As world competition becomes both the U.S.'s best hope and worst fear in this new decade, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award process has suddenly rallied battered U.S. managers. Only three years after it was instituted to encourage and recognize world‐class quality in American businesses, the criteria governing the Baldrige Award have been accepted as a national quality standard that is beginning to reshape business practices across the nation. But the world is not waiting for the U.S. to catch up. While quality performance of American car manufacturers has improved in recent years, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, the quality achievements of Japanese car makers improved even faster. This means that the quality gap actually widened.
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