, customer relationship management as well as information and analysis.
Many studies support that leadership is one of the most important factors that impact a firm's performance (Ooi, 2014). Leadership and top management support is expected to have an integral role in encouraging the practices and behaviors that lead to quality goals establishment, resources allocation, quality performance evaluation and quality improvement (Barouch et al., 2016; Alidrisi & Mohamed, 2012). Furthermore, the leader of a firm is responsible for creating the appropriate environment/culture for innovation besides cultivating the innovation process, quality, finance management and aligning the current strategy with the innovation strategy in order to achieve innovative and competitive performance (Frolova et al., 2015).
Strategic planning refers to the development and subsequent deployment of plans to forge a stronger tie with customers, suppliers and business partners (Baird, Hu & Reeve, 2011). It includes formulation of vision/mission statements, quality policy, use of quality control and other management tool etc. (Ahmad & Elhuni, 2014). Appropriate systems of strategic quality planning would improve the product quality and therefore customer satisfaction (Cheung & To, 2010).
Supplier's Quality Management
Supplier's quality management is defined as the procedure of assessing supplier's quality performance as well as inaugurating long term organization-supplier partnership with product quality as the specification for supplier selection (Bolatan et al., 2016)...