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compensation practices, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, performance evaluation, recognition programs, strategic performance management



  1. Duarte, Neville T. PhD
  2. Goodson, Jane R. PhD
  3. Arnold, Edwin W. PhD, SPHR


When carefully constructed, performance management systems can help health care organizations direct their efforts toward strategic goals, high performance, and continuous improvement needed to ensure high-quality patient care and cost control. The effective management of performance is an integral component in hospital and health care systems that are recognized for excellence by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in Health Care. Using the framework in the 2011-2012 Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence, this article identifies the best practices in performance management demonstrated by 15 Baldrige recipients. The results show that all of the recipients base their performance management systems on strategic goals, outcomes, or competencies that cascade from the organizational to the individual level. At the individual level, each hospital or health system reinforces the strategic direction with performance evaluations of leaders and employees, including the governing board, based on key outcomes and competencies. Leader evaluations consistently include feedback from internal and external stakeholders, creating a culture of information sharing and performance improvement. The hospitals or health care systems also align their reward systems to promote high performance by emphasizing merit and recognition for contributions. Best practices can provide a guide for leaders in other health systems in developing high-performance work systems.