Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987

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The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987 is a United States public law, signed into law on August 20, 1987, with the stated purpose of establishing "a National Quality Improvement Award, with the objective of encouraging American business and other organizations to practice effective quality control in the provision of their goods and services."[1] Countries like Japan began putting focus on quality as a profession and a managerial process in the mid-twentieth century, and as a result, by the 1970's American manufacturing was put in a difficult position with the decline in price competition and increase in quality competition. The U.S.' industrial and government leaders finally recognized Japan's quality strategy[2], committing to a renewed emphasis on quality in order to stay relevant in an expanding and competitive world market.

Their answer was the establishment of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, named after former Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige, who championed deficiency of government.[3] The writers of the law envisioned that the award program would stoke American business "to improve quality and productivity for the pride of recognition while obtaining a competitive edge" and, in combination with efforts to establish and provide guidance to companies seeking such improvement while avidly recognizing those businesses who did well, make America more competitive and productive, improving the overall economy.[3] The responsibilities of the act today lie primarily with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with help from the American Society for Quality.

As of November 2017, 118 awards have been handed out to 110 organizations.[4]

Baldrige Excellence Framework

The NIST establishes and provides guidance to companies seeking quality improvement — and sets scoring and assessment standards for its awards — through its Baldrige Excellence Framework. The framework provides the criteria for performance excellence, lays out the core values and concepts associated with quality, and provides assessment rubric and scoring guidelines. The framework serves two main purposes: (1) to help organizations assess their improvement efforts, diagnose their overall performance management system, and identify their strengths and opportunities for improvement; and (2) to identify Baldrige Award recipients to serve as role models for other organizations. The NIST offers three sector-specific versions of the framework, for businesses and non-profits, the education sector, and the healthcare sector. In recent years, the NIST has added additional focus to risk assessment, including cybersecurity risk.[5]

The criteria for performance excellence are based on a set of core values:

  • Systems perspective
  • Visionary leadership
  • Customer-focused excellence
  • Valuing people
  • Organizational learning and agility
  • Focus on success
  • Managing for innovation
  • Management by fact
  • Societal responsibility
  • Ethics and transparency
  • Delivering value and results

The questions that make up the criteria represent seven aspects of organizational management and performance:

  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Customers
  • Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management
  • Workforce
  • Operations
  • Results


This article reuses a few elements from the related Wikipedia article.


  1. "H.R. 812 — 100th Congress: Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987". Civic Impulse, LLC. 1987. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  2. "Total Quality". Learn About Quality. American Society for Quality. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987". National Institute of Standards and Technology. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  4. "“Best of the Best” Win U.S. National Excellence Honor". U.S. Department of Commerce. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  5. "Baldrige Excellence Framework". National Institute of Standards and Technology. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.