Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Jantti, MH, Minding your own business: can a business excellence framework translate to the education sector?, in Quality conversations: proceedings of the Annual Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Conference, 25th Annual International HERDSA Conference, Perth, 7-10 July 2002.


As the first education and training organisation to be recognised with an Australian Business Excellence Award in the Award’s 14 year history, the University of Wollongong Library has demonstrated how the principles of excellence can readily be translated to the education and service sector.

Many higher education institutions are planning or preparing for the audit process developed by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA). The audit process, particularly the internal self assessment will be firmly focussed on practices and processes aligned with the stated vision and mission of the institution; how plans and objectives are translated into operational activities; how performance indicators are determined and evaluated; and how improvements have been identified through a structured review process.

Identifying the relationships between stated goals or objectives and outcomes can be challenging, yet this is a critical component of a rigorous self evaluation process. Quality frameworks such as the Australian Business Excellence Framework provide a firm foundation on which all organisations, including those within the higher education sector, can effectively plan and carry out the internal assessment process.

Despite differences in goals or objectives, stakeholder expectations and deployment strategies and practices, organisations can benefit from assessment against business excellence principles by using a key dimensions model such as ADRI (Approach, Deployment, Results and Improvement.

The University of Wollongong Library’s experience of conducting structured reviews premised on the ADRI model has resulted in: improved clarity of goals and purpose; active involvement and participation of staff at all levels in achieving the mission of the organisation; innovative problem-solving; innovative services and programs; increased client and stakeholder satisfaction with Library services; and a collective responsibility and passion for ongoing success.