This paper reports the results of a two-part research project investigating quality management practices in the Australian service industry. The first part of the project was a 6-month study of Australian daily newspapers. Using content analysis methodology, Australian management's concerns for competitiveness were identified. The paper first reports on the 29% of cases that dealt with total quality management, productivity issues, world best practice, customer focus and quality service. Aspects of the business environment that encourage management to re-examine sources of competitive advantage are presented. The second part of the research was an extensive survey of Australian companies in the service industry to evaluate the extent to which quality management practices have been adopted. The survey findings together with qualitative data indicate that the majority of service industry companies surveyed are concerned with the implementation of quality management programmes. Impediments to implementation are also examined and implications of the findings and further research are discussed.