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Integration of standardized management systems: Does the implementation order matter?

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze whether the order or the strategy of management system standards (MSSs) implementation in an organization determines the level of integration of its standardized MSSs.

Design/methodology/approach:Groups of organizations that follow different implementation sequences have been obtained descriptively using a sample of 435 Spanish organizations, registered to two MSSs (ISO 9001 and ISO 14001) at the minimum. Differences with respect to the size of the organizations are also studied.

Findings: The results obtained show six different groups of organizations that follow different sequences of implementation and that have different levels of integration of their MSSs. Among the more interesting findings, organizations that had implemented quality and environmental MSSs simultaneously and have 50 employees or less achieve higher levels of integration compared to other organizations in the sample.

Originality/value: The paper analyses those sequences of management systems implementation that allow organizations to achieve higher levels of integration and presents a possible pattern for the companies initiating the integration process.

Merce Bernardo

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