Title: Business excellence and human resources: investigating best practices in European Quality Awarded Hellenic organisations

Authors: Fotis K. Vouzas

Addresses: Department of Business Administration, University of Macedonia, Egnatia 156 Street, Thessaloniki, TK 54006, Greece

Abstract: Defining and implementing quality always were a problem. Today, organisations approach quality using a wide range of frameworks and models for implementation, depending on the work of well-known theorists and academics as well as practitioners. The widespread of the new ISO 9000:2000 and the Business Excellence movement through the American and European Quality Awards are the prevailing approaches to quality improvement according to the majority of Quality academics. Both provide a basis for the implementation of a total quality management (TQM) philosophy, a |unique| way of improving organisational performance and attaining competitive advantage. Only recently quality experts, researchers, academics and practitioners realised that |human resources| issues can be at the core of the quality philosophy and that employee involvement and commitment are essential for the successful introduction and implementation of quality initiatives, programmes or practices and techniques. It is widely accepted that total quality management has a high human resource context and that quality movement recognises the importance of human resources utilisation and states a conceptual and well-defined image concerning human behaviour and motivation. The main objective of this article is to investigate the best practices in human resources management by selected Greek industrial companies. These companies are on their road to business excellence through the European Quality Award (EQA). The article also examines issues such as challenges, barriers and benefits that were witnessed during this procedure. Data was collected from seventeen Greek organisations that were judged as normal, ordinary and representative. Some of them are certified with the ISO 9001:2000 and they are all awarded in one of the EQA categories. The data gathering was carried out through extensive and in-depth interviews in all seventeen organisations, asking the human resources manager, using a semi-structured questionnaire with open-ended questions.

Keywords: business excellence; EQA; European Quality Award; Greece; human resources; best practice; total quality management; TQM.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2009.024180

International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2009 Vol.3 No.3, pp.281 - 297

Published online: 28 Mar 2009 *

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