Title: From conformance to performance and continuous improvement using the ISO 9000 quality system standard

Authors: Mile Terziovski, Damien Power, Amrik S. Sohal

Addresses: European Australian Cooperation Centre, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, P.O. Box 197, Caulfield East, VIC 3145 Australia. Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, P.O. Box 197, Caulfield East, VIC 3145, Australia

Abstract: There has been a major push by firms to seek certification to the International Quality Standards ISO 9000. This heightened interest is not without problems as many managers have misunderstood the value of seeking ISO 9000 certification. A review of the literature revealed a major gap in research in this area of quality management. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine the role of the non-financial auditor and the audit process with respect to the existing ISO 9000 Quality standards. Qualitative and quantitative research design was used. Five case studies were developed of certified companies. Two survey questionnaires were designed and administered to 300 auditors registered by JAS-ANZ (Joint Accreditation Service of Australia and New Zealand) and 1500 companies certified by Quality Assurance Services. A response rate of 42% was obtained for the Auditor questionnaire and 28% for the certified organisations. A four-quadrant model was developed to categorise companies according to perceived value derived from certification (performance versus conformance) and the maturity level of their continuous improvement culture (ISO 9000 versus continuous improvement). We conclude that conformance auditing has a role in the early stages of quality systems implementation. However, effectiveness diminishes as the quality system matures.

Keywords: performance; auditing; continuous improvement; quality standards; quality management; ISO 9000

DOI: 10.1504/IJBPM.2002.000105

International Journal of Business Performance Management, 2002 Vol.4 No.1, pp.1-23

Published online: 13 Jul 2003 *

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