Perceived benefits of national quality awards: a study of UAE's award winning organizations
Purpose Although studies of national quality awards and their benefits in fostering organizational excellence are ample in many countries, such relevant studies are rare in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE launched its Business Excellence Awards for the private and public sectors almost two decades ago. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to shed light on benefits that UAE organizations have experienced through the Dubai Quality Award (DQA) and to understand the adoption of key DQA implementation factors. It also discusses implications and provides direction for future research. This study would be useful for managers considering whether to embark on the path of excellence through the DQA. Design/methodology/approach The purpose of this study is to explore the perceived benefits of participating in a quality award process. A total of 13 organizations that received the award between 2010 and 2013 are studied. This limit was set to include as many organizations as possible while not allowing too much time to have elapsed. Secondary data files were received from Department of Economic Development of Dubai. Data were registered in a MS Excel® spreadsheet by categorizing them according to the description of organizational practice, company name and industrial sector. These were then analyzed to extract the benefits and to capture lessons learned in the process. The data were also analyzed in the light of DQA criteria and key actions were recorded. Findings The study highlighted six major perceived benefits of quality awards in the UAE context and the results achieved by winning organizations on their journey of excellence. This study illustrates the enabler and results sides of the DQA in terms of perceived benefits. The analysis of winning organizations shows that a few sectors have been notably awarded. Although, winning organizations in the past four years fairly represent the trading, finance and retail sectors, the DQA is still not sufficiently utilized by all sector organizations. The represented sectors are mainly service-oriented and demonstrate that the key enabler, customer focus, has been given its due importance. As such, these organizations understand customer satisfaction, customer engagement and customer appreciation. Originality/value This is the first step toward an understanding of the current status of best practices of winning organizations on the road to business excellence through the DQA. This can be further developed by measuring business performances through other methods. This study provides an objective depiction of the current level of best practices and perceived benefits of the DQA. This study would be useful for managers considering whether to embark on the path of excellence through the DQA.