All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Business Administration (MBA)


College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program

Business Administration


Business Administration


management, improvement, processes, prize


Today's business culture is one characterized by change. This change is prompted by increase competition, internationalization, market demands and financial considerations. If change is to be effectively managed, it is essential that business processes be * documented and analyzed to determine how best to implement change. The United States, through national legislation established the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, named after the. former secretary of commerce, in 1987. This was thirty-six years after Japan had created a national quality award naming it after Dr. W. Edwards Deming who had been very successful* in using statistical quality control methods to yield significant improvement .in Japanese quality processes. These process improvements related back directly to Japanese product quality. Many of us still remember when the phrase "made in Japan." could be equated to inexpensive low quality merchandise. In the last two decades Japan has totally reversed this image. Japanese companies are now viewed as world-class quality role models for other countries businesses to benchmark against.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was aimed at promoting total-quality-management (TQM) throughout America's businesses, industries and government. In doing so, American business would be able to more effectively compete with global markets.

This paper will discuss the Malcolm Baldrige Award with comparison to the Deming Application prize. In addition, it will provide a snapshot of experiences from U.S. companies who have gone through the Baldrige examination process.

The National Institute of Standards sends out thousands of Malcolm Baldrige information packets, but thus far only about one hundred apply for the annual award. Of those, a maximum of six companies may receive the award (two each from large companies, small business, and service industry). Judges do not always give out all possible awards.

How could an award which encourages businesses to support the concepts of "continuous improvement" and "first time quality" could have flaws or critics? Who doesn't believe in quality? Criticisms of the awards and awards process have surfaced and will be discussed.

While quality process awards may improve the effectiveness with which a company does business, it does not solve the problem of increased global competition for goods and services along with changing needs and wants of consumers. International issues such as employee labor costs (wages and benefits), working conditions, government legislation, environmental factors, and economic conditions are all important considerations in being a successful and responsible business. Financial considerations such as debt-equity ratios and earnings cannot be ignored. In short, senior management needs to continue to aggressively lead the corporation while pursuing the continuous improvement opportunities. To lose sight of their main responsibilities could lead to significant difficulties and even failure.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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