From Key Performance Indicators to Process Improvement

Unit 2 Assignment 1

From Key Performance Indicators to Process Improvement


How-To of Becoming Action Researchers


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) gives the learner/researcher the ability to see the big picture using measurable procedures to improve an organization’s system. KPIs with an addition to system improvement agencies can assist in a company becoming more competitive and successful. This document will outline the Baldrige and AQIP Programs as system improvement agencies, while analyzing the difference between the study of organizational KPIs and the study of organizational processes. It will also focus on the difference between KPIs and system processes.

The Baldrige and AQIP Programs as System Improvement Agencies

Both of the systems, like the action research paradigm protocol model (ARPP), focus on improvement and not just absolute change. The improvements are made to create success for the organization as a whole. While both, AQIP Categories and the Baldrige framework, creates improvement within an organization, they also give focus to key performance indicators (KPIs).

The Baldrige Program

The Baldrige award process has a focus on “results, not procedures, tools, or organizational structure” (NIST, 2014) and requires a number of years of guided improvement and large-scale action research studies before an institution qualifies as an award winner. The program measures overall system performance using key performance indicators (KPIs).

AQIP Program

With Baldrige having focused on measuring system performance, the AQIP program puts emphasis on the actual process and not the results. (AQIP, 2017) In contrast to the Baldrige award process, the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) focuses more on process than on results. Unlike Baldrige, the criteria of improvement is not on the KPIs but on the procedures.


KPIs are put in place to create a systematic change within an organization. (Capella, 2017) For example, the KPI of enrollment growth, the AQIP process will assess improvement in processes that contribute to enrollment, such as admission practices. They are usually constant and rigid while holding each fragment of the system accountable. This type of improvement can eventually lead the blame game because each part of the organization is measured through the KPIs success or failure.

System Processes

System process improvement does not separate success or failure. Improvement shifts from parts to whole and the mind-set of viewing all parts of the organization as active participants in creating success for the company. For example, the systems process includes an increase of production. Every facet of the organizations is included to reach this goal.

The Difference Between a Study of Organizational Key Performance Indicators and a Study of Organizational Processes

KPIs only provide you with measurable data. They do not provide the avenue on how to address the statistics once they have been collected. The organizational process provides paths for improvement through the learning process. For example, Goncalves (2012) suggests that in “building and maintaining a learning organization you must look for traits, nurture some of them and eliminate others, so you can bridge the knowledge gap in the organization, to allow a successful knowledge transfer into action, from know-how to how-to” (p. 23).


Conducting an Action Research (AR) capstone project and having only one cycle is like swinging with a double edged sword! On one hand it would be less work and beneficial in learning how to identify problems, collecting and analyzing data, and communicating the results. While, only completing one cycle, there would not be enough data to completely solve the problem. (Stringer, 2014) The samples or the individuals that are a part of the study have to be numerous and wide-ranging to be considered reliable. The Multi-Cycle Action would be an extension of the capstone project. Incorporating the Baldrige and AQIP programs as systems improvements would be the perfect layout to extend the capstone into a multi-cycle AR project


AQUIP Categories. (2017). Retrieved from


National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2014). About the 2013–2014 Baldrige criteria

for performance excellence. Retrieved from

Stringer, E. (2014). Action research (4th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications. ISBN: