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ISO 9001: What's it do to and for the company?

A working paper in the Working Knowledge section of the Harvard Business School’s website provides some interesting insights on the impact of implementing the ISO 9001 Quality Management System on employers and employees. The full working paper, “Quality Management and Job Quality: How the ISO 9001 Standard for Quality Management Systems Affects Employees and Employers,” can be downloaded at http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6064.html

The authors found it “remarkable” that over 90,000 companies in 170 countries have adopted ISO 9001 with little solid evidence of what the standard does to an organization and to its production processes. Therefore, they set up a large-scale evaluation, a matched sample of almost 1000 California companies that had adopted ISO 9001. Being matched means that a control group of non-ISO 9001-adopters similar to the adopter companies was used for comparison.
Here are a couple of the study's findings that might pique your interest:
•    Companies that adopt ISO 9001 subsequently grow faster in sales, employment, payroll, and average annual earnings than a matched control group. ISO 9001 adopters are also more likely to remain in business.
•    ISO 9000 adopters subsequently become more likely to report zero injuries eligible for workers' compensation. However, there is no evidence that a firm's total or average injury costs improved or worsened subsequent to adoption.

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