ISO 9000 practices and financial performance: A technology coherence perspective

Mary J. Benner, Francisco M. Veloso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


Attention to processes has increased, as thousands of organizations have adopted process-focused programs such as TQM and ISO 9000. Proponents of such programs stress the promise of improved efficiency and profitability. But research has not consistently borne out these prospects. Moreover, the expectation of universal benefits is not consistent with research highlighting the important role of firm-specific capabilities in sustaining competitive advantage. In this paper, we use longitudinal panel data on ISO 9000 practices for firms in the auto supplier industry to study two new issues related to the adoption of process management practices. First, we find that, as the majority of firms within an industry adopt ISO 9000, late adopters no longer gain financial benefits from these practices. Second, we explore how firms' technological coherence moderates the performance advantages of ISO 9000 practices. We find that firms that have a very narrow or very broad technological focus have fewer opportunities for complementary interactions that arise from process management practices and thus benefit less than those with limited breadth in technologically related activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-629
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Steven Klepper, Michael Lenox, Robert Lowe, Glenn Mercer, Pedro Oliveira, Rui Sousa, Nicolaj Siggelkow, Peter Thompson, Joel Waldfogel, Claudio Wolter as well as two anonymous referees and the editors for valuable comments and insights. We would also like to acknowledge suggestions from participants in seminars at Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Universidade Católica Portuguesa and Faculdade de Economia do Porto. Any errors remain our own. Francisco Veloso would like to acknowledge the support of the International Motor Vehicle Program and Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia in Portugal for this research, and Mary Benner would like to thank the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at The Wharton School for financial support.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Empirical research methods
  • Operations strategy
  • Quality management
  • Technology management


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