Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

The Relationship Between a Strategic Approach to Quality and Employee Happiness

Document type Thesis
Author Stoehr, A.
Degree Ph.D., Faculty of Business and Law
Publisher University of the West of England, Bristol; Bristol, UK
Date 2014
Pages 342 pages


This research explores the relationship between a strategic approach to quality management in Canadian organizations and employee measures of happiness. In particular, it investigates how a strategic approach to quality management impacts on employee satisfaction, engagement, and morale. Understanding the relationships between a strategic approach to quality management and employee measures of happiness helps companies, policy-makers, and academia. Companies can use the conclusions to decide on the value of a quality management system as it relates to employees. The findings provide answers to employees, management, and labour unions that need to understand the impact a strategic approach to quality will have on them. Policy-makers can use the findings to set the agenda for closing Canada’s productivity gap. Knowledge of this research can support policy-maker decisions to simplify the process for implementing a strategic approach to quality, realizing the benefits for participating organizations and employees at those organizations. This research helps academia fill two major gaps in the literature: First, the impact that the implementation of a strategic quality approach has on employee happiness (namely satisfaction, engagement, and morale). The second is the focus on Canadian organizations. There are relatively few studies that investigate a strategic approach to quality that focus on Canadian companies. Much of the research related to strategic quality employs data from American, Asian, Australian, and European organizations whereas this research uses data from exclusively Canadian organizations. This is the only academic research (to the knowledge of the researcher) that uses original Canada Awards for Excellence recipient results to draw conclusions. In this research, organizations with a strategic approach to quality (Canada Awards for Excellence recipients) are compared with similar size organizations with no defined approach to quality (non-winners). A 66-question survey was used with 591 respondents representing 58.68% response rate from 12 Canadian organizations. The participating organizations were a mix of small and medium size organizations ranging in size from 5 employees to 400 employees in both the service and manufacturing sectors. The survey respondents included 315 from Canada Award for Excellence winners and 276 from non-winners. Of the 12 organizations studied, five are Canada Award for Excellence winners and seven of them are non-winners. The research provides evidence that organizations taking a strategic approach to quality have a positive impact on the employees of that organization. The research has found significant connections between an organization’s level of strategic quality and the effect on employees in terms of morale, engagement, and satisfaction. The survey alongside focus group analysis shows that there is a clear relationship between strategic quality and employee measures of happiness. The findings indicate that the impact of implementing quality is positive and results in benefits for both the organization as a whole and the individual employee. Significant differences are noted between Canada Award for Excellence winners and non-winners.