Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Kai Yang


Each country, represented by its government, aims to serve its citizens better. This is achieved by better utilization of resources and higher productivity. The ability to do so will lead to a competitive nation. Recently, countries were able to compare themselves in terms of competitiveness using international indexes and references. These references gave countries a benchmark to know where they exist compared to other nations. They help governments to understand their strengths and weaknesses within the competitiveness components. However, nations differ in the actions which are to be taken in order to improve their competitiveness. Governments establish and regulate many programs and initiatives to improve areas of weaknesses.

On one hand, a nation's competitiveness is a result of the competitiveness of its organizations. On the other, many governments have established quality awards (or performance excellence awards) to improve their organizations in different industries and to help these organizations to become more competitive. However, these two facts lead to the question: how can a quality award model help nations to improve their national competitiveness among other countries?

This study identified the link between national competitiveness and organizational competitiveness. National competitiveness is defined by the elements of the Global Competitiveness Index report issued by the World Economic Forum. Organizational competitiveness is defined by the criteria of the nation's quality award.

This research also provides a general framework that enables quality awards, through adjustments to its criteria, to help a country to improve its national competitiveness. The study presents a classification of adjustments on the criteria of quality awards over time. This classification can help countries to understand which actions are to be taken and which modifications to be made to the criteria of quality awards in order to achieve better results on national competitiveness.

Digging deeper, the study provides performance tools that can help an organization to improve its performance and have better competitiveness within an organization. Our suggestion includes using Six Sigma, for operational and quantitative projects, and Human Performance Improvement (HPI), for operational and qualitative projects. These two methodologies cover the human and non-human elements of any organizational operations. The study defines and provides a comprehensive comparison between these two methods.

The macro level framework presented in this study can be used by the custodians of quality awards and officials as a guidance tool for which changes and modifications need to be made to the new revisions of quality awards. More specifically, it adds an important dimension to the criteria of quality awards: that they be aligned with the national competitiveness. On a micro level, this study suggests two improvement methods to achieve better competitiveness on an organizational level.