EFQM – in 3 minutes


The basics

The EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Excellence Model is a management framework for helping organizations in their drive towards excellence and increased competitiveness. The EFQM organization does not issue certificates of compliance but runs comprehensive awards and recognition programs for organizations of all sizes and sectors.

Target audience

People who are coordinating or leading improvement or change programs; people who are providing training, coaching or consultancy in EFQM.


The EFQM Excellence Model was introduced in 1992 as the framework for assessing organizations for the EFQM Excellence Award and is now the most widely used organizational framework in Europe, (more than 30.000 organizations use it). It is reviewed every three years; the current version was released in 2012. EFQM, based in Brussels, is its custodian.

The Model is a non-prescriptive framework based on nine key criteria. Five criteria are ‘Enablers’ (Leadership, People, Strategy, Partnership and Resources and Processes, Products and Services) and four are ‘Results’ (Customer Results, People Results, Society Results and Business Results). The ‘Enabler’ criteria cover what an organization does; the ‘Results’ criteria cover what an organization achieves.

efqmThe EFQM Model’s nine boxes represent the criteria against which to assess an organization’s progress towards excellence.

At the heart of the Model lies the logic known as RADAR, which consists of four elements:  Results, Approach, Deployment, Assessment and Review. These elements emulate and complete the basic elements of Deming’s Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle by adding specific details that are more comprehensive.

The Model is based on the premise that excellent results in Performance, Customers, People and Society are achieved through Leadership driving Policy and Strategy, which is delivered through People, Partnerships and Resources. It is used as a basis for self-assessment, an exercise in which an organization grades itself against the nine criteria. This exercise helps organizations to identify current strengths and areas for improvement against strategic goals. This gap analysis then facilitates definition and prioritization of improvement plans to achieve sustainable growth and enhanced performance.

Scope and constraints

The EFQM Excellence Model has an enterprise-wide scope. It takes a holistic view to enable organizations, regardless of size or sector to:

  • Assess where they are, helping them to understand their key strengths and potential gaps in performance
  • Provide a common vocabulary and way of thinking about the organization that facilitates the effective communication of ideas, both within and outside the organization.
  • Integrate existing and planned initiatives, removing duplication and identifying gaps.


  • It provides a holistic framework that systematically addresses a thorough range of organizational quality issues and also pays attention to impacts through the ‘Results’ criteria.
  • It provides a clear diagnosis of an organization’s activities and is useful for planning as it links what an organization does and what results it achieves, highlighting how they are achieved.


The Model is relatively difficult to implement. It generates benefits over a longer period of time; an overall organizational strategy on excellence needs to be adopted in order to achieve the benefits.

Want to know more?

EFQM_cover_v2.inddTitle: The EFQM excellence model for Assessing Organizational Performance
Author: Chris Hakes
ISBN: 9789087530273
Price: € 22,50
Order here your copy or view the sample file on our website

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