Stiff competition driven by more demanding customers has exerted pressure on both small and large firms to adopt total quality management (TQM) practices. Although TQM has currently grown to become a well-established field of research, much of the work to date has concentrated on large, multi-product, multi-divisional and multi-national firms. Only a little has been done on the TQM practices of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).The literature on quality improvement practices of SMEs in developing countries particularly in Africa is almost non-existent. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to examine the problems and prospects of SMEs in implementing TQM practices by reviewing existing literature and collecting primary data from 56 SMEs in the Republic of Botswana. Since the study is limited to a preliminary investigation of problems and possibilities, simple descriptive statistics such as statistical rankings, analysis of variance (ANOVA), sample means and standard deviations are used to analyze the data. The results indicate that misperceptions coupled with lack of resources strategic orientation have hindered the introduction of TQM practices in SMEs in Botswana. Implications for future research and strategies to achieve attitudinal and behavioral changes in SMEs are suggested.
Total Quality Management, ISO 9000, Small and Medium Enterprises, Developing Countries, Quality Improvement, Quality Control.