Academic journal article Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences

ISO 9000 Standards Implementation in Turkey: Reasons, Difficulties, and Results

Academic journal article Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences

ISO 9000 Standards Implementation in Turkey: Reasons, Difficulties, and Results

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Companies have had to respond to changing conditions throughout recorded history. However, the pressure on management to improve organizational performance has grown significantly over the past two decades due to the rapid changes in the global business environment. Organizations needed to improve their performance to be competitive and to adapt to changing conditions to sustain competitive advantages. As adaptive systems, organizations must respond to the forces driving the need to be competitive. These forces include demanding customers, fierce global competition, technological change, and the general environmental influences such as government and culture (Rummler and Brache, 1995).

Organizations have used a variety of approaches to improve their performances. Some of these approaches include guru-based approaches, just-in-time production, total quality management, business process reengineering, the Baldrige Award Criteria framework, or ISO standards. Management has faced different problems to implement the performance improvement efforts based on each approach. Each approach has resulted in many successes, but also many failures. In some cases, it is difficult to measure the success of the improvement efforts. Although financial and market performance measures such as return on equity or market share have been the traditional measures, there are other business performance measures such as customer satisfaction, effectiveness of human resources, and process performance, which are perhaps a better indication of sustained success. This difficulty of determining the effectiveness of improvement initiatives is further complicated by the fact that competitors also have similar performance improvement initiatives. Lessons learned from past experiences should be helpful for organizations to better prepare for future improvement efforts.

This study reports the experiences of ISO 9000-certified organizations in Turkey. The specific objectives of this survey were: (1) To determine the reasons/motives for implementing ISO 9000 standards, (2) To identify the difficulties/problems faced in implementing the standards, (3) To examine the impact of the ISO system on business performance measures, and (4) To compare the performance measures of the firms who achieved their expectation from ISO 9000 certification with those firms who did not achieve.

PREVIOUS RESEARCH ON ISO 9000

There have been a number of empirical studies conducted to examine the reasons/motives for implementing ISO 9000 standards and the benefits the companies gained from certification (Rayner and Porter, 1991; Rabbit and Bergh, 1993; Brumm, 1995; Eddy, 1995; Peach, 1995; O'Brien, 1996; Weston, 1995; Morita, 1996; MORI, 1996; SGS Yarsley, 1996; Rao, Ragu-Nathan and Solis, 1997; Chittenden, Poutziouris and Mukhtar, 1998; Al-Ghamdi, 1998; Barnes, 1998; Bhuian, 1998; Vloebrghs and Belles, 1996). These studies found that the most common motives for implementing ISO 9000 fell into the two broad categories of internal and external. The most common internal benefits were improved management control and process, workforce motivation, team building and improved internal communication, increased productivity, improved and consistent documentation, improved or higher perceived product quality, improved efficiency, cost savings and increased profits. The most important external benefits of ISO 9000 were improved/greater customer focus and satisfaction, decline in customer complaints, increased sales in global and domestic markets, increased market share, and greater marketing and competitive advantage.

A survey by Lloyd Register Quality Assurance (LRQA, 1996) compared the performance of a sample of 222 British ISO 9000 registered companies with the industry average. The study found that ISO 9000 registered companies were two to three times more profitable than their non-registered competitors. They significantly outperformed the industry average on five key financial and sales measures of profit margin, return on capital employed, sales per employee, capital employed per employee, and asset turnover. …

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