The growing importance and considerable prestige that quality awards hold have encouraged firms to adopt “excellence models” as evaluation frameworks for organisational self‐assessment. This has contributed to the spread of a specific form of self‐assessment logic: primarily, the search for conformity to a set of non‐prescriptive requirements that reflect validated, leading‐edge management practices; secondarily, the search of alignment of practices with organisational needs and business factors. But the adoption of this kind of self‐assessment is not necessarily the proper “choice”, particularly for small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). This paper examines the nature of the diagnostic processes incorporated in award‐based self‐assessment and in other diagnostic models developed in the organisational literature. This analysis provides the foundation for the development of a classification matrix that enables us to differentiate five self‐assessment approaches (paradigmatic, normative, situational, normative‐situational, and open), which can be implemented either with a process‐based or a non‐process‐based analytical frame. On the basis of this matrix we outline a “conceptual map” that could help SMEs in questioning the meaning and substance of “organisational self‐assessment” so as to choose knowingly and rationally frameworks and diagnostics instruments.
International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 1, 2003
Keywords: Self assessment; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; Business excellence; Diagnostic testing
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