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Relationships between the integration of audits and management systems: An empirical study

Merce Bernardo (Dep. d'Economia i Organitzacio d'Empreses, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Marti Casadesus (Dep. d'Organitzacio, Gestio Empresarial i Disseny de Producte, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain)
Stanislav Karapetrovic (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Iñaki Heras (Dep. de Organizacion de Empresas, Universidad del País Vasco, San Sebastian, Spain)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the application and the level of integration of internal and external audits in organizations that are registered to multiple management system standards.


Using descriptive analyses, this work examines the manner in which organizations, categorized in a previous study with respect to the degree of integration of their standardized management systems (MSs), apply and integrate the related MS audits. The sample included 435 Spanish organizations registered to ISO 9001: 2000 and ISO 14001: 2004 at the minimum.


It was found that organizations that exhibited a higher level of integration of their standardized MSs also demonstrated more highly‐integrated audits. In addition, the level of integration was generally higher for internal compared with the external audits.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation was related to the survey responses, because they were asked and obtained from the organizations' managers only, and not from the registrars or other external audit bodies.


The study contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the usage of auditing systems in organizations, in particular the level of integration of internal and external MS audits relative to the integration of the corresponding MSs.



Bernardo, M., Casadesus, M., Karapetrovic, S. and Heras, I. (2011), "Relationships between the integration of audits and management systems: An empirical study", The TQM Journal, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 659-672.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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