OBSERVING IMPROVEMENT

IN A UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT

  

 

 

By Stuart Umpleby, Saadia Khilji and SangKil Kim

Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning

The George Washington University

Washington, DC  20052 USA

Email:  umpleby@gwu.edu

 

 

 

 

 

March 19, 2005

 

Prepared for the Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning

The George Washington University

 


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                                                                                                        Contents                                

 

page

    Introduction  

3

    A Quality Improvement Priority Matrix

3

    Discussion of Tables and Figures

4 ~ 13

    References

14

 

 

    List of Tables

 

    Table 1.  GWU Importance and Performance Means 2003

4

    Table 2.   Items in Lower Right Quadrant Sorted by Importance

5

    Table 3.   Items in Lower Right Quadrant Sorted by Performance

6

 

 

    List of figures

 

    Figure 1  GWU Importance Vs Performance Means, 2003   

5

    Figure 2  Graph of Importance Means:  Office Equipment

6

    Figure 3  Graph of Importance Means:  Activities

7

    Figure 4  Graph of Importance Means:  Support

7

    Figure 5  Graph of Performance Means:  Office Equipment

8

    Figure 6  Graph of Performance Means:  Activities

8

    Figure 7  Graph of Performance Means:  Support

9

    Figure 8  Importance means 2001, 2002, 2003

9

    Figure 9  Performance means 2001, 2002, 2003

10
    Figure10 Importance Differences 2001-2002: Office Equipment 10
    Figure11 Importance Differences 2001-2002: Activities 11
    Figure12 Importance Differences 2001-2002: Support 11
    Figure13 Performance Differences 2001-2002: Office Equipment 12
    Figure14 Performance Differences 2001-2002: Activities 12
    Figure15 Performance Differences 2001-2002: Support 13


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Introduction
 

This paper contains data from the third of three surveys completed by faculty members in the Department of Management Science at The George Washington University.  The earlier surveys were made in 2001 and 2002.  This survey was
conducted in May 2003.  The purpose of this paper is to experiment with various ways of displaying time series data from
a Quality Improvement Priority Matrix (QIPM).  A QIPM is a way of obtaining information for data-driven decision-making.  The data collection process requires a list of features of a product or service or an organization.  Customers or employees
then rate the features on importance and performance.  Attention is focused on the features that are rated high in importance and low in performance.  This method of “data-driven decision-making” is easy to understand and to use.  It requires no special knowledge of statistics.  Managers can use the method to obtain regular feedback about where additional effort will produce the highest return in customer and employee satisfaction. 

 

           

A Quality Improvement Priority Matrix
 

A Quality Improvement Priority Matrix asks customers or employees to rate several features of an organization on two
scales – importance and performance.  That is, how important to them is that particular feature, and how effectively is the organization currently performing on that feature?  For this survey we used the same features of the Department of Management Science that we used in 2002.  Although the Department is functioning very well, the quality improvement literature claims that improvement is always possible.  So, where is improvement most needed?  With this method
one looks at the quadrant that corresponds to high importance and low performance.  What features of the organization
fall into this quadrant? 

 
The quality improvement priority matrix is a simple but powerful management tool.  Often in organizations resources are allocated to favored groups.  For example, a dean who is a chemist might choose to allocate more funds to the chemistry department.  Or additional resources are allocated to the group that complains the loudest.  This matrix presents
an alternative.  By gathering data from customers and employees a manager can easily find out where improvement is
most needed and where additional attention will produce the greatest returns in customer and employee satisfaction.
The matrix also explains why funds are allocated as they are and thereby tends to silence critics of the way resources are distributed.
 

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Discussion of Tables and Figures 

Table 1.  GWU Importance and Performance Means 2003    

Characteristics

Importance

Performance

1. Computer Hardware

7.95

7.7

2. Computer Software

8.5

7.4

3. Office Space for Faculty

7.1

4.5

4. Conference Room and Other Space

6.7

4.2

5:Computer Labs

8.4

5.7

6. Copiers

7.3

7.3

7. Fax Machines

6.1

7.2

8. Office Security

7.6

5.6

9. Secretarial Support

6.7

6.3

10. Teaching Assistants

7.7

6.2

11. Annual Retreat

6.7

6.7

12. Social Activities

5.2

4.1

13. Recreational Activities

4.5

3.5

14. Building Physical Environment

7.2

4

15. Accounts Payable

6.7

4.3

16. Classroom Scheduling

8.2

5

17. Classroom Facilities

8.5

5.1

18. Projection Equipment

8.4

5.9

19. Course Catalogue

6.7

6.3

20. Faculty Websites

6.1

4.6

21. Department Websites

7.6

5.05

22. SBPM Websites

7.4

5

23. Campus Grounds

7.4

5.1

24. Parking for Faculty and Staff

6.9

6.2

25. Parking for Students

6.7

4.4

26. Library Journal Collection

6.1

3.7

27. Library Book Collection

7.6

6.1

28. Interlibrary Loan

7.4

6.5

29. Coordination with Other Departments

6.9

7.1

30. A Supportive Climate in the Department

8.6

4

31. Department Head protects faculty from Admin Interference

8.5

7.2

32. Transparency of APT Process

7.9

8.3

33. Promotion of Contract Faculty

8.1

5.4

34. Travel Support

7.4

4

35. Funds to support Research

7.7

7.2

36. SBPM Working paper series

5.6

4.9

37. Help with writing Research Proposals

6.5

4

38. English Skills of Students

8.1

3.2

39. General Ability of Students

8.04

5.3

40. Course Evaluations

6.8

4.9

41. Faculty Annual Reports

5.4

4.2

42. Salaries

8.3

4.8

43. Health Care Benefits

8.3

5.5

44. Retirement Benefits

7.4

5.6

45. Opportunities for academic work with department faculty

6.8

5.6

46. Opportunities for academic work with other GW faculty

7.1

4.4

47. Assistance with Learning IT, e.g. Prometheus

6.8

6.1

48. Department Strategic Planning

6.7

4.3

49. Department Organization to Implement its strategic plan

6.6

4.1

50. Use of continuous improvement methods in the Department

6

4.2

51. Consulting opportunities in the DC area

7.04

4.4

52. Opportunities to meet local business men and government managers

7.1

4.15

 
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Figure 1
GWU Importance Vs Performance Means, 2003

 

 

 Table 2.   Sorted by Importance (lower right quadrant)

Characteristics

Importance

Performance

30. A Supportive Climate in the Department

8.6

4

17. Classroom Facilities

8.5

5.1

42. Salaries

8.3

4.8

16. Classroom Scheduling

8.2

5

38. English Skills of Students

8.1

3.2

39. General Ability of Students

8.04

5.3

21. Department Websites

7.6

5.05

22. SBPM Websites

7.4

5

23. Campus Grounds

7.4

5.1

34. Travel Support

7.4

4

14. Building Physical Environment

7.2

4



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Table 3.   Sorted by Performance (lower right quadrant)

Characteristics

Importance

Performance

45. Opportunities for academic work with department faculty

6.8

5.6

47. Assistance with Learning IT, e.g. Prometheus

6.8

6.1

24. Parking for Faculty and Staff

6.9

6.2

9. Secretarial Support

6.7

6.3

19. Course Catalogue

6.7

6.3

11. Annual Retreat

6.7

6.7

29. Coordination with Other Departments

6.9

7.1

7. Fax Machines

6.1

7.2

 

Figure 2

 Graph of Importance Means:  Office Equipment


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Figure 3

Graph of Importance Means:  Activities


 

Figure 4

 Graph of Importance Means:  Support


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Figure 5

 Graph of Performance Means:  Office Equipment

 

 

 Figure 6

 Graph of Performance Means:  Activities


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Figure 7

Graph of Performance Means:  Support

 

Figure 8

Importance over the years

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Figure 9

Performance over the years

Figure 10

Importance Differences 2001-2002: Office Equipment

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 Figure 11

Importance Differences 2001-2002: Activities

 
 


Figure 12

Importance Differences 2001-2002: Support

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 Figure 13

Performance Differences 2001-2002: Office Equipment


  Figure 14

Performance Differences 2001-2002: Activities



-
12 -


 

 

 

 Figure 15

Performance Differences 2001-2002: Support

 

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REFERENCES

 

Naoumova, Irina and Stuart Umpleby, “Two Methods Useful for Starting a Quality Improvement Program,” in Russell J. Meyer and David Keplinger (eds.), Perspectives in Higher Education Reform, Volume 11, Alliance of Universities for Democracy, Texas Review Press, 2002, pp. 185-193.

 

Umpleby, Stuart and Oleksandr Melnychenko, “Quality Improvement Matrix:  A Tool to Improve Customer Service in Academia,”  in J.A. Edosomwan (ed.) Customer Satisfaction Management Frontiers – VI:  Serving the 21st Century Customer, Fairfax, VA:  Quality University Press, 2002, pp. 6.1-6.12.

 

Umpleby, Stuart and Aram Karapetyan, “How a Quality Improvement Priority Matrix Reveals Change in a University Department,” in Russell J. Meyer and David Keplinger (eds.), Perspectives in Higher Education Reform, Volume 12, Alliance of Universities for Democracy, Texas Review Press, 2003, pp. 315-322.

 



                                                                                           
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