Discursive ambiguity, professional networks and peripheral contexts: The translation of total quality management in Turkey, 1991-2002

Erçek M.

International Studies of Management and Organization, vol.38, no.4, pp.78-99, 2008 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


This study examines the role of professional networks in translating a fashionable management discourse in a peripheral setting, analyzing the total quality management (TQM) discourse in Turkey from 1991 to 2002. The findings suggest that when a well-coordinated expansionist strategy of the local professional network interacted with the ambiguous character of the incoming TQM discourse and the turbulent macro conditions of the Turkish environment, the result was a radical translation of the original TQM ideas. At the end of the period, TQM was significantly deprived of its original connotation as a managerial tool for the betterment of work practices and became an all-encompassing philosophy about good governance of social relations. Careful selection of external partners as well as effective management of its own internal governance structures were identified as key factors in accounting for the success of the local professional network in translating the TQM discourse.