Does it work?
Well, the honest answer is that nothing in life is guaranteed (except, of course, death and taxes!). At heart, though, the Excellence Model is about ensuring quality and improvement, and why would one NOT want to manage a legitimate organisation on such a basis? Horst Schulze, formerly of the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain (twice winners of the Baldrige Award in the US), said at the 2004 EFQM Forum:
“There are still gainsayers about quality. But how can you argue with an organisation that wants to do what is right for its customers, its people, the community, and also for the organisation itself by doing it at lower cost? Where is the argument with that?”
But if you still want persuasion, there is growing evidence that using a structured framework as a way of assessing the state of an organisation and then to drive improvements does pay off.
Leicester University research for EFQM & BQF
This independent research has been carried out into European companies, to find out if the US-based Singhal & Hendricks research (see below) also worked for European organisations. It was carried out by the Centre of Quality Excellence, University of Leicester, and is the copyright of EFQM and BQF.
“The overall evidence indicates that when the principles of the EFQM Excellence Model have been implemented effectively, performance improves in both short and long periods of time. This should prove to be reassuring for those companies that have made an investment and long-term commitment to the principles of the EFQM Excellence Model, and it provides evidence to support the continued commitment to the principles of the EFQM Excellence Model for those companies that might be thinking of replacing their Excellence strategy with something else. Furthermore, it provides positive evidence to those companies that are contemplating implementing the principles of the EFQM Excellence Model of the benefits that their company can reap from its effective implementation.”
This comment from the abstract may encourage you to read (opens new browser window) the pdf copy of the abstract of the findings (we have permission from EFQM to use it on our website).
Singhal and Hendricks research
Perhaps the first statistically robust evidence that we saw was the research by Dr Vinod Singhal of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Dr Kevin Hendricks of the College of William and Mary.
They undertook a 5 year study into more than 600 quality award winners in the US which showed that they averaged significantly larger increases in several measures of financial and other performance than a control group of similar firms. (Not all firms improved, so it is indeed still not guaranteed, but the overall average was well up.) Amongst other things, it highlighted that greater benefits were derived by organisations using independent award frameworks (such as Baldrige or State awards) than those who just received customer awards.
Dr Singhal has kindly allowed us to put on our site a PDF-format abstract (opens new browser window) of the Singhal & Hendricks US research, and his email address is there if you would like more information.
Also looking at US organisations, there is the study of how the stock of publicly traded Baldrige Award winners compares with the S&P 500 Index. While this is a smaller sample than the Singhal/Hendricks research, they are seen to outperform that Index. Highlights of the research can be found on the Baldrige website (you can go via our Links page)
There is also research in the UK - the X-Factors - which was carried out for and is obtainable from the British Quality Foundation. This research shows many examples of benefits obtained by practitioners of Excellence.