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The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between the acquisition of an ISO 9000 certification and the overall financial performance of the certified firms…
The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between the acquisition of an ISO 9000 certification and the overall financial performance of the certified firms. More specifically, the study proposes a multidimensional conceptual framework, including “customers’ demand”, “ISO adoption”, “operation efficiency”, “market efficiency” and “overall financial performance”. Such a multidimensional approach has randomly been explored in the existing literature, making the examination of the proposed conceptual framework an interesting research topic.
The proposed conceptual framework was tested on a sample of Greek ISO 9000-certified companies of various economic sectors. Quality managers were used as key respondents. The final sample consisted of 168 companies. The reliability and the validity of the questionnaire were thoroughly examined. Empirical data were analyzed using the structural equation modelling technique. The findings are based on the 2000 version of the ISO series, which is generally accepted and has widespread use, as it has eliminated most of the disadvantages of the 1994 version. The present study is empirical (it is based on primary data), explanatory (examines cause and effect relationships), deductive (tests research hypotheses) and quantitative (includes the analysis of quantitative data collected with the use of a structured questionnaire).
The findings of the study provide strong evidence that ISO 9000 implementation is highly associated with improvements in overall financial performance. Moreover, it was found that ISO implementation is directly associated with significant improvements in quality awareness, operations execution, market share, customer satisfaction and sales revenue. Finally, customers’ demand was not found to be the most important motivation for implementing an ISO certification. Rather, it seems that companies seek for quality improvement due to internal motives.
A limitation stemming from the implemented methodology is the use of self-report scales to measure the constructs of the proposed model. Moreover, the present paper lacks a longitudinal approach, since it is cross-sectional and provides a static picture of ISO implementation.
The paper makes an analytical effort in order to point out areas that companies should emphasize in order to successfully implement ISO 9000 and, therefore, harvest its potential benefits. Certain practical implications are offered in the final part of the paper.
The paper proposes an enhanced conceptual framework that examines vital issues concerning the successful implementation of ISO 9000, thus, providing valuable outcomes for decision makers and academics. Moreover, the results of the study may be generalized in other developed countries whose economy faces similar significant challenges as Greece.