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ISO 9001

Literature Review on Quality Standards ISO 9001

Literature Review on Quality Standards ISO 9001

Background Information

With the escalating global industry rivalry, firms are compelled to come up with quality services and products and continuously advance their operations to survive. Firms today can choose from a wide range of quality management approaches utilized by firms to attain their quality goals such as total quality management (TQM), lean management, and six sigma (Al-Najjar and Maha 118). However, one of the widely approached techniques is ISO 9001 that is been applied by not less than one million firms in about 187 nations since after 1987 (Al-Najjar and Maha 118). A newer form of ISO 9001 was introduced in 2015 (ISO 9001:2015). Nevertheless, whereas the regulation is widely applied by firms to achieve both market and operational gains, research on the application and effects of ISO 9001 generate mixed outcomes (Al-Najjar and Maha 118). Whereas a large body of studies gives positive results, some literature provides negative outcomes.

Describing ISO 9001

The history of ISO 9000 regulations draws back WWII. Before the battle, it was a common practice for military personnel to inspect major military initiatives such as the construction of warships. With the escalating need for the ships in World War II, the vessels had to be manufactured at a faster rate by developing them in pieces first before assembling them into a single unit at a later stage (Manders 1). The different sections ought to be regulated and measured by military personnel; therefore, the team in charge of the production formed the initial Military Specifications (Manders 1). However, the publication of the ISO 9000 series by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1987 transformed the production of quality items (Hiyassat 277). The series of directives offer tools and guidance for firms seeking to ensure that their services and products consistently achieve buyer’s requirements and that the quality is improved always (Manders 2). The regulations are formulated to guide firms of all sizes and types to execute and run appropriate quality management structures. Mutiri, Ochieng, and Njihia (2) write that ISO is the globe’s leading creator and publisher of global standards. The ISO 9001 regulation is a quality management regulation that adopts the guidelines of total quality management which fuses organizational concerns with shareholder and consumer satisfaction as well as employee well-being (Mutiri, Ochieng, and Njihia 2). ISO 9001 involves organizational activities across various industries with its application being appropriate to businesses despite the business they are in (Mutiri, Ochieng, and Njihia 2). The provision has made the regulation to most firms thus achieving much popularity contrasted with other ISO directives.

Within the series of regulations, the ISO 9001 group entails four diverse regulations. The first is ISO 9001:2008 which outlines the guidelines for a quality management structure where a firm can display its capacity to deliver services and goods that meet regulatory and consumer needs and aspires to enhance buyer satisfaction (Manders 2). The second version is ISO 9000:2005 that describes the core aspects of quality management systems and describes the vocabularies utilized in the ISO 9000 family of regulations. The regulation aspires to form a fundamental awareness of quality management applied in ISO standards (Manders 3). The other version is ISO 9004:2009 which guides the efficiency and effectiveness of a quality management structure, and also aspires to help firms in handling long-term prosperity. Finally, ISO 19011:2011 gives directives for external and internal auditing of environmental management and quality management systems (Manders 3). It comprises information regarding the audit processes, how to perform an external and internal audit, and the auditor’s competence. Even though various forms of ISO 9000 regulations exist firms focus on the latest guidelines to be up to date with emerging concepts.

Key Components of ISO 9000 

Companies aspiring to apply the directives of ISO 9000 must pay attention to the primary quality management principles. An organization can use the principles as a guideline to elevate business outcomes. One of the key guidelines that each firm must follow in its application of ISO 9000 is customer focus considering that firms rely on their buyers and thus, should know the present and future buyer needs, and strive to realize buyer requirements and to surpass their expectations (Bravi, Murmura, and Santos 70). Another important principle to consider when applying ISO 9000 is to foster unity of direction and purpose of the firm. Leaders must establish and maintain the business’s internal environment in which members can become fully engaged in realizing the company’s goals (Bravi, Murmura, and Santos 70). Operators must engage all stakeholders and acknowledge that people at all stages are the heart of a firm and their full participation allows their competence to be utilized to the company’s advantage. Besides, a firm must embrace an effective process approach to achieve the best results when applying ISO 9000 (Ochieng, Muturi and Njihia 765). The company must remember that appropriate outcome is attained more appropriately when operations and connected resources are handled as a process. Besides, an organization must pay considerable attention to the system approach to management bearing in mind that recognizing, comprehending, and managing interconnected practices as a system adds to the firm’s efficiency and effectiveness in realizing its goals and objectives (Psomas and Antony 2093). Another essential principle to consider when applying ISO 9000 is constant advancement, especially of the firm’s overall performance. The company should also embrace suitable approaches to making decisions taking into account that appropriate decisions depend on the appropriate analysis of information and data (Bhuiyan and Alam 14). Finally, an organization that seeks to achieve the most impressive results in its application of ISO 9000 should consider forming and stabilizing mutually advantageous connections with suppliers considering that a company and its suppliers depend on each other and a mutually advantageous relationship boosts the opportunities of both to improve value (Abdullah et al. 440). Following all the major principles of ISO 9000 increases the chances of achieving the most impressive results.

Potential Impact of Applying ISO 9001

Applying the guidelines of ISO 9001 in the most appropriate manner presents a chance to enjoy the many benefits that come with following the directives. Hadidi et al. (14) and Pheng and Tan (1242) hint that following ISO 9000 presents a better chance to achieve customer satisfaction, which is a fundamental requirement in business operations. Meeting the buyers’ needs and surpassing their expectations presents a good chance to foster consumer loyalty, which is essential in business (Tsai, Hsu and Chou 1033). Besides, working hard to satisfy buyers transform them into reliable support pillars for the company, and increases the chances of generating more revenue (Sousa-Poza, Altinkilinc, and Searcy 225). Businesses that meet their consumers’ needs because of quality production also stand in a better position in terms of boosting their brand reputation and popularity and also increase their chances of minimizing expenses in the market. Tsai, Hsu, and Chou () conduct a study to assess the gap between consumers’ perceptions or the perceived service quality and the anticipations or expected service quality within the airline sector. The study shows how firms that embrace the guidelines of ISO 9000 encounter minimum hardship in their creation of practices that appeal to buyers (Tsai, Hsu, and Chou 1235). Other than presenting a better chance to come up with quality products and services, a firm that adheres to all the directives of ISO 9000 is in a better position to strengthen its competitive advantage, and has the chance to strengthen its position in the local and international market (Ingason 194; Natarajan 77). Nevertheless, the company increases its chance of coming up with quality items and services and to gain a competitive advantage if it considers with uttermost care some of the issues that require much attention. Businesses that aspire to improve their application of ISO 9000, therefore, must develop an effective work plan that outlines all the key components that ought to happen, and must also identify the vital requirements that other successful firms use to achieve an impressive outcome (Priede 1470). The management must also ensure that it selects a team of qualified personnel to lead the transformation into the production of quality goods and services.

Possible Challenges 

Even though some Arabian firms have made considerable steps in embracing the directives of ISO 9001, others still lag because of some hindrances associated with the implementation process. Al-Najjar and Maha give the example of Iraqi organizations where only a few firms appropriately adhere to the directives of ISO 9001. Al-Najjar and Maha assert that despite the rampant application of ISO 9001 and the various certified firms in the Arab world, only five companies in Iraq received ISO certification by the end of 2008. Al-Najjar and Maha conduct an empirical study to find out the various obstacles and misconceptions that hinder the implementation of ISO 9001 in the manufacturing and service sectors in Iraq. They perform a structured survey by engaging a sample of 50 directors serving in manufacturing and service companies in Baghdad. The findings of the research reveal several factors that the Iraqi firms and other organizations can follow to improve their application of ISO 9001. Al-Najjar and Maha, for example, identify lack of commitment from senior management to be a major factor that could derail the application process. The other constraints that organizations must overcome to achieve successful implementation of ISO 9001 include overcoming the perception that ISO 9001 uncovers work security and lack of adequate strategy to meet the emerging requirements concerning ISO. Even though the findings of the study are restricted by the randomly selected sample as well as the geographical boundaries, the results attained carry numerous effects for policy developers and organizations in Iraq and beyond. In another study by Bhuiyan and Alam (14), the researchers discover that larger firms are likely to implement the regulation more effectively compared with smaller operators because of the availability of adequate resources in larger organizations. However, Bhuiyan and Alam (14) found that the number of years a firm has been in operation does not have significant impact on how a company applies the regulations on quality. Moreover, the study affirmed that the firms operating in markets outside North America, particularly in Europe, do not encounter much difficulty than those that operate in the North American markets only (Bhuiyan and Alam 14). A firm must overcome the challenges if they want to excel in their application.


ISO 9001 is a fundamental tool that helps organizations to achieve quality productions. Firms that choose to apply the framework must focus on applying the vital requirements, including consumer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approaches, a system approach to management, continual advancement, practical approaches to making decisions, mutually advantageous supplier connections. The literature review reveals that whereas an organization is free to choose an ISO 9001 version that suits their practices, it is essential to adhere to the latest directives to achieve a competitive advantage, and to avoid missing any aspect of quality production. Firms should strive to apply the concepts of ISO 9001 because of the many merits associated with adhering to all directives. However, it is essential to consider some of the challenges that a firm may encounter in its attempts to apply the regulations and take appropriate measures to overcome them.

Works Cited

Abdullah, Shahrir, et al. “Gap Analysis towards Harmonisation of the MQA Code of Practice for Programme Accreditation with the Quality Management System of MS ISO 9001: 2008.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 18, 2011, pp. 436-441.

Al-Najjar, Sabah and Maha Jawad. “ISO 9001 Implementation Barriers and Misconceptions: An Empirical Study.” International Journal of Business Administration, vol. 2 no. 3, 2011, pp. 118-128.

Bhuiyan, Nadia, and Alam Nadeem. “ISO 9001: 2000 Implementation–the North American experience.” International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 53, no. 1, 2004, pp. 10-17.

Bravi, Laura, Murmura Federica and Santos Gilberto. “The ISO 9001: 2015 Quality Management System Standard: Companies’ Drivers, Benefits and Barriers to Its Implementation.” Quality Innovation Prosperity, 23, no. 2, 2019, pp. 64-82.

Hadidi, Laith, et al. “The Effect of ISO 9001 Implementation on the Customer Satisfaction of the Engineering Design Services.” International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, vol. 35, no. 6, 2017, 12-22.

Hiyassat, Mohammed. “Applying the ISO Standards to a Construction Company: A Case Study.” International Journal of Project Management, vol. 18, vol. 4, 2000, 275-280.

Ingason, Helgi. “Best Project Management Practices in the Implementation of an ISO 9001 Quality Management System.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 194, 2015, 192-200.

Natarajan, Dhanasekharan. ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems. Springer International Publishing, 2017.

Manders, Basak. Implementation and Impact of ISO 9001. Basak Manders, 2014.

Ochieng, Jacqueline, Muturi David and Njihia Samuel. “The Impact of ISO 9001 Implementation on Organizational Performance in Kenya.” The TQM Journal, vol. 27, no. 6, 2015, pp. 761-771. 

Pheng, Sui and Tan Johnson. “Integrating ISO 9001 Quality Management System and ISO 14001 Environmental Management System for Contractors.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 131, no. 11, 2005, pp. 1241-1244.

Priede, Janis. “Implementation of Quality Management System ISO 9001 in the World and its Strategic Necessity.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 58, 2012, pp. 1466-1475.

Psomas, Evangelos and Antony Jiju. “The Effectiveness of the ISO 9001 Quality Management System and its Influential Critical Factors in Greek Manufacturing Companies.” International Journal of Production Research, vol. 53, no. 7, 2015, pp. 2089-2099.

Sousa-Poza, Andres, Altinkilinc Mert and Searcy Cory. “Implementing a Functional ISO 9001 Quality Management System in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.” International Journal of Engineering, vol. 3, no. 3, 2009, pp. 220-228.

Tsai, Wen-Hsien, Hsu Wei, and Chou Wen-Chin. “A Gap Analysis Model for Improving Airport Service Quality.” Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, vol. 22, no. 10, 2011, pp. 1025-1040.

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