Implementing ISO 9000: Performance improvement by first or second movers

Eitan Naveh, Alfred Marcus, Hyoung Koo Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


When an organization implements a new managerial practice how should timing affect its decision? Should it be among the organizations that implement the new management practices early, i.e. first movers, or wait for others to implement and implement it a later time, i.e. second movers. The literature's findings with regard to many management practices, especially those that deal with quality, such as total quality management, suggest that while first movers implement a new management practice because of real needs and a high fit between what the practice suggests and their needs (technical efficiency), second movers implement the new management practice because of customer pressure and the fear of falling behind the competition (external pressure). Second movers just mimic first movers, and the new practice does not really fit with their operations. Thus, the new management practice achieves more for the first movers than the second movers. In this paper we ask whether this premise holds for the ISO 9000 quality standard, one which was specified in considerable detail by outside forces but was implemented in many different ways by organizations. Our results are based on a survey of 1150 quality managers who implemented ISO 9000. We find that learning is a more important factor than timing in explaining ISO 9000 performance. First movers achieve a high level of performance because they learn from their own experience, and second movers achieve a high level of performance because they learn from the experience of others. Whether an organization is a first mover or second, the ones that benefit from ISO 9000 are those who learn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1843-1863
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2004

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