ISO and OHSAS certifications

Guoyou Qi (School of Business, East China University of Science and Technology Shanghai, China)
Saixing Zeng (Antai School of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China)
Haitao Yin (Antai School of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China)
Han Lin (Antai School of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 11 November 2013



This research aims to empirically investigate the influence of stakeholders on the corporate decision of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001 certifications and how that influence differs across different certification types.


The paper utilizes a survey of 1,268 industrial enterprises in China, using logistic regressions to analyze corporate decision towards management standards use.


The results show that stakeholder influence varies across different management standard certifications. Foreign customers and neighboring community are significant drivers for ISO 9001 certification. Foreign investors, being publicly listed, and neighboring community each demonstrate a significant impact on ISO 14001 certification. Only being publicly listed shows significant explanatory power for certifying with OHSAS 18001.

Research limitations/implications

This study does not touch upon performance issues. The relationship between stakeholder pressure, certifications, and performance would be interesting to explore.

Practical implications

Information disclosure may be an effective tool to motivate firms to be more responsible for environment and society. Furthermore, measures should be taken to raise stakeholder awareness of corporate occupational health and safety (OH&S).


Although sustainability management demands attention to the three pillars of sustainability, empirical research tends to focus on only one aspect of it when studying standardized management practices use. This study investigates all three pillars using a unified framework. Furthermore, existing studies have focused predominantly on developed countries. The paper conducts research in China, one of the major developing economies. Lastly, the paper utilizes firm-level data on corporate sustainability management, which is hard to obtain in China.



Financial support for the research was provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Number 71202071). The sponsor played no part in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; nor in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


Qi, G., Zeng, S., Yin, H. and Lin, H. (2013), "ISO and OHSAS certifications", Management Decision, Vol. 51 No. 10, pp. 1983-2005.

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