Adoption of ISO-oriented quality management system in Greek universities: reactions to isomorphic pressures

Antigoni Papadimitriou, Don F. Westerheijden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

    26 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose – Quality management in Greek higher education at least until 2006 was in an early and debated stage. The intent of this paper is to present the extent of use of the ISO standards in Greek universities till 2006 and simultaneously to evaluate whether adoption of ISO-oriented quality management tools is consistent with DiMaggio and Powell's notions of isomorphism (coercive, normative, and mimetic).

    Design/methodology/approach – The authors employed a mixed-methods approach with sequential data collection with several alternations between quantitative and qualitative methods.

    Findings – It is found that ISO-oriented quality management system is fruitfully adopted in units only if all three types of neo-institutional pressures (coercive, normative and mimetic) are present. These results and the high response rate suggest that there is a quality movement at the micro level in Greek higher education.

    Research limitations/implications – Quality management (QM) research within the relatively uncharted Greek universities poses multiple challenges, e.g. in handling politically sensitive subjects, which may benefit readers in overcoming theirs.

    Originality/value – The significance of the paper lies in the fact that no existing studies have investigated the adoption of ISO-oriented quality management system in Greek universities, utilizing neo-institutional theory and a mixed method research design. Especially relevant is that the study focuses on quality management at the micro level of units within higher education institutions. The study demonstrates how to distinguish different isomorphic pressures empirically.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-241
    JournalTQM journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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