Compare and Contrast Essay on Six Sigma and EFQM Model

Published: 2021-07-30
741 words
3 pages
7 min to read
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
Literature review
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What Is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a methodology that is disciplined and data-driven meant for eliminating defects in every process (from manufacturing to product too transactional). Defects are eliminated by motivating towards six standard deviations between the nearest specification limit and the mean. To achieve Six Sigma, a process is required not to create more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities (Pyzdek and Keller 2014, p. 25). Six Sigma defect is anything that is perceived as outside customer specifications.

What is EFQM?

European Foundation For Quality Management (EFQM) is a management tool and model that provides a framework used in gaining a holistic view of an organization irrespective of the sector, size or maturity. EFQM model lets managers comprehend cause and effect relationships between the undertaking of their organization and the results delivered (Suarez, Roldan and Calvo-Mora 2014, p. 862).

EFQM foundation was established on the premise that all organizations strive to succeed, but many fail with only a few realizing sustainable success. The foundation was, therefore, formed to guide those seeking sustainable success through recognition and promotion of sustainable success (Suarez et al. 2014, p. 863). Sustainable success is realized through three integrated components; Fundamental Concepts of Excellence (FCE), the Model Criteria (MC) and the RADAR Logic (Suarez et al. 2017, p. 36). FCE identify the underlying principles forming the basis for attaining organizational sustainable excellence while MC establishes a framework to assist the organization to convert FCE and RADAR into practice. RADAR Logic, on the other hand, is a structured management tool for questioning organizational performance.

Similarities between Six Sigma and EFQM Model

It has been established through research that Six Sigma and EFQM share some similarities. Gomez, Costa and Lorente 2017, p. 89) study found that Six Sigma and EFQM have three similar features; both are continuous improvement tools, both rely on top management for successful implementation and that both require a lot of time and resources to successfully implement.

Organizations utilize both Six Sigma and EDQM models as tools for seeking continuous and sustainable improvement. Companies continue to work hard and improve towards attaining the sigma level of 3.4 defects. Similarly, EFQM is persistently updated with best practices that have been tested for organizations for improvement (Gomez et al. 2017, p. 92).

Also, implementation of Six Sigma and EFQM is dependent upon the commitment of the top management. Both models require top management to foresee and facilitate successful implementation failure to which the implementation process collapses.

Furthermore, Gomez et al. (2017) established that the implementation processes for both Six Sigma and EFQM are costly and time-consuming. Both models require thorough training of the staff, and they would take long before that investment pays back in the form of realized organizational improvement.

Differences between Six Sigma and EFQM Model

Six Sigma and EFQM models have been found to differ. According to a study Dahlgaard et al. (2013), the authors found that the two models differ concerning approach, focus, and strategies. While Six Sigma approaches continuous improvement through eliminating causes that lead to variations in the processes, EFQM applies best practices to realize sustainable excellence. Also, Six Sigma focuses on individual projects within the organization as it seeks to improve processes while EFQM focuses on a holistic approach whereby the focus is on the entire organization rather than individual projects. Lastly, Dahlgaard et al. (2013) established that while Six Sigma strategizes to minimize scrap and rework through fluctuation measures for managers, EFQM strategizes in improving the overall quality of the management system.

Therefore, in as much as both Six Sigma and EFQM models seem to compare concerning objective of continuous improvement, reliance on top management for effective implementation and costly and time-consuming nature, the two models still differ regarding approach, focus and strategies undertaken towards realizing successful organizational improvement.


Dahlgaard, J.J., Chen, C.K., Jang, J.Y., Banegas, L.A. and Dahlgaard-Park, S.M., 2013. Business excellence models: limitations, reflections and further development. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 24(5-6), pp.519-538.

Gomez, J.G., Martinez Costa, M. and Martinez Lorente, A.R., 2017. EFQM Excellence Model and TQM: an empirical comparison. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 28(1-2), pp.88-103.

Pyzdek, T. and Keller, P.A., 2014. The six sigma handbook (p. 25). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Suarez, E., Calvo-Mora, A., Roldan, J.L. and Perianez-Cristobal, R., 2017. Quantitative research on the EFQM excellence model: A systematic.

Suarez, E., Roldan, J.L. and Calvo-Mora, A., 2014. A structural analysis of the EFQM model: an assessment of the mediating role of process management. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 15(5), pp.862-885.


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