What are the similarities and differences between Quality Assessment Frameworks?

Sep 27


Dr. Joseline Edward, PhD

Dr. Joseline Edward, PhD

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This article provides the high level overview of the quality assessment frameworks and compares them to identify the common factors used in these frameworks.


Quality awards promote quality awareness and also provide a framework to assess organizations quality approach. Quality Management literature reveals that frameworks such as the Deming Prize,What are the similarities and differences between Quality Assessment Frameworks?  Articles European Quality Award, and MBNQA criteria are the most accepted domains and demonstrate worldwide activities in this field. Most of the national quality awards are based on these frameworks. For example, the Belgian Quality Award, Danish Quality Prize Finnish Quality Award, German Quality Award, Hungarian Quality Award, and Northern Ireland Quality Award are based on European Quality Award criteria and the International Asia Pacific Quality Award is based on MBNQA criteria. Before comparing the frameworks, let me illustrate the high level view of the quality assessment frameworks.

The Deming Prize was established in 1951 to recognize quality achievement in Japanese organizations. The award was named to honor Deming, the leading thinker and innovator who helped Japan to overcome the economic crisis after World War II. The Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers manages the award and it may be given in four categories: individual, companies and other operating organizations, factories, and companies located outside Japan. Some of the criteria used for the award: top management; human resource management; organization structure and its operation; daily management; policy management; relationships to ISO 9000 and ISO 14000; quality assurance; new product and technological development; process control; quality evaluation and audit; activities covering the whole cycle; supplier management; cross-functional management; environment and safety management; education and training; relationship with customers, suppliers, and shareholders; and continuously securing profit.

The European Quality Award was established in 1992 to promote quality in European companies. This award evaluates organizations on nine criteria: leadership, policy and strategy, people (employee) management, resources, processes, customer satisfaction, people (employee) satisfaction, impact on society, and business.

Similar to the Deming Prize and the European Quality Award, the U.S. government established the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) in 1987 to promote awareness of quality excellence, to recognize quality achievements of U.S. companies, and to publicize successful quality strategies. The dual goals of the Baldrige criteria are to improve value to customers, which results in marketplace success, and to improve overall financial and company performance to meet the needs of shareholders, owners, and other stakeholders. The National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) manages the award and it may be given each year in six categories such as manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education, and nonprofit organizations. The MBNQA criteria are built upon the following set of core values and concepts: (1) visionary leadership, (2) customer-driven excellence, (3) organizational and personal learning, (4) valuing employees and partners, (5) agility, (6) focus on the future, (7) managing for innovation, (8) management by fact, (9) social responsibility, (10) focus on results and creating value, and (11) systems perspective.

I’m sure that, you can understand the high-level overview of quality assessment frameworks. Let us compare the frameworks now. Few years back, I conducted a literature review in Quality Management as part of my doctoral dissertation and found the below similarities and differences between these frameworks.

Similarities: Quality Management criteria such as Customer focus, Leadership, Quality planning, human resource development, Information management, Process management, Supplier relationship, Social responsibilities and business results are used to assess organizations quality approach in all these three frameworks.

Differences: The Quality Management criterion “Benchmarking” is not considered in Deming prize. However this criterion is used in European Quality Award & MBNQA. Similarly, the criterion “Organization culture” is not considered in MBQNA, but used in European Quality Award & Deming prize.

Organizations can use one of the above mentioned framework to access their quality approach. However, I think developing a customized framework by considering few criterions from these frameworks and by considering organization’s core values would be the better approach to access organizations’ quality approach.