In today's increasingly competitive and globalized environment, universities strive to improve their internal quality systems to better meet the long term needs of their stakeholders. The purpose of this research is to address this aspect of improving quality management within private universities and suggest a model for higher education that leverages the principles and methodologies of total quality management and lean. Total Quality Management and Lean principles originated in the manufacturing industry and have been in use for some time now. Their success in improving quality and production processes within the manufacturing industry, lead to service industries applying their principles. Applications of total quality and lean within higher education represents a challenging and emerging application area as their implementation has to be adapted to suit the requirements of the higher education environment. The primary subject of this study is MODUL University, Vienna, which is an international private university in Austria and is owned by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Quality Management at MODUL University has been an important consideration from when it commenced operations in 2007. During this period the university has developed a plan of growth and quality initiatives to address quality management within the university. This research work will analyze the current quality management practices and their relation to the development goals of the university. A model to improve quality is then proposed using principles from total quality management and lean. In the case of this university the use of lean principles is new and one of the goals of this research is to probe its effectiveness in the improvement of processes within this university. The research is in the form of a qualitative research using the case study method, observation and action research methods to collect primary data.
Secondary data is obtained through the analysis of secondary sources such as quality management reports, annual reports and other documents pertaining to the university. Concepts about the topics will be developed from journals, technical articles, electronic sources, websites, books, and audio-visual means.