My experiences in industry, consulting, and my service experiences as a quality award examiner have driven my research interests. The broad theme behind my research is: to what extent do the benefits of improvement efforts at the process level result in better performance at the organizational level? Much of the evidence on this question is anecdotal and I have endeavored to systematically study this question.

Process improvement methods such as Lean and Six Sigma have been used to improve processes for many years. Positive results have been supported by many research articles, including my own (Bailey & Lui, 1998). The focus of my more recent research has incorporated systems theory which tells us that it is possible to optimize a sub-process to the detriment of the system or organization. Specifically I have studied the effect on performance of the systems approach embodied in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. My colleagues and I proposed a quality model for distance learning (Bilke, et. al., 2006), and we developed a quality assessment system for a higher education consortium (Sinn,, 2008). A third paper, (Bailey & Burks, 2009) used a case study to demonstrate the long term effects of Baldrige implementation in a government agency. In the summer of 2013, I presented, and published three papers in the ASEE Annual Conference proceedings: Integrating Liberal Studies at the Assignment Level: a Case Study (Bailey, 2013), A Multi-Pronged Approach to Assessing Technical and Non-Technical Workforce Skills in a Two Year College (Bailey, 2013) and Leveraging Scarce Resources to Preserve an Important, Low Enrollment Manufacturing Program (Bailey, 2013).  In June 2014, I published a paper in Quality Progress with a former student, Howard Alter: No Weak Links (Bailey & Alter, 2014), and another with Jan Lee: Decide and Conquer (Bailey & Lee, 2016).

My dissertation focused on the performance of quality award winners in higher education, against the challenges of cost, accountability and access. I am currently revising components of my dissertation into three papers, each of which addresses a different aspect of the larger question. In the first paper (Sinn & Bailey, in preparation), we will present a high level summary of the results of this study.  In the second paper (Bailey, in preparation), I will examine the time required to see results in both management decisions, and organizational performance using the Baldrige model in higher education. In the third paper (Bailey, in preparation), I will explore the student centered effects of Baldrige implementation.

 In the future I anticipate continuing my research on systems approaches and organizational performance applied to other sectors such as healthcare, government and non-profits.