This paper investigates implementation issues of the Business Excellence Model and the self-assessment process from the management and the employee perspectives in a government organization in the United Arab Emirates. The organization under study is a portion of the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) and the large government organization is indicative of the indigenous organization. A multi-level case study approach has been applied with repeated in-depth interviews whereas managers and employees have been used in the study. The sample number managers are 12 whereas that of the employees is 96. This sample number has been used to explore implementation issues in all levels.
From the study conducted, a considerable variation in the implementation effectiveness in all levels in the organization has been realized. Limitation of the study included inadequate involvement and empowerment of lower level employees more so among the non-indigenous employees. This limitation resulted to lack of closure on corrective actions from self-assessment process. As acceptance of the business, improvement in the total quality management (TQM) was prevalent. The study confirmed that an increased cultural acceptance of the people development aspects is necessary. This study is useful and highly significant in business related studies. This is attributed by the fact that limited studies have been made on the multi-level critical studies that are focused on business excellence and self-assessment process in the Middle Eastern organization. The region that is more focused on critical cultural perspective in business irrespective of the substantial resources from the government in proposals like the DGEP, Dubai Government Excellence Programme.
Key Learning Points
• Excellence models: Applied as an approach of increasing competitiveness and reducing costs
• Culture- the knowledge and values that are shared by an organization
• Self-assessment- approach applied to gauge the abilities of an organization
Relevant Statement to the sessions
According to Samuelson and Nilsson in McAdam, Keogh, Adil & Gardiner (2), the European Quality Award of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award are the major applied models for quality awards and self-assessment. Excellence models according to the course work are essential in incorporating and assessing total quality management principles and practices in organizations. These models are the most internationally applied and proven excellence models, since they apply self-assessment process in different levels in the examination of the organizations against TQM-based model criteria. From the study, rigor is applied in all levels of the organization in evaluating the effectiveness of business excellence and self-assessment. This effectiveness is expressed in form of key success factors often determined by cultural and contextual settings in an organization. The Dubai version of the excellence model is DGEP, which is based on similar criteria with minor sub-criteria.
It is advisable for organizations to develop some cultural experience in TQM and ISO before introducing business excellence model for self-assessment (McAdam, Keogh, Adil & Gardiner 3). This is because it takes long for a business to benefit from the self-assessment process, which is vital in TQM. I have realized that cultural considerations are applied in business excellence implementation and self-assessment due to the widening geographical application of the model. From the study, it is necessary to examine further critically regional culture in relation to the business excellence as it greatly affects the organizational culture, a case similar to most of the organizations in the western world. When compared with TQM, ISO is more structured and top down, which is necessary in executing accounting uniformity in the region.
Self-assessment processes are necessary in an organization as it offers prospects for improvement, develop a focus on the TQM model, and guide the improvement process, offer new motivation for the improvement process (McAdam, Keogh, Adil & Gardiner 4). The process further offers novel motivation for management of the business, related self assessment in all levels is necessary to overcome misalignment and unsynchronized quality initiatives that could result to chaos, parallelism and loss of strategic direction (McAdam, Keogh, Adil & Gardiner 4). From the course work, aspects of motivation are multi-level and dependent on lower level employees while the techniques applied are majorly based on complexity and detail against simplicity and general approaches. In self-assessment, methods applied differ in form of top down against the empowered implementation ethos and include:
ii) Assessment workshops
iv) Award simulation
In the study, the prevalent approach was the top down approach, which was a reflection of the prevailing organizational culture.
Organizations are presently becoming more aware of the significance of self-assessment in influencing strategies in an institution. Previously managers have underestimated the potential of the self-assessment in organizational performance. However, this approach can be applied to monitor the activities to ensure that they are progressing, note the activities, which have stagnated, those that need to be improved, and the activities that are missing. Successful managers understand the meaning of self-assessment as a comprehensive, systematic, and regular review of the organizations’ activities and effects over the model of business excellence. These managers apply the strategy to discern critically, evaluate, and diagnose, the strengths and challenges of the organizations and areas that need improvements for improved actions.
Different approaches that can be used by the managers include workshops, proformas, questionnaires, award simulation, and submission, green and blue cards, reports, option finder, and adaptations of model. Questionnaires are used to evaluate the performance of the organization in every section and analyze results to determine effective actions. Manager to record their strengths, weaknesses, and actions for improvements using pro forma approach. Workshops are essential in gathering data and proofs for the previous actions and sets plans, which have been agreed upon. Matrix approach bears the achievement of every sector within the organization from a 1-10 scale of points. The scores are applied by the managers to evaluate the organizational processes. Award approach entails evidence from the site within the organization that is essential in assessment of the feedback received.
The decision to choose the desired approach is mainly based on the objectives of an organization and the level of maturity of the business excellence. Managers are advised to choose first a questionnaire before progressing to other mature and sophisticated approaches. The senior management should however be involved in all those decision making processes. Cross-sectional employees should be engaged with the application of the approaches for enhanced understanding of the issues within the organization. This application will further result to improved levels of buy-in actions. Senior management to make sensible decisions to assess their systems and performance using different approaches applies business excellence model. Managers should apply the model in realizing cohesive improvement strategy, which incorporates several improvement initiatives like statistical process control, and balanced scorecard. The model can additionally be applied as a dominating structure for managing and aligning organizational improvement initiatives.
McAdam Rodney, Keogh William, Adil Ahmed El Tigani & Gardiner Paul. An Exploratory Study of Business Excellence Implementation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 2012. 30(4):1-21