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A comparative empirical investigation of business excellence models in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Alanazi, Mohammed Hamdan


Mohammed Hamdan Alanazi


Dimitrios Tsagdis


Business excellence theorising has produced more than 100 business excellence models (BEMs). They can be divided (according to their context of development and application) into two broad groups: a) universal (e.g., the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award – MBNQA, and the European Foundation for Quality Management – EFQM models) and b) country-specific (e.g., the King Abdul Aziz Quality Award – KAQA model, i.e., the Saudi Arabia BEM).
The literature is scarce and inconclusive as to the suitability/applicability of different BEMs. This is partly due to the lack of comparative and comprehensive studies (i.e., pursuing both conceptual and empirical comparisons) and robust methodological frameworks.
Therefore, the key research question of this thesis: is the MBNQA and EFQM or the KAQA BEM better suited in the Saudi Arabia context? and which of these models’ criteria is critical in influencing other criteria? Moreover, given the elevated emphasis in the literature of contextual factors (like strategic orientation and industry type), the key research question is complemented with a supplementary one concerning the effects these potential moderating factors may have in the (better suited-) BEM relations.
To answer the above, the three BEMs are conceptually and comparatively investigated using a purposively developed methodological framework comprising a range of methods (e.g., structural equation modelling) and primary data from a survey of 233 firms in Saudi Arabia. The results are interpreted in light of the factors that underpin the differences between BEMs, indicating: 1) the KAQA BEM superiority and 2) the key role of leadership, strategic planning, and operations management in BEM relations. Significant differences in the KAQA relations are identified due to strategic orientation except for the relationships between leadership and strategic planning, and between strategic planning and suppliers and partners, but not due to industry type except for the links between strategic planning and suppliers and partners, operations management, and focusing on beneficiary constructs.
Theoretical, methodological, policy, and practice contributions are developed on the basis of the above findings. Extant theorising concerning the suitability of the MBNQA, EFQM, KAQA BEMs is tested and extended, while the role of key criteria and moderating factors (namely, strategic orientation) are clarified. Enhancements to the studied BEMs are also suggested. The comparative and comprehensive methodological framework to test BEMs and to explain BEM-construct interrelations contributes to advancing from description to inference. Last, but not least, at the policy and practice levels, mechanisms for developing and/or reviewing BEMs are provided along with recommendations concerning considering local conditions in practising business excellence and the differentiating effects of contextual factors.


Alanazi, M. H. (2017). A comparative empirical investigation of business excellence models in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jul 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2023
Keywords Business
Public URL
Additional Information Business School, The University of Hull
Award Date Nov 1, 2017


Thesis (11 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017 Alanazi, Mohammed Hamdan. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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