Given the rapid recent growth in ISO 9000 applications and the business performance benefits being claimed for it by National Accreditation Registrars, it is timely to review the research in this area to see if any substantial proof exists for these claims. The paper explores the literature and finds that there is no proven link between quality certification (ISO 9000) and improved business performance. However, it is clear from the research reviewed on business performance factors, that better quality does have a consistent, positive relationship with business performance. Combining these findings leads to the inference that quality certification to ISO 9000 standards is not consistently associated with having a quality assurance system that delivers improved process control, or better quality. We conclude that the National Accreditation Registrars need to reflect on the standards of proof that they currently use to support claims for business performance improvement from the application of the ISO 9000 standards.
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