Purpose – This study seeks to conduct an empirical analysis of the association between the dimensions of O'Reilly et al.'s organizational culture profile (OCP) measure with the extent of use of total quality management (TQM) practices, measured using Kaynak's four core TQM practices (quality data and reporting, supplier quality management, product/service design, process management). In addition, the study examines both the direct and indirect association of Kaynak's four core TQM practices with operational (quality and inventory management) performance. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses data obtained from a survey of 364 business units encompassing both the manufacturing and service industries in Australia. Findings – The findings suggest that the cultural dimension teamwork/respect for people is the most important factor in enhancing the use of TQM practices, while more outcome oriented and innovative business units were also found to use TQM practices to a greater extent. While all four TQM practices were found to be interrelated, only three of the factors (supplier quality management, process management, and quality data and reporting) were found to help to achieve the operational performance goals. Practical implications – A major implication of this study is that managers need to recognize the interdependencies between the core TQM practices and their relationships with operational (inventory management and quality) performance. Furthermore, the findings assist organizations by providing guidance as to the organizational culture that is conducive to TQM, thereby contributing to the achievement of desired operational outcomes. Originality/value – The paper uses O'Reilly et al.'s OCP to empirically examine the association between organizational culture and TQM. In addition, the paper provides an insight into the multidimensionality of TQM practices and their effect on operational performance in Australia.