iQ Company

Overview of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is an annual Award to recognize U.S. companies for performance excellence.

The Award promotes:

  • understanding of the requirements for the performance excellence and competitiveness improvement
  • sharing of information on successful performance strategies and the benefits derived from using these strategies

The Award has three eligibility categories:

  • Manufacturing companies
  • Service companies
  • Small businesses
Companies participating in the Award process are required to submit application packages that include responses to the Award Criteria.

Two awards may be given in each category each year. Award recipients may publicize and advertise their Awards. Recipients are expected to share information about their successful performance strategies with other U.S. organizations.


The Award is based upon performance excellence criteria created through a public-private partnership. In responding to these criteria, each Award applicant is expected to provide information and data on the company’s improvement processes and results. Information and data submitted must be adequate to demonstrate that the applicant’s approaches are effective and could be replicated or adapted by other organizations.

The Award Criteria are designed not only to serve as a reliable basis for making Awards but also to permit a diagnosis of any company’s overall performance management system.


Applicants need to submit an application package that consist of three parts:

  • An Eligibility Determination Form showing that eligibility has been approved
  • A completed Application Form
  • An application report consisting of a Business Overview and responses to the Award Criteria.
These are available from the NIST.


Applications are reviewed and evaluated by members of the Board of Examiners in a four-stage process:

Stage 1 - independent review and evaluation by at least five members of the Board

Stage 2 - consensus review and evaluation for applications that score well in Stage 1

Stage 3 - site visits to applicants that score well in Stage 2

Stage 4 - Judges’ review and recommendations

Board members are assigned to applications taking into account the nature of the applicants’ businesses and the expertise of the Examiners. Assignments are made in accord with strict rules regarding conflict of interest.

Applications are reviewed by volunteers without funding from the United States government. Review expenses are paid primarily through application fees; partial support for the reviews is provided by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.


Each applicant receives a feedback report at the conclusion of the review process. The feedback is based upon the applicant’s responses to the Award Criteria.

Test Drive iQ Company's GroupKnowledge with the 1998 Baldrige Assessment Module.

© 1993-2018 iQ Company