Safety requirements for toys, the A4 series of paper sizes, specifications of credit cards, ISO 9000 requirements for quality management systems, the SI1 system of units, McDonald’s product and service specifications, and the specifications of the GSM telephone system have in common that they are used repeatedly by a large number of people and, therefore, are laid down in standards. The activity of making standards may be called standardization. Standardization concerns establishing and recording a limited set of solutions to actual or potential problems directed at benefits for the party or parties involved and intending and expecting that these solutions will be repeatedly or continuously used during a certain period by a substantial number of the parties for whom they are meant.2


Quality Management System Standardization Literature European Telecommunication Standard Institute European Telecommunication Standard Institute Company Standardization 
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  1. 1.
    SI = Système International d’Unités [International System of Units].Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A thorough discussion on the right definition of standardization is presented in Chapter 8.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    This listing is a slight modification of the aims mentioned by Sanders (1972).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Conversely, standardization at the national or regional level can also create barriers to trade (Hesser, Hildebrandt & Kleinemeyer, 1995).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    This makes life easier for companies that export to several countries: they no longer have to produce different variants of their products to meet different standards in different countries. However, companies that mainly serve national markets, especially in smaller countries, are confronted with a substantial increase in the number of standards that are used.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rosen, Schnaars and Shani (1988) distinguish four modes of achieving standardization: by government, by industry coalitions, by the free market, and by an industry leader. The third option allows customers to choose between different competing standards and, through their purchases, select the dominant one. Schmidt and Werle (1992, p. 306) focus less on parties and more on co-ordination mechanisms and distinguish between three principle modes of co-ordination: hierarchy, market, and committees. This study will focus on “committees.”Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    CEN = Comité Européen de Normalisation [European Committee for Standardization]; CENELEC = Comité Européen de Normalisation Electrotechnique [European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization].Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kleinemeyer (1997, pp. 28–30) offers an overview of economic studies on standardization.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    A thorough description of standardization in this period is offered by Muschalla (1992).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    “EURAS = European Academy for Standardization: an association of researchers in the area of standardization. ” Kluwer Academic Publishers (Dordrecht, The Netherlands) made an inventory but found this niche market too small. Moreover, there were doubts about the ability to get enough publications at the academic level.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kluwer Academie Publishers (Dordrecht, The Netherlands) made an inventory but found this niche market too small. Moreover, there were doubts about the ability to get enough publications at the academic level.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    According to Hesser (1997b, p. 3) the legal, economic, regulatory, engineering, organizational, sociological, and philosophical aspects apply.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hesser and Kleinemeyer (1998) even state that mono-disciplinary studies in standardization remain by definition incomplete and will always lead to conclusions that are either incorrect or require amendment. These tend to lead us into making inappropriate statements so that the effect will be a reduction in knowledge rather than an increase (Cited from the English version at The author of this study disagrees with this disparaging opinion of specialist studies, but shares the observation that, in practice, they often cause confusion rather than contribute to better understanding of standardization.
  14. 14.
    A matching problem deals with interrelated entities that do not harmonize with each other. Solving it entails determining one or more features of these entities so that they harmonize with each other or determining one or more features of an entity because of its relation(s) with one or more other entities. This will be elucidated in Chapter 8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henk J. de Vries
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Rotterdam School of ManagementErasmus University RotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Nederlands Normalisatie InstituutDelftThe Netherlands

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