There is a need for an appropriate culture to support the scope of Total Quality Management (TQM). Customer focus, systems approach, teamwork, involved management and continuous improvement are the aspects of TQM that facilitate improved organisational success, growth, and competitiveness. Many companies are now complementing continuous improvement with innovation, which is seen as the successful exploitation of new ideas. A clear synergy appears between these two corporate success factors as they are often integrated under an appropriate corporate culture for exploitation. The results of this can support substantial improvements in business performance and competitiveness of the company. With this in mind, this paper discusses the concept of corporate culture, places this social construct within the arena of TQM, and highlights the relationships that exist among culture, quality, and competitiveness using a case study. (C) 2002 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.