In ‘Exploring performance attribution: the case of quality management standards adoption and business performance (Dick, 2009) reviews a range of literature concerning certification to ISO 9001 to analyse a range of perceived outcomes, including lower waste, lower cost, better quality, higher sales or market share and higher profit.
The key findings are that ‘the benefit that can safely be attributed to treatment-effect (where the certified management system creates a chain of benefits that result in improved business performance, as opposed to a signalling-effect which shows a firm’s quality capability) of ISO 9001 certification is lower waste; while the benefits of lower costs and better quality are less likely unless motives for adoption are developmental rather than externally driven’. The findings go on to say that ‘a strong selection-mechanism is found where more profitable firms have a greater propensity to adopt than less profitable firms’.
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Kent Business School, University of Canterbury (Dick)