Different perspectives on management systems integration

By Almeida, J.; Domingues, P.; Sampaio, P.

Total Quality Management and Business Excellence



Increasingly competitive economies and the market globalisation process have led many organisations to implement management systems as a differential against competition. However, with the variety of standards available, they felt the need to integrate management subsystems aiming at resources and skills optimisation, in order to achieve performance maximisation of the resulting integrated management system (IMS). Added to this, it is known that the value of a single certificate is inversely proportional to the overall increase in certificate numbers. This paper intends to report the study results focusing on critical success factors (CSFs) assessment, difficulties faced by organisations when implementing an IMS, and the resulting benefits. Additionally, the quantitative evolution of IMS in Portuguese companies until 2011 is reported, showing how IMS typologies evolved and increased their relative ‘weight’ among Portuguese certified companies. Related to the study, the sample was composed of four Portuguese IMS ruled organisations based on quality, environment and occupational health and safety certified management subsystems. The data collection methodology was based on semistructured interviews with the management system manager, through which it was sought to analyse the entire integration process. Results suggest that management subsystems integration contributes positively to the studied organisations. Top management involvement, human and financial resources availability and training were identified as subsystems integration CSF. Among the difficulties faced by organisations they pointed out the non existence of a previous organisational structure and the employees’ behaviour changes.


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