Evaluating the impact of organizational self-assessment in higher education: The Malcolm Baldrige/Excellence in Higher Education framework

Brent D. Ruben, Travis Russ, Stacy M. Smulowitz, Stacey L. Connaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to summarize a series of studies conducted by the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership at Rutgers University from 2003-2005. Motivating these studies is the recognition that organizational self-assessment programs such as the Malcolm Baldrige program have achieved prominence and popularity. The paper seeks to focus on the value of the Baldrige program, and, more specifically, the impact of the Excellence in Higher Education (EHE) approach, an adaptation of the Malcolm Baldrige framework tailored specifically for colleges and universities. Design/methodology/approach - This paper reports on a two-phase investigation of six independent university departments that participated in separate Baldrige/EHE assessment workshops. Through a web-based survey and in-person interviews we were interested to discover participants' perceptions of the assessment process, the extent of knowledge acquisition, and extent of organizational change. Findings - Findings suggest that self-assessment does result in the acquisition of a knowledge and theory base; and leads to the identification of strengths and improvement needs. Results also indicate that in a majority of the departments, the assessment program initiated a genuine commitment to organizational change, one that led to a number of tangible improvements. Originality/value - Enhancing our understanding of the relationship between knowledge acquisition and change is one of the most fundamental and enduring pursuits of social science - one that is absolutely central to organizational development. This study provides an empirical investigation of how these dynamics operate during organizational self-assessment, an increasingly popular leadership tool for advancing institutions of all kinds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-250
Number of pages21
JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Baldrige Award
  • Higher education
  • Self assessment


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