Title: Focus on human resources as a mediating factor between ISO 9001 certification and continuous quality improvement

Authors: Eleni Zografaki; Anastasios Magoutas; Panos Chountalas

Addresses: School of Social Sciences, Hellenic Open University, 18 Parodos Aristotelous Str., 26335, Patra, Greece ' School of Social Sciences, Hellenic Open University, 18 Parodos Aristotelous Str., 26335, Patra, Greece ' School of Social Sciences, Hellenic Open University, 18 Parodos Aristotelous Str., 26335, Patra, Greece

Abstract: The worldwide trend of ISO 9001 certification throughout the last decades has instigated a rigorous debate on whether and under which circumstances real quality results are attained by certified companies. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how focus on human resources (HR), especially in a service environment, affects quality management system (QMS) implementation through ISO 9001 certification, towards the goal of attaining continuous quality improvement. The research was undertaken in the form of multiple case studies at five service-oriented ISO 9001 certified companies pertaining to different business sectors. The results obtained suggest that when a company exhibits limited focus on people, alongside a downgraded view of the HR department in the organisational structure, all quality initiatives are likely to serve as an end-point towards certification. As such, the companies bearing these features cannot reap the benefits that a successful QMS implementation could potentially offer in the long run. On the other hand, a broad focus on people, combined with a strategic orientation of the HR department, is expected to drive the companies at issue towards real quality. As such, ISO 9001 certification can be an actual driver of continuous quality improvement.

Keywords: focus on human resources; ISO 9001 certification; quality management system implementation; continuous quality improvement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJDSRM.2017.084010

International Journal of Decision Sciences, Risk and Management, 2017 Vol.7 No.1/2, pp.105 - 122

Received: 24 May 2016
Accepted: 17 Jul 2016

Published online: 27 Apr 2017 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article