This study uses complexity theory to explore the apparent tension between quality management practices and product innovation. A survey of 112 manufacturing firms was conducted and the resulting data were analyzed using fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis.
The results show three equifinal configurations of quality practices (top management commitment, customer focus, supplier involvement, quality oriented human resources management, benchmarking, and design quality management) that are sufficient to achieve product innovation (outcome). The study also uncovers that two out of the six quality management practices studied are necessary conditions to the outcome. These practices are top management commitment and customer focus.