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QMS external quality auditors’ competency requirements: perspectives from accredited certification bodies in Malaysia

Roslina Ab Wahid (Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia)
Peck-Leong Tan (Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 28 November 2022

42

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to identify the perceived lack of certain core knowledge, skills and attributes in external quality auditors (EQAs) that contributes to an audit process that does not add value for client organizations. This paper describes the development of a competency requirement framework for quality management system (QMS) EQAs that would improve their capability and audit performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of relevant international literature on auditor competence and education, clients' expectations on external auditors, explicit and implicit expectations based on ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 19011:2018, and current auditor capability was conducted to obtain insights into the present situation and requirements of the environment. A survey questionnaire was then utilized in the collection of data from 19 heads of certification and technical reviewers of accredited certification bodies (CBs) in Malaysia. Univariate and bivariate analysis were used in analyzing the data from respondents.

Findings

The overall results show that the most important components of knowledge for EQAs to possess are quality management principles, system and standards; risk management; and business process and operations management. In terms of skills, the most important skills for auditors are auditing and report writing and critical/analytical thinking, followed by communication/interpersonal/people/ICT and team management. Attributes such as integrity, being ethical, professional and objective are found to be most important in EQAs to be effective and add value to the audits. Based on the results, the competency requirement framework of EQAs was developed.

Originality/value

This paper presents the knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience needed by EQAs identified by the CBs which is then developed into a competency requirements framework for future auditor training. The resulting framework from the study can be used by accreditation bodies, CBs and training organizations to evaluate and improve the auditors' competence and audit performance in the future.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School of Universiti Teknologi MARA in conducting this research project.

Citation

Ab Wahid, R. and Tan, P.-L. (2022), "QMS external quality auditors’ competency requirements: perspectives from accredited certification bodies in Malaysia", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-04-2021-0127

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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