Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

USA National Quality Award - is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. It was established in 1987. The purpose of this award is to develop the competitiveness of American companies by improving the quality of products and services. This Prize was awarded only to manufacturing and service companies before.

The scope of application was expanded at the expense of health and education organizations in 1999. Prize has been awarded to non-profit and government organizations since 2005.

The Baldrige Award has several nominations depending on activity of the organization:

  • prize for manufacturing enterprises, service organizations and small businesses, non-profit and government organizations;
  • prize for healthcare organizations;
  • prize for educational organizations.

The prize is awarded according to a certain set of criteria that based on the evaluation of organization activities. The criteria are grouped into seven categories.

The names of these categories are the same for all nominations:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategic planning.
  3. Customer orientation.
  4. Measurement, analysis and knowledge management.
  5. Staff orientation.
  6. Process orientation.
  7. Results.

There are additional category, that does not contain criteria, but it gives general information about the organization - Profile of the organization.

The scheme of the relationship of the criteria is shown in the figure.


The content of the Baldrige Award categories is:

  • Organization profile. The scope of the organization's activities is presented in this category and there are description of interaction with consumers, suppliers, partners and all interested parties. The profile of the organization details the structure of products or services, organizational culture, staff, basic technologies, equipment, organizational structure, management system and work segments.
  • Leadership. Criteria from this category indicate how top management of the organization is carried out of management. It also provides information about the management system and the implementation of regulatory and legislative requirements.
  • Strategic planning. Criteria from this category assess how strategic goals are set and plans are developed to achieve them. It presents how goals are selected, plans are detailed and changed if necessary, how plans are monitored and goals are achieved.
  • Customer orientation. The Baldrige Award criteria describe how an organization determines the consumers and market requirements, their expectations and preferences. This section is indicated how interactions with customers are built, key factors of satisfaction, loyalty increase and customer retention are determined.
  • Measurement, analysis and knowledge management. Criteria from this category represent how the organization identifies the necessary data, collects and analyzes it, how this data helps to improve work, how information and knowledge management is carried out.
  • Staff orientation. Criteria from this category assess how the personnel development system operates in the organization. It is assessed the systematic of training and staff motivation. The possibilities of implementing the skills, knowledge and experience of employees are tested in order to achieve the goals of the organization. It is checked what efforts the organization is making to create a favorable environment in the workgroup and good conditions for working.
  • Process orientation. Key aspects of process management are evaluated according to the criteria from this category. The processes structure includes the processes of production, provision of services, supply processes and auxiliary processes. It is presented all processes and all work types of the organization in this section.
  • Results. The Baldrige Award criteria assess the results achieved by an organization to improve key areas of activity – manufacture of product and provision of services, customer satisfaction, financial and market positions, human resource management, social responsibility.

The award criteria have some differences for different nominations.

A more detailed structure of the criteria can be viewed on the website of the Baldrige Award:

  • criteria for manufacturing enterprises, service organizations and small businesses, non-profit and government organizations;
  • criteria for healthcare organizations;
  • criteria for educational organizations.

The Baldrige Award criteria help organizations increase the value of a product or service for the consumer. Criteria are formulated that they do not give instructions for implementation. It allows organizations to approach the improvement of their activities in different ways. Each organization can develop its own approach to implement the award criteria.

Any organization can participate in the nomination for the Baldrige Award if it operating in the USA or having a representative office in the USA. The company must prepare a request and submit it to the award event committee in order to participate in the award. The request is prepared by the self-assessment method. Self-assessment is carried out according to all seven categories of award criteria. The award event committee selects several best request for each of the nominations. The team of experts of the award event committee goes to the enterprises to confirm the results of the self-assessment after that. The best organization is selected according to the results of the inspection of enterprises. This organization becomes the winner in the corresponding nomination.