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The European Framework for Quality Management Essay

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Updated: Jul 9th, 2020

This paper attempts to explore the principles and practical perspectives of the European Framework for Quality Management (EFQM). The recently published sources concerning the use of this excellence model for self-assessment and quality awards are presented and discussed in the paper focusing on general data as well as that specific to the UAE.


As pointed out in the article by Shaw, European Framework for Quality Management was inspired by the Baldridge Awards initiated in the United States (171). While the latter was designed for the production businesses primarily, the business excellence model and the EFQM are more relevant for the organizations focused on the service provision and direct work with people. The EFQM focuses on several main spheres specific to the service-focused industries; among them, there are the administration, people management, customer satisfaction, and results. One of the most distinct features of the EFQM is what Shaw refers to as “a graphic conceptual framework” (171).

This framework was revised in 1999. The developments within the EFQM and its adjustments to the contemporary environments are driven by the organizations that use it for the assessment of their own quality. Some of the spheres that use it the most include education, healthcare, and hospitality. The EFQM has served as a source of some other national awards and excellence models developed by individual countries, in particular, the ones of the Scandinavian area (Shaw 171).

European Framework for Quality Management (EFQM)

The paper by Suarez, Roldan, and Calvo-Mora aims to identify “how the critical total quality management (TQM) factors present in the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model make up a management system” (862). The study connects the organization design and the implementation strategy to the outcomes presenting the model as a management system. The authors find that the EFQM is beneficial as it effectively measures progress, create a functioning management system. Besides, it combines such factors as strategy, resource management, and alliances facilitating the impact on the end result.

Application in Healthcare

A study conducted in Germany finds that EFQM allows creating a competitive advantage for the healthcare facilities based on the excellence improvement by means of peer auditing and self-assessment (Moeller 48). That way, the main benefit of EFQM is the focus on the staff’s self-awareness and the establishment of methods of personal evaluation and assessment among peers. This approach allows the employees to monitor their own performance quality and provides timely feedback to one another in order to influence the quality of the peers’ performance.

In turn, the advantage of this focus is not only the optimization of the employees’ productivity and efficiency but also the improvement of cooperation, collaboration, and communication that is likely to activate new resources and bring out the opportunities and benefits that were overlooked earlier such a teamwork, mutual help, group management, and delegating.

Sánchez, Letona, González, García, Darpón, Garay review thirty-one healthcare institutions of various kinds describing and evaluating the implementation of the EFQM and find that funding for the training of staff and the application and optimization of the quality systems are crucial as the determinants of success (64). Moreover, the continuity of practice helps the implementation to achieve higher levels of success. Therefore, EFQM employment may be a lengthy process depending on the level of improvement expected and the objectives set. As a result, the successful implementation of EFQM requires dedication and integrity of the executives and managers of all levels, as well as the operations staff.

Shaw informs about the patient and staff satisfaction improvements available due to the implementation of the EFQM in healthcare organizations (171). That way, this model’s main benefit is its orientation to the people (both customers and employees) which makes it the most appropriate to the customer-focused industries. In addition, it is also important to point out that fact that the competency and credibility of the professionals presenting their assessment of the performance of the other employees is a highly important factor that lies at the very basis of the reliability of the results that are to serve as the ground for change (Shaw 172).

In Education

The EFQM excellence model self‐assessment is helpful when it comes to the creation of a customer‐oriented culture in the institutions of higher education (Hides, Davies, and Jackson 200). The authors emphasize that the contemporary stakeholders demand that the higher education institutions conduct their professional activities in a more business-life fashion improving their cost-effectiveness and focusing on the customers’ needs (Hides, Davies, and Jackson 198). Outlining the key competencies for the self-assessment and establishing an active system of feedbacks was the primary step of the process. The choice of the self-assessment framework was the main challenge. Besides, the authors noted that the private sector found itself under much more pressure to improve its services compared to public sector (Hides, Davies, and Jackson 200)

Masrah, Murad, Jabar and Haizan Nor conducted an empirical testing of the effect made by the information systems on the EFQM criteria in the Higher Education Institutions. The researchers employed a questionnaire survey in order to collect the data from over a hundred of higher education facilities in Malaysia and found several connections and effect.

First of all, the information systems are positively impacted by leadership changes; and in turn, information systems produce positive effects on the organizational strategy and the formation and implementation of policies, resource management, and inter-organizational partnerships (Masrah, Murad, Jabar and Haizan Nor 998). At the same time, the link between the information systems and people and process management in terms of positive effect was not detected.

The study by Zad, Sekkeh, and Asadi presents an interesting research that evaluates the relationship between quality excellence and the emotional intelligence of the staff using the EFQM model. The researchers found out that the organizational excellence is directly dependent on such qualities as self-consciousness, self-control, empathy, and social skills to name a few (Zad, Sekkeh, and Asadi 385). One may conclude that the process and performance management based on the implementation of EFQM can be related to the same qualities as the successful self-assessment can be performed only by the managers and employees with a high level of self-motivation and self- awareness which comprise the emotional intelligence.

The research conducted by Anastasiadou and Zirinoglou presents a “deeper analysis of the embedded interactions among “enablers” criteria of EFQM model” that is based on the views and perceptions of the primary education teachers from Greece (418). The study attempted to detect the connections between the enabler criteria and found that leadership produces a significant influence on policy, staff management, resources and cooperation, and strategy (Anastasiadou and Zirinoglou 424). The authors make a conclusion that the role of leadership in the sphere of education is the most crucial determined of the implementation of excellence models and the improvement of the service quality and customer satisfaction.

In Hospitality

Camison reviews EFQM implementation in the hospitality sector and notices that it allows comparing the views of quality performance from the points of view of the hotel managers and guests (200-201). This assessment helps the service providers to improve their work and eliminate the gap in perceptions increasing the level of customer-satisfaction. In the sphere of hospitality, the perception of the clients is the main determiner of excellence and the success of a business. This factor has been mentioned in the review of the sources related to the sphere of education where the researchers agreed that the stakeholders’ opinion on the service quality is one of the major drivers for the implementation of the excellence improvement strategies and models.

The research conducted by Benavides-Chicón and Ortega attempted to identify the link between productivity and the performance quality in the sector of hospitality (165). In this study, the EFQM model was employed for a purpose to determine how the factors altering the performance quality correlate with the labor productivity. It turned out that the connection was direct which allowed the authors to make a conclusion that the implementation of the total quality management principles increases the productivity in the sphere of hotel business (Benavides-Chicón and Ortega 172).

Application in the UAE

The study by McAdam, Keogh, El Tigani, and Gardiner focused on the research of the implementation issues of an excellence model developed for Dubai but based on those of Europe; the effectiveness of the excellence was correlated with the self-assessment involving the employees of various levels (427). This issue is valuable for the UAE organizations willing to achieve international levels of quality for the expansion of their business. The study reviews the problem of the cultural context because based on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the Middle Eastern organizational culture differs significantly from that of Europe (McAdam, Keogh, El Tigani, and Gardiner 430).

As a result, these aspects became the determiners for the new excellence evaluation model adjusted for the UAE. Overall, top-down approach was the key to each assessment element and negatively affected the quality at the bottom levels.


The EFQM model provides a set of criteria for the quality self-assessment and improvement for a variety of organizations. The model is majorly oriented to the sphere of services and it highly suitable for the organizations operating in service-focused industries such as education, healthcare, and hospitality. The EFQM focuses on the evaluation of leadership involvement, policy and strategy, customer satisfaction, staff management, and results to name a few.

The literature reviewed in this paper was deliberately collected based on the industries and the diverse geography in order to cover the experiences and opinions concerning the implementation and effect of the EFQM all around the world. Interestingly, even though the reviewed model is based on the European quality standards and excellence expectations, the studies conducted in non-European areas (such as Asia, for example) never mentioned a crucial factor such as the cultural compatibility of the model and an organization. The only study that focused on this subject was the one held in the UAE where the EFQM model had to be adjusted in order to match the cultural context of the workplace. In my opinion in the contemporary globalizing world, the narrow cultural focus is the primary disadvantage of the EFQM.

Implementing such a tool in a private organization, I would focus on such areas as customer satisfaction (correlating the expectations of the clients and the quality delivered), staff management (the optimization of operations and the increase of cost-effectiveness impacting productivity). Another crucial focus area is policy and strategy as it is a key to cost-effective organization and is directly connected to resource management.

All in all, these aspects are interrelated and have a strong influence on one another. The area that impacts all the other ones is leadership and it has the capacity to regulate the whole process of implementation, and therefore, influence its outcomes. Leadership is to be integrated into the excellence assessment and improvement on every dimension taking into consideration the data collected from the employees of each level.

The modern information technology is highly useful when implementing a tool such as the EFQM because it allows making the evaluation and assessment process faster. Collecting data for the EFQM framework, the organization is to determine the main focus areas and the key competencies correlating with its mission, vision, ethics, and goals. Further, the assessment criteria are to be outlined to serve as the basis for the self-assessment tool.

It is also important to mention that the team in charge of the excellence assessment process is comprised of the competent professionals with high credibility in order to avoid misinterpretation of the data and implications. The information technologies may serve as an optimal tool for the data collection and processing based on various algorithms. Besides, information technologies would allow the businesses the present the results in an accessible and highly demonstrative manner (tables, charts, schemes) clarifying the areas of strengths and weaknesses.

Works Cited

Anastasiadou, Sofia D., and Poulcheria A. Zirinoglou. “EFQM Dimensions in Greek Primary Education System.” Procedia Economics and Finance 33 (2015): 411-431. Print.

Benavides-Chicón, Carlos Guillermo, and Bienvenido Ortega. “The Impact of Quality Management on Productivity in the Hospitality Sector.” International Journal of Hospitality Management 42 (2014): 165-173. Print.

Camison, César. “Total Quality Management in Hospitality: An Application of The EFQM Model.” Tourism Management 17.3 (1996): 191-201. Print.

Hides, Michael Trevor, John Davies, and Sue Jackson. “Implementation of EFQM Excellence Model Self‐Assessment In The UK Higher Education Sector – Lessons Learned From Other Sectors.” The TQM Magazine 16.3 (2004): 194-201. Print.

Masrah, Ismail, Azrifah Azmi Murad, Marzanah A. Jabar and Rozi Nor Haizan Nor. “The Effect of Information Systems Criterion on the EFQM Model in Institutions of Higher Education.” American Journal of Applied Sciences 12.12 (2015): 993-999. Print.

McAdam, Rodney, William Keogh, Adil Ahmed El Tigani, and Paul Gardiner “An Exploratory Study of Business Excellence Implementation In The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Public Sector.” International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management 30.4 (2013): 426-445. Print.

Moeller, Johannes. “The EFQM Excellence Model. German Experiences with the EFQM Approach in Health Care.” International Journal for Quality in Health Care 13.1 (2001): 45-49. Print.

Sánchez, E., Letona, J., González, R., García, M., Darpón, J., Garay, J. “A Descriptive Study of the Implementation of the EFQM Excellence Model and Underlying Tools in the Basque Health Service”. International Journal for Quality in Health Care 18.1 (2006): 58-65. Print.

Shaw, Charles D. “External Quality Mechanisms for Health Care: Summary of the Expert Project on Visitatie, Accreditation, EFQM and ISO Assessment In European Union Countries.” International Journal for Quality in Health Care 12.3 (2000): 169-175. Print.

Suarez, Eva, José L. Roldan, and Arturo Calvo-Mora. “A Structural Analysis of The EFQM Model: An Assessment of the Mediating Role of Process Management.” Journal of Business Economics and Management 15.5 (2014): 862-885. Print.

Zad, Hossein Peymani, Seyed Mehdi Hosseini Sekkeh, Neda Asadi. “A study on the relationship between emotional intelligence and organizational excellence based on EFQM model in Physical Education Offices and Sport Committees of Northern Khorasan province.” Life Science Journal 10.5s (2013): 382-386. Print.

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