Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the effect of time on ISO 9000's contribution to total quality management and performance improvement. Design/methodology/approach – Initial empirical research was conducted in Greek certified companies to evaluate their motives for certification and the benefits gained from it across eight basic total quality management (TQM) categories. The results of the survey verify the hypothesis that ISO 9000 certification can serve as a good first step towards TQM, since performance improvement is statistically significant in all TQM‐related issues. However, in order for ISO 9000 certification to serve as a good first step towards TQM, performance improvement should continue to grow even after certification. For this reason, a second survey was carried out in the same companies after a three‐year period. Findings – The results prove that although the standard's implementation helps companies to achieve an initial improvement in their quality performance, it cannot guarantee that this improvement will continue after certification. Research limitations/implications – Future research should focus on the contribution of the new ISO 9000:2000 series and its ability to re‐boost performance improvement in certified organisations. Practical implications – The paper shows that ISO 9000 certification can be used as the “first” but not the “last” step towards quality improvement. Although the standard's implementation helps companies to achieve an initial improvement in their quality performance, it cannot guarantee that this improvement continues after certification. Originality/value – The paper provides a longitudinal study of ISO 9000's contribution to TQM and operational performance improvement.
The TQM Magazine – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2006
Keywords: ISO 9000 series; International standards; Total quality management; Performance management; Greece
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