This survey of the adoption of total quality control (TQC) in 98 companies in the Netherlands shows that few firms do set goals with respect to quality and quality control and that even fewer firms evaluate their own quality performance. The adoption of total quality control is a very time-consuming process, which may take about ten years. Furthermore the adoption process is often dominated by solving the quality problems by experts instead of improving the problem-solving capability of the organization. The adoption process of TQC and the actual application of TQC are related to each other and to company characteristics. In particular the size of the company is related to the formalization of the quality system.