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How DBA Candidates Use the Baldrige Excellence Framework

In a top DBA program, you can gain experience as a scholar-consultant using the Baldrige Excellence Framework as a pivotal resource to assess and improve an organization’s performance.

In organizational leadership, there is no magic formula that will ensure your success. Of course, that doesn’t mean that some strategies aren’t more helpful than others. One of the most beneficial? The Baldrige Excellence Framework.

Dr. Tammy Jameson

What Is the Baldrige Excellence Framework?

Developed in the 1980s and run as a public-private partnership through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Baldrige Excellence Framework is a time-tested system for organizational management. Rather than being prescriptive, the framework offers comprehensive guidelines and measurement tools designed to help organizations spur innovation, assess progress, and identify opportunities for improvement. The framework is centered on methods and strategies that make its implementation adaptable to organizations across sectors, including manufacturing businesses, small businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare providers.

How Does It Work?

The Baldrige Excellence Framework calls for a systems perspective—which means managing the components of an organization as a unified whole—when assessing seven critical categories shared by all organizations. These categories are:1

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

While organizations differ, all improve performance when interrelated core values and concepts are properly aligned with each of the seven critical categories. Aligning an organization’s core values and concepts is much more complex than simply conducting an assessment of the categories. According to the Baldrige Excellence Framework, to reach true excellence, an organization also needs to develop the core values and concepts that are most associated with the highest-performing organizations in your class.

These core values and concepts vary across organizational sectors. For instance, for educational institutions, the Baldrige Excellence Framework encourages the development of core values and concepts such as:1

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

For example, in the healthcare sector, the Baldrige Excellence Framework encourages the development of core values and concepts for healthcare organizations, but also focuses on patient-focused excellence, societal contributions, and community health. As a senior leader, understanding and adopting the best core values for the organization takes time and effort—as does aligning organizational goals across all critical categories outlined in the framework. However, senior leaders who learn how to apply the Baldrige Excellence Framework often realize positive results, which is why the framework is commonly used to analyze the connective tissue of an organization.

How Can You Master Its Use?

Learning about the Baldrige Excellence Framework is one thing but learning how to master its use takes a high level of training—the kind of training that you can only receive from a quality DBA program.

A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a research doctorate awarded on the basis of advanced study, examinations, project work, and research in business administration. Unlike a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree that is used to pursue a career in academia and conduct research that contributes to business theory, a DBA is a professional doctorate with a focus on theoretical knowledge and its use in business practice and application. Walden University’s DBA program includes an option to participate in a Consulting Capstone doctoral study that uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework as a lens to obtain a holistic view of an organization. In this capstone, DBA candidates are deemed scholar-consultants. As part of their research, scholar-consultants use the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria for Performance Excellence to help an organization solve a business problem.

This is exactly what Dr. Tammy Jameson did while participating in Walden’s DBA Consulting Capstone. Through the application of the framework, she helped a nonprofit organization improve key work processes, overcome strategic challenges, and increase overall performance. Dr. Jameson’s participation in the capstone project equipped her with the knowledge, confidence, and consulting experience needed to take her career to the next level.

It wasn’t only what she learned during her DBA Consulting Capstone experience that helped Dr. Jameson succeed. Walden’s online learning format was also essential in helping her achieve her goal. Like many working professionals, Dr. Jameson couldn’t simply pause her busy life in pursuit of a doctoral degree. She had to juggle the responsibilities of working full time, pursuing a doctoral degree, and devoting time to her family. Walden’s online DBA program gave her the opportunity to do just that, and it can do the same for you. That’s because when earning a DBA from Walden University, you have the flexibility and support needed to be successful in the program.

If you want to master the use of the Baldrige Excellence Framework and gain other top-tier organizational leadership skills, earning a DBA from Walden University is a great choice. Walden University offers an excellent online educational program that can make your dreams of obtaining a DBA your reality.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible online learning environment that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,