ISO 9000 is a management standard that provides customers with assurance that their registered suppliers have a consistent quality system to which they adhere. This paper draws on four sources to show how ISO 9000 can lead to performance improvement: 1) theories of induced innovation and improvisation; 2) the literature on ISO 9000; 3) a case study of a telecom company; and 4) a survey of 1,150 North American companies. We find that the extent to which ISO 9000 is associated with performance improvement depends on the level of its assimilation, and the degree to which an organization goes beyond the minimal requirements of the standard.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Manuscript received March 1, 2003; revised April 1, 2004. Review of this manuscript was arranged by Department Editor R. T. Keller. This paper was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Decision, Risk Analysis, and Management Division under Grant SES-9905604. McGraw-Hill Quality Systems and Plexus Corporation sponsored the survey of ISO 9000 registrants upon which this paper is based.