All entries for October 2009

October 25, 2009

CBE review

  Creating Business Excellence is the first module that I study in my postguaduate year. As is ends this week, it s time to review this module.

  CBE is a module based on the EFQM. It introduces different approaches that modern companies use. In this module, We ve got the knowledge of TQM, Deming's Cycle, Organisational Learning and so on. Some of them have been well known by us while most of them are new. No matter they are new or old, they are useful excellence models. 
  By learning these approaches, we can have a clear idea of which parts we should consider when working in a company or run a company ourselves. Also, they cover many PESTEL aspects in many countries. That is to say, we can use them in different countries. For instance, TQM can be used in every country because quality is crucial for every company in the world. ISO is an existing widely used approach, even many inglorious Chinese companies meet the ISO standard. Therefore, no matter these models have been succeeded in Japan, the US or UK, we can use them in China, India, Sri Lanka. Finally, as we can use them everywhere, these models have high adaptability. We can change, add or subtract some categories inside them to make better use of them. For example, in China, we can add 'Guan Xi' as one of the Enablers. In N Korea, we can delete Process and Key Performance. As they can adapt everwhere, once we chooose the best one, we can make them serve us.

  This is my review of CBE. Any comments are welcome!

October 24, 2009

Does culture really matter?

  Today, in class, my classmates had a discussion about cultre in a business context. What they were emphasising, is does culture really matter when choosing a business excellence model. I also find this is interesting.

  I cant remember what Internation Business told me in udergraduate clearly, but it told me it really matters. For a CEO who wants to expand his business world, he should have some research about the culture, politic environment and so on in that country. Once he decides to go, he should adapt the culture, customer, and people's feeling in that country. If not, he would fail. I remember the example on that book clearly. A company which prodices washing powder failed in Saudi Arabia. The cause is its outdoor advitisement. On that picture, 'before' is on the left and 'after' is on the right. However, in Saudi Arabia, people are reading from right to left. Thats why, this company would fail.

  Another example is from an artical I read a couple of years ago, which is about Google China. The arical said, the China branch of Google uses the same mode as the Us', which is relaxing and creativity encouraged. Therefore, those talents can have a excellent working environment and bring so much profit to Google.

  I use the examples above to show my opinion. I think culture really matters, because it can affect the usage of the excellence models. However, the excellence models are just tools, they have different factors that we can use to adapt the cultre. It is true that some companies  using some excellence models in another countryes failed, but it is because they can;t adapt themselves into those countries. If those companies can chang some function or some contents in the factors in  implementation, they might work well. Google's example is not a specal one, because all its welfare given to the employees are well fitted the Chinese culture. It is not a copy of what is uses in the US, but a more considerate for Chinese employees. Threrfore, it can succeed in China. Again, culture matters the implementation of excellence models, but we must adapt them into a new culture and country, or we can die.

Control from the bottom?

Yesterday when Paul was talking about OL, he introduced a way for CEO to control the managers and workers from the bottom, which is quite interesting. The reason is, usually, in an organisation, the CEO is on the top to manage the managers and workers. Based to the ratio of people's  quantity of these three positions, such organisation is like a pyramid. However, Paul said, being a CEO, we should make ourselves to the bottom of this pyramid, to listen to our managers and workers. If the organisation operates like this, I think this pyramid is up side down, and workers are on the top of this shape.

This sounds inspiring but when it is in implementation it often fail. We cannot always see that in a company the managers and CEO liesten to the lower workers. Instead, many companies use the tradiditional administrate way, juse as the normal pyramid. 

I think the reason why such an ideal approach cannot be widely used is, first, it is human nature that we have the sense of power and selfishness. In a company, everyone is waiting for the chance to be the CEO, and they compete with each other, therefore, they dont have too much time to cooperate or listen to others. I think this is quite understandable because we are all selfish. Most of things we do is for ourselves and our family. We have to fight for our fame and keep them long live. Therefore, if a CEO uses the up side down pyramid, he might feel tough to keep his position. So he would like to control his staff. Second, the result is hard to predict. Just like many politics riots for every year, the usage of this up side down pyramid might bring disasters. So many CEO would rather use a control policy in the company rather than democratic way. Who knows will the employees take over me one day?

  So I think in a company, we can have a balance of these two pyramids. If some issues are about the long term strategy that relate to the future, I think it should be a noremal pyramid because managers and CEO have a longer and wider view of such issues. In routine, people in management level, especially managers, should use the up side down one. Because lower workers have better experience on the operation and they can give constructive and advantaged advise to the company. Further, I think the CEO should be powerful enough, especially in psychological way. He should konw when should be 'hard' and when should be 'soft'. if anything wrong happens, he can give timely feedback and deal with the error. Thus I think a balance should be taken here.  

October 22, 2009

The implementation fo Measurement of Result

Today we had a presentation about The Measurement of Result. The presentation was good because it represented the fantastic approaches to measure of the results and they seemed to be useful.

However, I'd like to say sth about the fact of implementation, or the application of the measurement approaches. From my experience of working in music industry and education agency, those perfect approaches, actually, not used in many industries. In fact, many companies are still using what we need to crtique in the topic. I think the reason is related to the company's size and what it does in the industry.

 Take my experience of working in an education agency as an example. Our boss has targeted performance for every employees. These targets are about how many contracts we can sign with our customers. In other words, it means how much profit that we should make for the company. What's more, these targeted amount is based on the same period last year. As the market is expanding, the targets are usually higher than the same period last year. So the result is, my colleagues have to work overtime and even at weekends, because if the targets are achieved, they will lose the bonus.

  The same situation appears at the music company I used to work in. I can always hear the marketing department people complain the heavy load work of promoting the new releases. If the new releases cannot reach the targeted sales, then they will also lose so much bonus, and then have to promote another new artist, then worry about the sales...Just like a a vicious circle¡£

  After doing this project, I cannot stop thinking, how many companies and people are facing the same situation I' ve ever faced? Are there any problems in introducing such approaches? and do we have a more fittable approach for them?

  Well, from my existing experience, I think the size and the industry can affect the result of the measurements.

  There are not so many large size companies in the world, most of them are middle and small size companies. From my experience, size decides the resources. Such companies might not have the same financial power, the equivalent human resource etc. as those famous companies. Therefore, the implementation of the perfect measurement approaches might not be used, or used not perfectly. The most obvious is finance. For a small companies, they cannot afford the relatively high cost on introducing some models like Scorecard. Such models are consuming. Thus these companies are using the traditional, and 'bad' mean, paired comparison. This mean looks stupid and out of date, but it is still used in many small companies. The boss uses it to motivate his employees. Though it is not systematic, bias and logical, many bosses prefer it because it is the straight way that they can achieve the more profit. This might not be accurate, but at least is what I experienced before.

  Another point I think about is the industry a company is in. I find that MBE's courses are mainly about manufacturing and it is more like an MBA course. Therefore these measurement approaches are quite related and useful for factories and some suppliers. However, in some industries, such approaches are not used and they have their own approaches. For music industry, we compare the sales of the artists in the same level internally and externally. The period is even shorter because some artists can fade after one week of his new release. Therefore, we actually have paired or dimensional comparisons. Also we compare the historical data of sales. This look even worse, but quite useful and straight for our future works. As a result, those measurement approaches cannot be fully used because they don¡¯t fit the criteria of this industry.

  In final part, I think we¡¯d be taught some more comprehensive models that fit different industries. Also, I think the project topics should be more involved case study, so that we can be more professional in what we will do in the future. If I can luckily research in this field, I will devote myself to get a new model for small size companies. We don¡¯t have so many large ones!

October 21, 2009

Some viewpoints of OL 2

In my opinion, every organisation can ba treated as a ' learning orgaisation'. The world is changing rapidly. If u dont wanna develpo ur organisation by obsorbing, analysing and learning new knowledge, ur organisation might close down soon. Of course, if ur organisation is a monopoly or u dont wanna have ur organisation a long life, please ignore what has been said above.

Paul askes for what I find important by researching this topic. Well, the content in last entry is just what I will mention tomorrow. Here let me talk about it a little deeper.

The words I posted last night were the key points of OL. From them I can see OL is a useful and supportive tool to support EFQM. It focuses on people's management and devlopment,   provides systematic and logical ways to organisations to train their staff for better self assessment, and can bring changes to an organisation. Therefore, OL is a 'must have' for every company.

However, Foil and Lyles gave us a graph said it s not true that the more OL used the more the company can develop in 1985. I think it s quite right. Just like the relationship between chocolate and meals. Chocolate can give you new tastes rather than food and sometimes it can help you. But, it is not the main food we should eat. If we eat too much Chocolate, our health can also be very bad. So, we should have a balance on chocolate and meals. The same as OL and EFQM.

Though OL is not a new topic for business world nowadays, it is still worth talking about. How can we assess our organisation performance with the help of OL, how can we balance it with EFQM, and how can we use the extend konwledge of OL for better performance  can spend us a lot to research. This is what I think finally.

October 20, 2009

Some viewpoints of OL

From my research, McAdam has no summary of OL. Instead, he just says OL is a context with LO. Therefore, i doubt that if this summary really exists.

From Foild and Lyles in 1985, actually, there are many versions of  definition of OL and none of them are widely accepted by people. This is quite disappointing, but gives me a broader way to research. After reading papers from  McAdam, Foild and Lyles and some other authors, I finally can give a brief answer to the project


People development and involvement
Management by processes and facts
Continuous learning, innovation and improvement
Leadership and constancy of purpose
Results orientation

Key Values

Continual learning
Using tacit knowledge and experience
Shared vision
Multi dimensional (strategic) goals
Permanent changes


Concreting experience;
Observing and reflecting the hypothesis
Testing in future action
Gaining new experiences
Creating and conducting consensus assessments
Finalising the feedbacks
Repeating learning


Training assessors
Matching outcomes and assumptions
Getting results

How it Supports EFQM

Systematic problem solving
Experimenting with new approaches
Learning from one¡¯s experience
Learning from other experience
Transferring knowledge
People Management

•1. Fiol.M and Lyles. M. 1985. Organizational Learning. The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 803-813. Published by: Academy of Management. Accessed at on Oct. 18
•2. McAdam. R. and Leonard. D. 2003. Impacting organizational learning: the training and experiences of quality award examiners and assessors. Journal of European Industrial Training. Vol. 27. No. 4 (2003), pp 16-21. Published by MCB UP Ltd. Accessed at icles/0030270102.html. on Oct 16
•3. McAdam. R. Leitch.C. and Harrison.R. 1998. The links between organisational learning and total quality: a critical review. Journal of European Industrial Training. Vol. 22. No.2 (1998), pp 47-56. Published by MCB UP Ltd. Accessed at icles/0030220201.html on Oct 16
•4. Withey. E. 2005. Guide Summary. Accessed at on Oct 17
•5. Templeton. G, Schmidt. M and Taylor. S. 2009. Managing the diffusion of organizational learning behavior. Information Systems Frontiers. Vol. 11 ,  No. 2  (April 2009), pp: 189 ¡§C 200.   Published by Kluwer Academic Publishers. Accessed at on Oct 15

October 13, 2009

Some 'first round' view points

It is always exciting to learn something new. Today it is ISO and Excellence Model.

First let¡¯s talk about ISO. From Russell in 2000, ISO is an organisation that sets some quality standards for the products of companies to achieve. Therefore we have ISO 9000:2000, ISO 14000 and so on. What is more, the scope is quite narrow. ISO just concerns on the TQM system and the quality of the product. In other words, if your products can meet the ISO standard, you can apply for an accreditation for them. More from Russell, ISO just works internally in the EFQM, which means ISO can be a part of EFQM. Thus ISO cannot really help a company to improve itself. It can just give customers more confidence and company more profit.

From the EFQM website, the Excellence Model is a framework that helps a company to self-access based on mainly nine criteria. People divide the nine criteria into Enablers and Results. Enablers can cause Results and managers should monitor the Results, respond to the feedbacks and then improve the services, strategy and so on. The range of Excellence Model is quite wide and many aspects in a company are involved in it. The model can affect every part of a company and can bring a storm to it. However, if a company can use it well, it can keep improving for a long time and live a long life.

From Karapetrovic in 2001, ISO needs auditing, both internal and external. Auditing is a systematic process to evaluate a company¡¯s economic, quality and some other aspects to give results to the stakeholders (RAFFA P.C. 2003). It needs people from outside the company to find any problems, mainly in economy and quality. Also a company can have a department to be in charge of auditing. Auditing is a popular action for many companies to find any internal problems nowadays. Self-assessment is more like a DIY process. Managers get feedbacks from consumers and then give advise to the CEO to improve the company.       Auditing can be done once or twice a year while self-assessment can be used once a month. These two approaches are different.

The strengths of ISO are (Monsted and Fons, 2002): 1. it can promise a high quality company or product. It provides guidance of all aspects to a company and help the company how to reach a high quality. Once the company follows the conditions of ISO, it can achieve the ISO standards and make itself famous. 2. It can make the product perfect, to ensure high quality for customers. Therefore the company can make more profit. The weaknesses are: 1. the company might just concern on the accreditation but not a long term improvement of quality. The company can just make good quality goods this month for applying ISO accreditation, but once it is done, it might remain the same. Thus ISO is not very secure. 2. ISO might cheat the customers. Some products have ISO accreditation but actually its product line is not qualified at all. Thus this might cheat the customers but for the company itself, it can lead to a disastrous future. 3. Some corruption or immoral situation can be been. Some company really needs an ISO accreditation and the managers might use some immoral ways to treat the people from third-party and get what they want. This sounds terrible, but it really happens.

The strengths of Excellence Model are: 1. It is an interactive model that many people can take part in. Since managers should get feedbacks from Results, many people will involve and gives the company more contribution. 2. The model can be kept using and keeps the company alive. The model is just like a rolling ball keeps running. Once a company starts using this model, it can use it for life time and keep fulfilling itself. Therefore, unlike ISO standards, Excellence Model will never be out of date. Nevertheless, the model also has some weaknesses: 1. Too much resource is involved. Using Excellence Model is not a piece of cake, it needs all departments cooperate with each other and it is costly. Once the model is failed, the company cannot afford the loss. 2. Self-assessment can be failed. The Results can give wrong information. If the managers receive the wrong message and make wrong justices to the Enablers. Then, the result is dangerous. So this should be aware of.

My view points are not completed and there might be some mistakes. So please tell me any mistakes and give me some advice about this topic. Thank you.


1. Russell. R. 2000. ISO 9000:2000 and the EFQM Excellence Model: competition or co-operation? TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT, VOL. 11, NO. 4/5&6, S 657- S 665. Accessed at http:// on Oct. 12. 2009

2. EFQM. 2009. The EFQM Excellece Model.

3. Karapetrovic.S. 2001. Audit and self-assessment in quality management: comparison and compatibility. Accessed at http://www.emeraldinsight.comInsightViewContentServlet;jsessionid=76EC0E181838508D859F6DC0107131F0Filename=PublishedEmeraldFullTextArticlePdf0510160605.pdfon Oct 13.

4. RAFFA P.C.2003. HANDOUT 3. http://www.cof.orgfilesDocumentsEducation_CollaborationsAudit%20Conference%20Call%20Handouts3_Levels_of_Attestation_Services_Defined-HANDOUT_3.pdf on Oct 13

5. Monsted.M and Fons.T, 2002. A comparative assessment of the EFQM Excellence model and the ISO 9001:2000. Accessed at http://pandcomm.irdownloadpdfcomparative%20assessment%20of%20EFQM%20and%20ISO.pdfon  Oct 13

October 11, 2009


Hi everyone nice to meet u guys!

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