In the early 1990s, the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model, also known as the INK management model or the CAF model in the Netherlands and Belgium, became widely known both nationally and internationally. To date, many European organisations have used the model as a framework for their organisational development. As we have learnt, success in applying management models such as the EFQM Excellence Model is not guaranteed. Further, views on the value of the EFQM Excellence Model differ. In this article, the authors present a literature review based on the following research question: ‘What empirical evidence is available that performance is enhanced through interventions in the criteria of the EFQM Excellence Model?’ In an analysis of 24 studies from the period 2002–2012, the evidence found is largely limited to descriptive research and to studies that lack control groups. We failed to find any systematic reviews or randomised comparative research.

EFQM Excellence Model, continuous improvement, total quality management, organisational development,
Total Quality Management and Business Excellence
Health Services Management & Organisation (HSMO)

Doeleman, H., Ten Have, S., & Ahaus, C.T.B. (2013). Empirical evidence on applying the EFQM Excellence Model, a literature review. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 25(5-6), 439–460. doi:10.1080/14783363.2013.862916