Organizational excellence: do your stakeholders agree?

David Yarrow, Andrew Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents findings from 21 Colleges of Further Education, which have participated in surveys of both staff and learner satisfaction and which (as part of a larger survey of colleges) have taken part in a diagnostic benchmarking exercise using the ‘Learning PROBE’ methodology. Learning PROBE was developed from the established ‘Service PROBE’ to support UK Further Education Colleges in their pursuit of excellence. More than 2500 staff of these 21 colleges have participated in the satisfaction survey relating to their job, considering 38 aspects of their working life. Separately, more than 16,000 students undertook a learner satisfaction survey in which 28 aspects of their college life were assessed. Only four of the aspects of the staff’s working life displayed an overall positive response from the participating staff, whilst most measures had more staff displaying dissatisfaction than satisfaction with the extent to which their expectations are being met. With respect to the satisfaction of learners, a key stakeholder group for the colleges, a majority of respondents displayed satisfaction for all but two of the attributes considered. It would be reasonable to assume that if a college has effectively implemented good practices, which are delivering strong results, then the benefits will be felt by both of these stakeholder groups, staff and learners, leading in turn to associated levels of satisfaction with the organization. Analysis reported within this paper would suggest that only negligible association exists between levels of implementation of individual practices (as measured by PROBE) and levels of either staff or learner satisfaction with the organization, as defined by various pairs of comparable measures. In contrast, when PROBE scores are aggregated to form higher-level ‘enabler’ and ‘results’ indices, then the levels of association between the indices and related measures of staff and learner satisfaction display greater levels of significance. However, some statistical associations relating to the learners’ satisfaction appear to be counter-intuitive. The findings from this research suggest that the combined effect of a number of related practices seems to have a greater impact upon stakeholder satisfaction rather than implementation of individual, standalone ‘good practices’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-878
JournalTotal Quality Management and Business Excellence
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


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