Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wholeben, Brent E.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Universities and colleges--Evaluation; Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award


Ronald Reagan signed the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act (Public Law 100-107), on August 20, 1987 creating the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and thereby honoring the Secretary of Commerce (1981 to 1987) for his managerial contributions to government. The U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), administers the award program funded by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In 1998, Bill Clinton signed legislation allowing education and health care institutions to enter the competition. In 1999, NIST introduced the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence (EC), using a modified version of the business framework. Winn and Cameron examined the validity of the Baldrige business framework at a single, large Midwest university and found nonsupport for the assumed Baldrige relationships. The current study explored the 2001–2003 EC causal model, compared regional accreditation criteria to the EC, and probed for complexity theory attributes using the following research hypotheses: (1) The BNQP framework (causal model) is applicable to higher education. (2) Regional accreditation criteria are similar to the BNQP EC. (3) Respondent colleges and universities exhibit characteristics of self-organizing systems. Item three arises from the current popularity of applying complexity theory to socio-cultural systems. Invitations were mailed to presidents at 566 colleges and universities offering at least one doctoral program. Of those, 135 institutions agreed to participate; 69 returned completed EC-based survey questionnaires, a 51% return rate. Significant phi and Kendall tau b correlation coefficients were analyzed using factor analysis since planned structural equation modeling could not be supported. However, study data do not support EC-depicted Baldrige relationships. EC Core Concepts and Values were compared to regional accreditation criteria. Using the EC as a reference standard, accreditation criteria were scored, results tallied in the aggregate, and means compared. Regional accreditation criteria were found to be significantly different from the EC. Six survey questions dealt with complexity theory. Kramer's V and Eta correlation coefficients, analyzed using a sign test, indicate that colleges and universities participating in this study do not exhibit key characteristics of self-organizing systems.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [84]-91).


xxiv, 258 pages




Northern Illinois University

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