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The Baldrige Award’s falling fortunes

David Cook (Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences, College of Business and Public Administration, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)
Weiyong Zhang (Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences, College of Business and Public Administration, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 31 May 2019

Issue publication date: 31 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore two explanations for the Baldrige Award’s decline. The management fashion literature suggests that it is a waning management fad, and the marketing choice literature suggests the likely presence of an ISO 9000 substitution effect.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study utilizes data collected on Baldridge Award applications, publications, ISO 9000 certifications and economic indicators. These data are contrasted to explore patterns and trends, and correlation analyses conducted to reveal the plausibility of the fad and substitution effect explanations for the Baldrige Award’s decline.

Findings

Data analysis confirms the Baldrige Award’s prolonged decline and strongly suggests it is in the final stage of a management fashion life cycle with support provided for the presence of an ISO 9000 substitution effect.

Research limitations/implications

Many organizations have shifted their attention away from the Baldrige as a means to quality and performance excellence, and there is evidence that the ISO 9000 standards are a viable substitute.

Practical implications

The Baldrige Program has served its purpose with the Baldrige Award being the pinnacle of recognition for performance excellence achievement. However, the Award is in decline and the Baldrige Program is on a path to financial exigency. The Baldrige must be reframed to recover its role as the preeminent approach to performance excellence.

Originality/value

The paper satisfies the need to examine potential causes for the diminishing role of the Baldrige Award and challenges both academicians and practitioners to reexamine the Baldrige Program.

Keywords

Citation

Cook, D. and Zhang, W. (2019), "The Baldrige Award’s falling fortunes", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 1972-1994. https://doi.org/10.1108/BIJ-04-2018-0096

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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