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Evaluation of Research Design
The article employed the quantitative approach and survey research design in assessing the potential of the EGQM Excellence Model in promoting the achievement of effective knowledge management and business results. This research design is appropriate for it enabled the researchers to sample and collect information from organisations that met the inclusion criteria. Out of 335 targeted organisations, 255 met the inclusion criteria and provided complete evaluations (Calvo-Mora et al. 1645). The survey research design is preferable because it enhances representation, eases data collection, limits researcher’s bias, and provides valid and accurate data. However, the limitations of this research design are inflexibility in data collection and generalisation of structured questions to provide for diverse respondents. In essence, researchers cannot change the design of questionnaire, method of collecting data, and structure of questions during the data collection to suit the prevailing conditions of respondents.
The article utilised an established conceptual model derived from the EFQM Excellence Model to determine the relationship between operational activities and organisational outcomes. The conceptual model is appropriate for the study because the EFQM Excellence Model offers a robust framework, which allows quantitative assessment of organisations’ activities and achievements on their path to excellence. The hypotheses of the study had their basis on the relationships between process methodology, suppliers/partners, knowledge, and key business results (Calvo-Mora et al. 1645). As EFQM Excellence Model provides results that are valid, reliable, and highly predictive (Suarez et al. “Quantitative Research” 154), it offers an accurate determination of the cause-effect relationship between organisational activities and outcomes. Calvo-Maro et al. report that factor loadings surpassed 0.707, the internal consistency was more than 0.7, and predictive power was higher than 0.417 (1648). Nevertheless, the conceptual model used a section of the EFQM Excellence Model. Additionally, the limitation of the methodology is low external validity as most organisations sampled are private organisations, small and medium enterprises, and service providers.
Results and Their Analysis
The analysis of the findings centres on the four hypotheses derived from the conceptual framework. The analysis utilised SmartPLS (version 2.0.M3) software in performing partial least squares regression to assess the effect of predictors on criterions (Calvo-Maro et al. 1646). Partial least squares regression is relevant for the analysis of data for it permits prediction of a set of criterions using a set of predictors (Dijkstra and Henseler 299). As the study has three predictors and three criterions, the conceptual framework modelled them to provide four hypotheses and paths that depict their relationship. Thus, the process methodology formed the exogenous variable, whereas suppliers/partners, knowledge, and key business results constituted the endogenous variables.
The study analysed data from 255 private and public organisations in service, construction, and agricultural industries. In the first hypothesis, the regression analysis revealed that the process methodology is a statistically significant predictor because it accounts for 67.45% of the variation in suppliers/partners variable (Calvo-Maro et al. 1648). Additionally, the process methodology explains 20.4% of the variation in knowledge, as assumed in the second hypothesis. Given that suppliers/partners comprise a statistically significant independent variable, the regression analysis demonstrated that it accounts for 56.05% of the variation in knowledge (Calvo-Maro et al. 1648). Being an outcome of the process methodology and suppliers/partners, knowledge explains 45.83% of the variation in key business outcomes. Overall, the findings suggest that the process methodology and suppliers/partners have a substantial influence on knowledge management, which consequently determines organisational outcomes. Therefore, the findings confirmed that the EFQM Excellence Model is effective in implementing knowledge management system aimed at improving business outcomes.
Discussion of the Results
As knowledge management entails the identification, generation, storage, transfer, and application of knowledge, the results validated how the EFQM Excellence Model elucidates the existence of a cause-effect relationship between organisational activities and outcomes. Evidently, the results showed that the process methodology predicts knowledge management directly and indirectly through suppliers/partners. Subsequently, knowledge management directly influences the occurrence of key business outcomes. These findings are in line with those of a previous study among 116 organisations, which indicated that the EFQM Excellence Model is not only a valid but also reliable in evaluating management processes (Suarez et al. “Structural Analysis” 862). The interaction of critical factors of the total quality management and knowledge management defines the effect of the EFQM Excellence Model on management operations and outcomes. In this case, the article clearly elucidated that knowledge management mediates the effect the process methodology and suppliers/partners mediate on key business outcomes.
The analysis of literature shows that the EFQM Excellence Model has continued to gain significance in the management of organisations. A recent study found out that the customer domain in the EFQM Excellence Model is effective in evaluating knowledge management and performance of organisations in the hotel industry (Liu and Ko 5). Evidently, the EFQM Excellence Model is versatile, in that, it requires modifications to suit various industries. While this article focused on knowledge management, other studies have focused on different domains, such as leadership, society, strategy, and people. In their study, Jankal and Jankalova established that the EFQM Excellence Model is dynamic and versatile in evaluating the performance of organisations for it assessed activities of social corporate responsibility (661). Thus, literature review holds that the EFQM Excellence Model is valid, reliable, and versatile in evaluating operations and outcomes of organisations in various sectors.
Main Contributions to Knowledge
The findings of the study have made significant contributions to the body of knowledge relating to knowledge management and total quality management. As the findings demonstrate that the process methodology and suppliers/partners are statistically significant predictors of knowledge, they contribute to knowledge management and total quality management. Moreover, the findings of the study that knowledge management significantly determines the occurrence of business outcomes have enhanced the understanding of key business outcomes. Schoten et al. recommend managers to apply the EFQM Excellence Model in improving organisational processes and performance (901). The existence of cause-effect relationships between endogenous and exogenous variables shows that the model is suitable for the analysis of organisational performance. In this view, the findings of the article reinforce the essence of the model in streamlining processes and operations.
Given that the article employed factors in a section of the EFQM Excellence Model, it shows that the horizontal component plays a critical role in knowledge management and the assessment of total quality management. According to Calvo-Maro et al., plans and actions designed to improve the performance of organisations are dependent on their cause-effect relationships (1649). The existence of synergies in activities, operations, and processes, as contemplated by the model, allows organisations to perform optimally. Hence, the model shows that the identification, generation, storage, and utilisation of knowledge comprise a streamlined process that boosts knowledge management and optimise achievements. As the article has demonstrated that knowledge management is key in achieving key business outcomes, organisations can now utilise it as a strategic weapon of promoting their competitiveness.
Calvo-Mora, Arturo, et al. “Project to Improve Knowledge Management and Key Business Results through the EFQM Excellence Model.” International Journal of Project Management, vol. 33, no. 8, 2015, pp. 1638-1651.
Dijkstra, Theo K., and Jörg Henseler. “Consistent Partial Least Squares Path Modeling.” MIS Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 2, 2015, pp. 297-316.
Jankal, Radoslav, and Miriam Jankalova. “The Application of the EFQM Excellence Model by the Evaluation of Corporate Social Responsibility Activities of Companies.” Procedia Economics and Finance, vol. 39, 2016, pp. 660-667.
Liu, Yung-Lun, and Pen-Fa Ko. “A Modified EFQM Excellence Model for Effective Evaluation in the Hotel Industry.” Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 2017, pp. 1–14.
Schoten, Steffie, et al. “The EFQM Model as a Framework for Total Quality Management in Healthcare: Results of a Longitudinal Quantitative Study”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 36 Issue: 8, 2016, pp. 901-922.
Suarez, Eva, et al. “A Structural Analysis of the EFQM Model: An Assessment of the Mediating Role of Process Management.” Journal of Business Economics and Management, vol. 15, no. 5, 2014, pp. 862-88.
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Suarez, Eva, et al. “Quantitative Research on the EFQM Excellence Model: A Systematic Literature Review (1991-2015).” European Research on Management and Business Economics, vol. 23, no. 3, 2017, pp. 147-156.