The annual self-evaluation covers the following seven categories of criteria:
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recognizes U.S. organizations in the business, health care, education, and nonprofit sectors for performance excellence. The Baldrige Award is the only formal recognition of the performance excellence of both public and private U.S. organizations given by the President of the United States. It is administered by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which is based at and managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Up to 18 awards may be given annually across six eligibility categories—manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and nonprofit. As of 2010, 91 organizations had received the award.
The Baldrige National Quality Program and the associated award were established by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987. The program and award were named for Malcolm Baldrige, who served as United States Secretary of Commerce during the Reagan administration, from 1981 until Baldrige's 1987 death in a rodeo accident. In 2010, the program's name was changed to the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program to reflect the evolution of the field of quality from a focus on product, service, and customer quality to a broader, strategic focus on overall organizational quality—called performance excellence.
The award promotes awareness of performance excellence as an increasingly important element in competitiveness. It also promotes the sharing of successful performance strategies and the benefits derived from using these strategies. To receive a Baldrige Award, an organization must have a role-model organizational management system that ensures continuous improvement in delivering products and/or services, demonstrates efficient and effective operations, and provides a way of engaging and responding to customers and other stakeholders. The award is not given for specific products or services.
The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence serve two main purposes: to identify Baldrige Award recipients that will serve as role models for other organizations and to help organizations assess their improvement efforts, diagnose their overall performance management system, and identify their strengths and opportunities for improvement. In addition, the Criteria help strengthen U.S. competitiveness by
* improving organizational performance practices, capabilities, and results
* facilitating communication and sharing of information on best practices among U.S. organizations of all types
* serving as a tool for understanding and managing performance and for guiding planning and opportunities for learning
The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence provide organizations with an integrated approach to performance management that results in
* delivery of ever-improving value to customers and stakeholders, contributing to organizational sustainability
* improved organizational effectiveness and capabilities
* organizational and personal learning