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Shpend Imeri, Tauno Kekäle, Josu Takala and Yang Liu


The study emphasizes on the understanding of the impact of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ elements of TQM in South-Eastern European (SEE) firms in Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegr, Serbia and Romania. Thus, 350 questionnaires were collected out of 1000. From different industry sectors in order to have reliable statistical measurements of the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ side of TQM. Hence, this study adopts an exploratory rather than a confirmatory research approach. This approach seeks not only to investigate firms’ awareness and perception to TQM but also explores to what extent are firms’ familiar with TQM tools techniques, and systems as well as TQM philosophies and principles. Therefore, it can be noted TQM is this SEE firms is neither resisted nor directly accepted, rather they tend to see it from a technical aspect, being familiar and understanding only the essential of its ‘hard’ elements and less the ‘soft’ elements.