In recent years quality management has become a new management segment and the most important factor in the market survival as well as in the growth and the development of business entities in most European and other countries worldwide. In order to determine characteristics of an efficient quality management system in agricultural entities and their impact on financial, economic and business performance and competitiveness, primary research was carried out on a sample of 248 respondents, i.e. the representatives of Croatian agricultural entities. The results of the research indicate there is a statistically significant relationship between a high level of TQM application and the horizontal and flexible organization structure, defined mission and vision, systematic observation of changes in the market, stable top management support, employee empowerment and their involvement in quality management activities, creating business environment that supports employee initiatives, education and training, measurable quality objectives, clear understanding of quality concept, business process evaluation and improvement, by using a proactive approach, and finally, orientation towards consumers. The study has found that TQM improves the financial, economic and business performance, i.e. increases market share, price competitiveness, competitive advantage, total sales, the introduction of new products, profitability, input use efficiency, exports, as well as employee and consumer satisfaction. Cost reduction is another advantage. Understanding the role of TQM is essential for gaining competitive advantage, which agricultural entities can achieve only through the synergy of all these elements.
Jelena Kristić, J.J. Strossmayer University of Osijek, Faculty of Agriculture in Osijek, Croatia, firstname.lastname@example.org