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Are You Interested in Implementing Business Excellence in Your Organisation? Get Your Organisational Excellence Architecture Right for Faster, Robust and Efficient Fulfilment – Atif Baig

This article introduces a novel concept of Organisational Excellence Architecture (OEA) require to implement Business Excellence (BE). OEA refers to the formal structure used to assist in the implementation of BE within an organisation. This support structure may consist of roles/responsibilities, resources, processes, assessment tools and rewards and recognition system that organisations put in place to implement and accelerate BE journey. To further investigate the components and importance of OEA in accelerating BE journey, a new PhD research has been initiated by The Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER) and Massey University, New Zealand. The outcome of the study will guide BE practising organisations on ‘how to’ implement and fast-track their BE journey in a robust and cost-efficient way.  Participating organisations will contribute to this research by completing an online survey followed by an optional structured interview. All participants will get a detailed report of this study which will help them to reflect on their existing OEA and to learn from the best practices on the successful implementation of BE.  

Background:

Agility, innovation, continuous improvement, and sustainable competitiveness are among the most used buzzwords of today’s corporate world. Organisations, irrespective of their size, nature of the business, geographical locations, eagerly wish to embed these superior traits in their organisation’s DNA. Additionally, due to severe competition in all aspects of business activity, organisations are compelled to continuously improve their processes, products, and services to survive and lead in markets where they operate.  In other words, these deliberate leadership efforts to become the best is business excellence (BE). Excellence is defined by the Global Excellence Model (GEM) Council as the ‘continuous improvement of outcomes to all stakeholders’.

BE practices provide organisations with structured guidance that enable them to assess their competitive strengths, derive and deploy their strategic plans and most importantly, identify opportunities to learn. Furthermore, as a management practice, BE helps organisations in developing and strengthening their management systems continually for sustainable performance and ultimately create value for stakeholders. BE models (BEMs) were introduced in the late 1980s and serves as a platform to define, develop, assess and achieve strategic objectives. BEMs such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA), European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) and their corresponding national awards provides a robust leadership and management system.  BEMs help organisations to pursue Excellence and provide a platform to quantify and measure Excellence maturity.  BE maturity can be explained as a state of a BE journey where organisations successfully embed Excellence in the organisations’ culture. A BE journey starts with an organisation’s informed decision towards quality and making firm commitments for Excellence. At the moment, there are 67 national quality awards (NQAs) used in 56 countries across the world.

Business Excellence Models and their significance

In the last three decades, BEMs and awards have contributed significantly to organisational performance. Key benefits of adopting any BEM includes; reputation, good governance, sustainability and profitability. BEM’s success, however, depends on how organisations implement their BE ambition and integrate ‘continuous improvement’ and agile thinking in their organisational systems. Additionally, implementation of BE is dependent on the strategic and logistical design of the organisation, and without holistically considering these factors, achieving the required objectives would be difficult. Some of these factors would involve internal structure settings such as: setting up BE improvement teams or steering committees; internal processes including communication process on BE related activities, undertaking BE assessments and conducting regular staff training.  Consequently, these initiatives lead towards achieving BE maturity.

Research Gap

Although there is a significant scholarly focus on BEMs, their application on different sectors and the subsequent impact on the organisational performance, there is no evidence of full-scale BE implementation studies on ‘how’ to accelerate and achieve BE maturity. Moreover, despite BEM’s result-oriented nature, BEMs do not prescribe and define the optimum organisational architecture to implement and embed a sustainable BE culture. BEMs only guide on what has to be done in the organisation to achieve BE but do not advise on implementation roadmap for a BE journey towards maturity.  Available BE literature acknowledges that there is no evidence of a full-scale BE implementation study on various stages of excellence journey.  Moreover, BEMs are only designed for assessment of award applications and therefore do have a non-prescriptive nature when it comes to guiding the organisation on how to establish a BE support structure to drive BE campaign. In result, there is a significant research opportunity to investigate this gap and develop a prescriptive framework to assist BE organisations to achieve the optimum organisational architecture and subsequently reach sustainable BE maturity.

Unpacking OEA –  Investigation of sufficient organisational support structure for BE implementation

The Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER), Massey University, New Zealand, has recently initiated exciting research on successful BE implementation. This research introduces a novel concept of organisational excellence architecture. OEA refers to the formal support structure used to implement BE within an organisation. The research aim is to investigate an optimum organisational infrastructure such as resources, internal supporting structure, processes and level assessment tools required to facilitate and accelerate an excellence journey to achieve maturity and a sustainable BE culture within the organisation. This study is an extension of COER’s existing research called  “Excellence Without Borders (EWB)”  and aims to examine global BE practices from an implementation perspective.

The main objective of the proposed research is to:

  1. To define organisational excellence architecture (OEA) required to achieve business excellence at different stages of excellence journey.
  2. To identify components of OEA.
  3. To establish if OEA is dependent on certain factors such as BE maturity, industry, size, sector, and urgency to implement BE.
  4. To develop a ‘how-to’ guide on OEA for each stage of the excellence journey.

Research Design

The research design for this project will involve an intensive literature review investigating previous productivity research, the research gaps, and identify the importance and current state of OEA from the participating BE organisations. Considering high practical relevance of this research project, The Global Excellence Model (GEM) Council (which consists of organisations that are recognised globally as the guardians of premier excellence models and award processes), has already approved and supported the proposed project.

Who can participate in this research:

Organisations that have reached a high level of maturity with regards to business excellence (award applicants and winners) are invited to participate through completing the survey with an optional opportunity to participate in follow-up structured interviews. The survey will introduce OEA to the participants and get their feedback on their respective OEA to drive a BE agenda within their organisations. This research has already approved and has support from the GEM Council, Global Benchmarking Network and New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation (NZBF). The study will be launched in October 2020 with an online survey.

Key benefits for participating organisations:

  1. Answering the survey questions will help organisations to reflect on their existing BE approach and assess the effectiveness of their respective BE structure.
  2. All participating organisations will receive a report of the survey findings enabling them to learn from best practices on how to introduce and accelerate their BE journey.

How to participate in this research?

If your organisation is following BE practices and at a high level of maturity (award applicants and winners), please join and participate in this research. Please email your interest and have any question to Atif Baig at a.baig@massey.ac.nz, we will contact you accordingly.