In the mid-1980s, U.S. leaders realized that American companies needed to focus on quality in order to compete in an ever-expanding, demanding global market.
Then-Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige was an advocate of quality management as a key to U.S. prosperity and sustainability. After he died in a rodeo accident in July 1987, Congress named the Award in recognition of his contributions.
The goal of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987 was to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. businesses. Its scope has since been expanded to health care and education organizations (in 1999) and to nonprofit/government organizations (in 2007).
Congress created the Award Program to
- identify and recognize role-model businesses
- establish criteria for evaluating improvement efforts
- disseminate and share best practices
As the drivers of long-term success have evolved, so, too, have the award and the Baldrige Framework and Criteria. Today, the Baldrige Award recognizes U.S. organizations that are role models for organization-wide excellence.