Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department


Date of this Version

Fall 8-1993


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Major: Interdepartmental Area of Community and Human Resources Under the Supervision of Professor Allen G. Blezek


"More for less" has become the challenge for higher education in the 90's. Budgets in higher education are shrinking at unprecedented rates, programs and services are being cut, and morale is plummeting. As a result, administrators are looking for creative reforms as they try to maintain quality on smaller budgets. One such reform is Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM has been widely applied to business and industry and the spread of TQM has been encouraged by a government-supported competition based on quality called the Malcolm Baldrige Award. The Baldrige Award scrutinizes seven areas: leadership, information and analysis, strategic quality planning, human resource

utilization, quality assurance of services, quality results and customer satisfaction. The Baldrige Criteria have become the standard by which organizations assess quality through benchmarking in an ongoing effort to improve both processes and products. The purpose of this study was to determine benchmark perceptions, importance and resulting

difference personnel in non-academic departments place on meeting the seven areas of the Baldrige Criteria and reward. This study addressed the following research questions: What are personnel perceptions for each of the seven Baldrige criteria and reward? How much importance do personnel place on each of the seven Baldrige criteria and reward? What is the relationship between position (e.g., administrative, managerial and professional, and support staff), size of department, gender, age, years in position and perceptions, importance and difference for each of the seven Baldrige criteria and reward? Personnel in 29 departments across one campus of a midwestern university system were surveyed using the Quality Opportunity Index (QUOIN). The QUOIN instrument was constructed to address personnel perceptions, importance and difference of the seven areas of the Baldrige criteria and reward. Personnel at all levels were found to be interested in improving quality of services of their department and, therefore, working toward the Baldrige criteria. The greatest amount of opportunity for improvement in the quality climate was in the human resource utilization area. Further, reward was a concern for all employees but particularly for those in the 30 to 39 year old bracket. Females found greater opportunity for improvement than males in each of the seven Baldrige criteria areas. Because the study was conducted with nonacademic service personnel, it was recommended the study be replicated with academic personnel.