Swiss Quality

Glossary of Terms


The overall way by which something is made to happen - an approch comprises of processes and structured actions within a framework of principles and policies.


A systematic comparison of approaches with other relevant organisations that gains insights that will help the organisation to take action to improve its performance.

Business Model

The elements of the business that create and deliver value; these elements normally include the value proposition, the profit formula, key resources and key processes ot the organisation.

Change Management

The approach during which the changes of an organisation or system are implemented in a controlled manner by following a pre-defined framework or processes, to support the achievements of the strategic goals. Change management enables the transition from a current state into a desired future state.


A measured achievement for comparison and target setting purposes.

Continual Improvement

The ongoing improvement of processes that lead to achievement of higher levels of performance through incremental change.

Core Competencies

A well performed internal activity or capability that is central to the organisation's competitiveness, profitability of efficiency.

Corporate Governance

A framework of authority and control within an organisation used to help it fulfil its legal, financial and ethical obligations.


The generation of ideas for new or improved products, services, processes, systems or social interactions.

Critical Success Factors

Limited number (usually between 3-8) of characteristics, conditions or variables, that have a direct impact on the effectiveness, efficiency and viability of an organisation, programme or project.


The specific collection of Values and Norms that are shared by people and groups in an organisation that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organisation.


The recipient of products or services provided by the organisation.


The process by which individuals or teams are able to take decision making responsibilities, and operate with a degree of autonomy in their actions.

Equal Opportunity

The practice of ensuring that all people receive fair and equal treatment regardless of gender, age, race, nationality, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

Fundamental Concepts of Excellence

The set of key and proven principles upon which the EFQM Excellence Model framework is based.

Good/Best Practice

Superior approaches, policies, processes or methods that lead to exceptional achievement. Since it is difficult to find out waht is best, the term "good practice" is preferred by most organisations. Ways to find good practice outside the organisation can include benchmarking and external learning.

Key Processes

The processes that are of the utmost importance for the organisation since they deliver and support the strategy and drive the value chain.


Knowledge is expertise and skills acquired by a person through experience and education, involving the theoretical and/or practical understanding of a subject. While data are raw facts and information is data with context and perspective, knowledge is information with guidance/ability for action.


The people who coordinate and balance the interests and activities of all who have a stake in the organisation.

Management System

The framework of processes, related performance/result indicators and process management and improvement systems used to ensure that the organisation can fulfil its Mission and Vision.


A statement that describes the purpose or "raison d'être" of an organisation, confirmed by its stakeholders.


A statement that describes the purpose or "raison d'être" of an organisation, confirmed by its stakeholders.


The willingness and capability of people to change their job or the working location.

Organisational Agility

The ability to respond and adapt, in a timely way, to an emerging threat or opportunity.


An external party the organisation strategically choses to work with, to achieve common objectives and sutained mutual benefit.


A durable working relationship between the organisation and partners, creating and sharing added value for both parties. Partnerships can be formed e.g. with suppliers, distributors, educational bodies or customers. Strategic partnerships support the strategic objectives of the organisation in a particular way.


Alle individuals employed by the organisation (full time, part-time, including volunteers), including leaders at all levels.


The opinion stakeholders have of the organisation.


Commercially distributed goods as a result of a fabrication, manufacturing, or productionn process that passes through a distribution channel before being consumed or used. In a broad sense, products include a wide range of goods, from commodities to complex installations such as facilities, plants or factories.


The social infrastructure outside the organisation that can be affected by the organisation.


Person, group or organisation that has a direct or indirect stake or interest in the organisation because it can either affect the organisation or be affected by it. Examples of external stakeholders are owners (shareholders), customers, suppliers, partners, government agencies and representatives of the community or the society. Examples for internal stakeholders are people or groups of people.


A high leel plan describing the tactics by which an organisation intends to achieve its Mission and Vision.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a systematic approach bringing an organization to Excellence. TQM involves new leadership strategies, new structures and culture change. TQM tools enable organizations to achieve success as employees become competent and responsible. Through continuous quality improvement, an organization can go beyond satisfying customers - it can delight customers.

Value Proposition

The differentiating value the organisation's products and services offer to customers.


Operating philosophies or principles that guide an organisation's internal conduct as well as its relationship with the external world. Values provide guidance for people on what is good or desirable and what is not. They exert major influence on the behaviour of individuals and teams and serve as broad guidelines in all situations.


Describing of what the organisation is attempting to achieve in the long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action and, along with the Mission, it is the basis for strategies and policies.

  • The EFQM L4E and the LPM-QIMT Training gave me know-how and skills not only about what to change but also how to change.

    Prof. Dr. Omar Awadh Al-Rawas, Dean, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, OM
  • The EFQM L4E Training was very informative and helpful. It enriched my knowledge of how to drive improvements at the working place using the EFQM Excellence Model for Self-Assessment. The discussion around the EFQM Excellence Model and practical exercises were very beneficial.

    Dr. Huda Abu Hamdeh, Dean, Ibra Nursing Institute – Ministry of Health, Ibra, OM
  • The EFQM Leaders for Excellence (L4E) Training and the EFQM Internal Assessor Training (IAT) are the most valuable trainings I have ever attended. I have learned a lot from these trainings. The discussions around the case studies, particularly by using the EFQM Excellence Model in the Education Sector, were very beneficial. I strongly recommend the EFQM L4E and the EFQM IAT, conducted by Dr. Karl J. Koller from the Swiss Institute for Total Quality Management (ITQM).

    Mr. Khalid A-Wahaib, Quality Manager, Ministry of Education, Muscat, OM