Triin Veideman summarizes the following in her Doctoral dissertation.
"The aim of the thesis is to investigate the relationships between TQM implementation, online reputation and financial performance in the context of small and medium-sized enterprises in the tourism sector. There is a growing demand for research in the area, as the majority of destination management organizations use quality certification based on TQM programmes to regulate the tourism market and raise the competitiveness of a destination. Evidently, online reputation is influencing the choices of tourists and thus plays a critical role in the tourism sector. At the same time, it is expected that SMEs participating in quality certification schemes should demonstrate better online reputation, as TQM techniques and tools applied should contribute to customer satisfaction expressed via online reviews and ratings. Moreover, improvement in financial performance is expected as customers make their purchase decisions based on online reputation which is a signal of quality in tourism sector. [- - -] The results of the study demonstrate that certified SMEs do not have significantly more online reviews compared to non-certified SMEs, although this might be expected from SMEs implementing TQM, as certification criteria require SMEs to collect and manage feedback to enhance customer satisfaction. In terms of online ratings, the findings confirm that certified SMEs have significantly higher online ratings than non-certified SMEs. This indicates that certified SMEs perform better in terms of online reputation in comparison to non-certified SMEs because their customers perceive better quality for the services provided. Evidence from further analysis explicitly demonstrates that certified SMEs do not improve their financial performance after TQM implementation. Certified SMEs financially outperform their non-certified counterparts in terms of return on sales, although this indicator was proven to be higher already before TQM implementation. Therefore, it can be stated that more advanced and business driven SMEs decide to apply for official certification. It also becomes apparent that the period of the TQM implementation does not affect SME performance as the SMEs who have implemented TQM earlier do not have better online reputation or financial figures in comparison to late implementers."
Click here to read the doctoral dissertation.
Professor Katri Kerem, Ph.D., Chair of Marketing and Communication Department, Estonian Business School, Estonia.
Professor Kaire Põder, Ph.D., Professor of Department of Economics and Finance, Estonian Business School, Estonia.
Dr Declan P Bannon, Ph.D., AFG College with the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Dr Brent McKenzie, Ph.D., University of Guelph, Canada
See the defense on October 5 at 16:00 via live broadcast on EBS Youtube channel here or at EBS in room 413.