ISO 9001 QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AUDIT AS AN ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION TOOL
ISO 9000 family of quality management system standards are meant to enable organizations to set up effective management systems with which they can meet the needs of interested parties and assure sustained success. The evaluation tool preferred by many organizations for feedback on system effectiveness has been third party audit with success and certification taken as an indicator of management system effectiveness. The purpose of the empirical study reported in this paper was to investigate the relationship between a successful pre-ISO 9001 certification audit and effectiveness of an organization. The study uses the data from multiple informants in each participating organization to identify two configuration groupings, the ISO hard elements and the systemic oriented groups and finds that effectiveness of a certified organization may be predicted from the group into which it is classified. The conclusion is that certification status by itself is not an indicator of effectiveness. The study adds to the literature on the relationship between ISO 9001 certification and performance. A key implication of the findings for the managers is the need to see the quality management system standard in terms of a management technology rather than a marketing tool with certification as the visible icon.