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Evolution of Integrated Management Systems in Spanish firms

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In ‘Evolution of Integrated Management Systems in Spanish firms’ (Simon, Karapetrovic, Casadesus, 2012), the aim was to analyse the evolution of the implementation and integration of management systems such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. The study was carried out of firms in the Catalonia area of Spain over a four-year period (2006–2010) with two surveys bookending this period. This meant examining the level of integration of different management system elements such as the resources, documentation, goals and procedures during this period.

Most importantly, the research aims to evaluate the impact of integration on companies over time, namely the difficulties experienced by firms during the integration of management systems.

The initial 2006 survey was of companies certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, with 176 responses from the 535 companies sent the questionnaire (33%). Then in 2010, 76 of those who originally answered also returned answers (43%) to further questions. As well as still having the original management systems certified research showed a growth in certification to other schemes such as OHSAS 18001, SA 8000, ISO 16949 (Automotive), ISO 22000 (Food) and ISO 13485 (Medical Devices).

Integration has seen significant growth, but with a greater polarisation, organisations either integrating all or none of their management systems. However, the majority of firms with more than one management system do integrate them into a single system:

Full integration: 2006 32%, 2010 48%

Partial integration: 2006 36%, 2010 17%

No integration: 2006 8%, 2010 12%

The research believes that the integration of management systems generally makes sense, but difficulties are encountered, most notably:

  • lack of integration guidelines
  • lack of administration support
  • lack of human resources
  • differences in the model of systems

Overall the key benefits of integration are seen as:

  • improvement of the systems understanding and use
  • better options to include new systems
  • task simplification
  • increase organisational efficiency
  • better use of external and internal Audit results
  • firm image improvements
  • organisational global strategy improvements
  • employee motivation improvements

The tools for determining successful integration are:

  • top management commitment
  • using implementation and integration guidelines
  • having training across the organisation in the integration
  • having integrated audits.
Paper available to purchase


  • Simon, A., Karapetrovic, S., Casadesus, M., (2012) ‘Evolution of Integrated Management Systems in Spanish firms’, Journal of Cleaner Production Volume 23, Issue 1, March 2012, Pages 8–19

Universitat de Girona – Simon, Casadesus; University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada – Karapetrovic