Performance Excellence Models – Quality Awards

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Performance Excellence Models (Quality Awards) were created in response to the demands for more transparent methods of assessing and comparing the performance of organizations. Organizations can use these models as a tool to identify where their strengths and weaknesses lie so they can make improvements to achieve higher levels of performance.

The Quality Award is an independent assessment of organizational performance that provides information on how well an organization operates. Doing so assists other organizations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations in identifying best practices and achieving excellence.

Organizations that receive these awards have shown high levels of superior quality and innovative programs in specific areas. The measures taken by the award recipients demonstrate that continuous improvement is possible within all organizations.

What Is A Quality Award?

A Quality Award is a formal recognition of outstanding performance that demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement, innovation and customer satisfaction. These awards recognize organizations that consistently exceed expectations regarding quality, service delivery and responsiveness.

Various Quality Award programs are available to all types of organizations, including governments, not-for-profits, private companies and public sector entities.

Most Famous Performance Excellence Models

These are some of the most popular quality awards or performance excellence models.
  1.  European Excellence Award (EFQM)
  2. Excellence Canada
  3. ASQ International Team Excellence Award (ITEA)
  4. Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA)
  5. Deming Prize


Each of these models uses a different set of criteria to evaluate organizations. However, each one shares common elements such as:

  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • An emphasis on process approach and continuous improvement
  • A focus on customer orientation
  • Commitment to employee involvement
  • Value creation through innovation
  • Focus on strategic planning and fact-based decision making
  • Consistent results (financial and non-financial)


All these models also share similar characteristics. For example:

  • Their assessments are made independently
  • They require organizations to submit objective evidence of their performance
  • They are not restricted to any particular industry
  • They are open to all types of organizations
  • They measure performance against clearly defined standards


Let's briefly look at each of these models:

1. European Excellence Award (EFQM)

Founded in 1991, EFQM was developed to help European businesses improve their performance. It has been widely adopted throughout Europe and beyond. EFQM assesses the performance of organizations in two broad categories: Enablers and Result. Both of these categories have equal weightage in the final assessment.

Enabler category contains Leadership, People, Policy Strategy, Partnership and Resources, and Processes.

Result category contains People Results, Customer Results, Society Results and Key Performance Results.

2. Excellence Canada

Founded in 1992 as the National Quality Institute(NQI), it was renamed Excellence Canada in 2011. It's now known for its expertise in helping organizations improve their customer experience.

Canada Awards for Excellence aims to recognize outstanding achievements by organizations across Canada.

For an organization to be eligible for the award, they need to show exceptional performance in the respective category: Excellence, Innovation and Wellness, Healthy Workplace, Mental Health at Work and Financial Wellness.


3. ASQ International Team Excellence Award (ITEA)

The ASQ ITEA is the global performance recognition program in the field of quality and organizational excellence best practices. This is a team award. Teams from across the world present their quality improvement projects to compete for this award.


4. Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA)

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program was founded in 1987. The program was named after Malcolm Baldridge, who served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Ronald Reagan.

This award is given out by the United States Department of Commerce every year.

Three MBNQA awards can be given annually in these six categories:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Service Company
  3. Small Business
  4. Education
  5. Healthcare
  6. Non-profit

Recipient selection is based on achievement and improvement across seven key areas called the Baldrige Criterion for Performance Excellence.

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategy
  3. Customers
  4. Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management
  5. Workforce
  6. Operations
  7. Results.


5. Deming Prize

In 1951, Deming Prize was founded to recognize Dr. Deming's contributions to Japan's post–World War II economic recovery efforts. It's an award for companies that achieve outstanding results in the field of Total Quality Management (TQM).

It recognizes both individuals who contribute to the field of Total Quality Management (TQM) and companies that have successfully implemented TQM

Unlike other awards, there is no limit to the total number of people/organizations who may win the Prize. Organizations scoring above the minimum threshold for each category (passing) will receive the Deming Award.

There are four categories in Deming Prize:

  • The Deming Prize for Individuals
  • The Deming Distinguished Service Award for Dissemination and Promotion (Overseas)
  • The Deming Prize
  • The Deming Grand Prize (former Japan Quality Medal).

The Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) administers this program.


Other National Quality Awards

A national quality award program is usually part of an overall strategy for making a nation's companies more globally competitive. These awards are typically given by governments (such as ministries) or non-profits with governmental ties. Here is a list of the most notable quality awards.




Quality Awards are not only about rewarding organizations but also about recognizing the importance of quality in the business. These awards are often used as a tool to raise awareness among employees and customers about the importance of quality. They also help to improve customer satisfaction and employee morale.


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