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January 2002
Volume 9 • Number 1


Motivation, Organizational Identification, and Experiences of the Quality Examiner

by Jennifer K. Lehr, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Ronald E. Rice, Rutgers University

This article analyzes factors that influence a person’s decision to become a quality examiner. Basic motivational needs, organizational identification, and demographic measures were the primary conceptual factors used in this study. Survey responses from examiners of Johnson & Johnson’s Signature of Quality process and other employees showed that 1) personal motivations for becoming an examiner were predominately self-actualization and belongingness, with some pragmatic emphasis on improving quality in one's organization or unit, 2) people underestimated the amount of time and energy required, and the value, and comprehensiveness of the experience, 3) the best aspects of training included hands-on experience, excellence criteria, case study, and learning from other examiners, and 4) the best aspects of the examiner process were interactions with other examiners and the applicant company employees. The only aspects significantly associated with higher organizational identification were more years working with the organization and a greater perception of the usefulness of the process for improving businesses. This article suggests implications for recruiting and training examiners, and the underlying causal role of organizational identification.

Key words: motivation, organizational identification, quality examiner, quality recruiting and training


Much has been written about the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) and its use as a national assessment tool. Little attention has been paid, however, to organizations that have adopted and adapted the MBNQA criteria for their own use. Thus, little is known about the role that examiners—organizational volunteers—play in the success of such internal assessment and award programs, especially considering how arduous and time-consuming this activity is. This research provides insight into that issue by exploring the motivations and influences, especially organizational identification, behind one’s decision to become an examiner as part of the internal quality process at an international corporation. It also describes some of the examiners’ experiences in this challenging role.