TQM in the Saudi health care system: a national cultural perspective

Abdulrahman H. Alrabeah, Susan M. Ogden, David A. Edgar, Karen J. Fryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quality is a major concern in Saudi hospitals, as despite the high expenditure by the Saudi government on health care facilities, which amounted to 3.3% of GDP in 2008, the health care system is still suffering from long waiting times, medical errors and deteriorating service. In the few studies tackling TQM applied in Saudi healthcare system, having a foreign workforce is mentioned as one of the major challenges. Nonetheless, the possible effect of the cultural characteristics of the diverse workforce on TQM has not been investigated. This study aims to investigate the extent to which national cultural diversity in the workforce creates challenges to successful TQM realization in hospitals in Saudi. This is vital for building up a paradigm to help ensure fuller TQM realization within the health sector in Saudi Arabia. A case study strategy was selected to get more insight about the subject since there is a limited amount of information. The primary data is collected using employee questionnaires and management interviews. The findings of hospital A suggest that the public policy has a positive role in supporting TQM in the hospital and mostly all TQM success factors were present. Cultural diversity was not seen as adding challenges to TQM practices, but instead added different perspectives and benefits from other experiences and attitudes from the diverse cultures. Two further case studies still to be analysed, however, these initial findings suggested that the cultural diversity may bring positive benefits in terms of embedding a TQM culture. The findings may be interesting to managers and policy makers in other industry sectors and in other countries. From a practical point, the findings can support hospitals in further realization of TQM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-136
Number of pages17
JournalWorld Review of Business Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • quality management
  • national cultural diversity
  • interntaional healthcare


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