What characterises leading companies within Business Excellence Models?

"Best practice" has been defined as encompassing the methods, processes and activities used to optimise organisational performance and minimise costly or damaging mistakes. There is a growing body of research highlighting the importance of adopting the management practices that have proved successful in leading organisations; the natural assumption being that by adopting the best management practices a company will see its own peformance improve. The emergence of quality management awards such as the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Award, launched in 1991, has also increased the visibility of this link between best practice and performance.

This research looks at what makes a leading company within the EFQM Excellence Model, focusing on those organisations that have been "Recognised for Excellence" status in Spain. It explores whether these organisations adopt specific approaches in the adoption of the best practices relevant to the award. The paper then aims to ascertain which array of best practices offer the most assured path towards recognition for excellence.

The findings show that Spanish organisations interpret the EFQM model and adopt best practices in a similar fashion to each other, suggesting that they are either consciously following a 'role model' organisation or that they are fully versed in the expectations of the award assessors. It also found that the "People" criterion in the EFQM figures significantly in organisations attaining high performance.

Organisations applying the EFQM model may benefit from this paper's findings. It contributes to the management literature by highlighting a consistent trend in the use of the EFQM model. It also provides insight to managers on how to better allocate resources within Business Excellence Models such as EFQM.

The draft research paper is available for download at the link below.

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