The current paper is part of a wider research that has as general objective to develop an evaluation and analysis model for the total quality management (TQM) system to identify best practices that determine its' performance, in order to improve it. The research is focused on organizations from the metal construction industry. The sample consists of organizations from Romania operating in the before mentioned area, which have a consolidated position in the market and conducted efforts in implementing TQM systems. The data analysis was conducted through quantitative research methods, based on statistical processing. Regarding the research tools used for data collection, a survey based on a questionnaire was employed. The designed and pre-tested questionnaire contains items based on factors considered important in analysing and evaluating the TQM system, based on the evaluation criteria of the EFQM European Excellence Award (European Foundation for Quality Management), which provides credibility to the research. The objective of the present research is analysing the components of the TQM system, leadership and quality culture, in companies from the Romanian metal construction industry and their influence on customer relationship. The empirical research was conducted between September 2014 and August 2015, and the study is based on questioning 263 managers from 23 companies . The main research results show a very strong positive relation between the variables leadership, quality culture and customer relationship. It was also noticed that the management team of the analysed organizations is concerned with the continuous quality improvement process and that efforts are made for satisfying and exceeding customers' expectations, thus existing the premises for creating customers' dedicated organizations and achieving long term excellence. A surprising result concerning the leadership style favourable to quality culture's development was obtained. The managers from th e analysed organizations which have an authoritarian leadership style favour the development of a quality culture more than managers who adopt a democratic style.
total quality management system quality management quality culture leadership customer relationship