Purpose – This study aims to propose a comprehensive model for assessing the quality of academic programs
in higher education institutions (HEIs) by adopting the TQM philosophy.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on a sample of 377 responses from higher education academics,
experts and professionals in Sweden, partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) technique
was used to empirically test the proposed hypotheses and validate the model.
Findings – The model reveals that the input-based factors have a stronger impact on the process-based
factors; while process-based factors have less impact on the output-based factors. The input-based factors:
adoption of international pedagogy standards (IPS), education infrastructure (EDI), and work/study
environment (WSE) through the process-based factors quality of students (QOS) and quality of faculty staff
(QFS) is found to have a significant impact on output-based factor quality of academic programs (QAP).
Research limitations/implications – This study has been conducted in Sweden. Inclusion of other
countries provides opportunities for further analysis by conducting cross-comparison between different
cultures in higher education, and including additional stakeholders such as policymakers, parents and
Practical implications – This research also contributes to practice by providing an in-depth understanding
of the relationships among variables that affect the quality of academic programs in HEIs, and provides
insights to internally assess the quality levels of their academic programs
Originality/value – This study contributes to the knowledge by providing a holistic view in which it
integrates input, process and output perspectives in a conceptual model to assess the quality of academic
programs at the higher education level.
Keywords Quality assessment, TQM, Higher education, Academic programs, Pedagogy, Universities
Paper type Research paper