The question to which extent National Standardization Organizations (NSOs) meet actor needs, of course, cannot simply be answered, as actor needs differ. This Chapter addresses differences due to 1) kinds of standards needed (4.2), and 2) mechanisms that determine which standard will be used by which user groups (4.3). More in general, actors have certain wishes concerning Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) (4.4). This chapter concludes on NSO appropriateness to meet the different actor needs (4.5). Between brackets, reference is made to (sub)sections in other chapters.


European Standardization Standardization Committee Standard Development American Petroleum Institute Standardization Project 
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  1. 1.
    For this reason, Dutch employers’ organizations did not want to have a national standard on occupational health and safety management, but preferred just a national report; certification criteria, if any, should be (and are in practice) set by certification bodies. The national government is not expected to refer to such de facto standards (see Chapter 10 and ISO Bulletin, 1996c).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Or, even better, 2–12 years as within IEC (see Subsection 3.2.2).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) has set up a study group to look into the issue of consumer confusion about graphical symbols. Various surveys have reported that consumers find it difficult to understand what they mean and sometimes take them for their opposite meaning. Different symbols are used on different products to convey the same message. Misunderstanding of warning signs could result in accidents (Consumer Communiqué, 1998, p. 7; the issue of graphic symbols is also addressed in ISO Bulletin (1997) and by Bergner (1997) and Böcker (1996)).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    This applies, for instance, to some of the standards on Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) of ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Information technology. Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hardly any producer’s wishes concerning standardization services can be found in the literature. According to Simons, former Director of Corporate Standardization with Philips International BV, this is due to the confidentiality of product strategies and to a general wish to avoid participation in SDO activities whenever possible, partly because these organizations lack technical expertise.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    ICSCA = Industry Committee on Standards and Conformity Assessment, a pressure group in which big multinational companies and ANSI participate.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    The Dresden Agreement specifies the way IEC and CENELEC harmonize their standards. IEC standards that are adopted by CENELEC are automatically included in the national standards systems of EU and EFTA countries. The Dresden Agreement also covers the way in which IEC or CENELEC take up new work. Finally, it regulates parallel voting. At present, about 90% of the CENELEC standards are identical to, or closely based on, IEC standards (IEC Bulletin, 1998b).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    UNICE = Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe. Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    To produce a car radio, for example, Siemens needs 65 different standards that refer to about 200 other standards.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    The German standards users organization (ANP) made a guideline for participants in European standardization committees with the purpose of establishing user-firiendly European standards (Ausschuß Normenpraxis im DIN, 1995). These requirements are confirmed by Hoffimann (1995) and reflect a more general German concern about the quality and style of European standards that differ from the DIN standards they are accustomed to.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Numbering should not be mentioned here, because it is not a responsibility of standardization committees but of the CEN Central Office. Of course, users can verify whether CEN meets its own rules.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    The standards users organization Standards Engineering Society (SES) bases its recommendation on a survey among its members. It appeared that 45% indicated problems because standards’ titles did not adequately describe the subject; 40% stated that abstracts were either inadequate or non-existent; 37% stated that key words were either inadequate or non-existent. To develop proposals for improvements, SES formed task groups for designating standards, titles and keywords for standards, abstracts of standards, standards’ format, and catalogues and indexes (Mackay, 1987). Making use of the results of the deliberations of these task groups, a Recommended practice for Standards Designation and Organization was prepared, which has been issued in the form of an American National Standard (SES, 1995).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    These leaders were members of the ISO/IEC joint Presidents’ Advisory Board on Technological Trends (ABTT). It was created to advise ISO and IEC on global trends in technology and industrial development and their impact on the demand for global standardization. The apparent reason for this was the fear of ISO and IEC to lose their market share.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    It is questionable to which extent actors other than producers will be able to meet these criteria (HdV).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    The same need has been expressed by Takahashi and Tojo (1993, p. 535).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Information Technology I Subcommittee 18 Document processing and related communication. Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cobeno was a committee of Dutch standards users set up to advise the foundation governors of NNI.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    The SER consists of representatives of employers organizations and trade unions, and independent experts. They advise the national government on socio-economic issues.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    According to the SER, a standardization organization is responsible for the quality of its standards. The standardization organizations do not share this opinion; they point to the standardization committees who decide on the standards.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Meanwhile, the International Classification for Standards (ICS) has been introduced (ISO, 1993a). As far as the author knows, no investigation has been carried out to determine whether standards users perceive the ICS to be an improvement.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    IFAN = International Federation of Standards Users, see Section 3.7. A questionnaire on this issue was sent to all ISO members. Of the 85 full members, 42 NSOs returned the questionnaire; 30 of these answered they preserve their standards (IFAN, 1998b). Standards related to products, machines and installations can be part of the set of technical product documentation that should be available for maintenance and product liability purposes. Moreover, there may be an obligation to test them from time to time against the requirements of the standard that was in force when the product, machine or installation was released. New low voltage installations in the Netherlands, for example, have to meet the requirements of the Dutch standard NEN 1010 Safety requirements for low voltage installations (Nederlands Normalisatie-instituut, 1996a). Existing installations have to meet NEN 1010 edition 2, 3, 4, or 5: the edition in force at the moment the equipment was installed, supplemented with some additional requirements. So people involved in testing installations older than the present edition of NEN 1010 have to use an old edition.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Broos (cited in ISO Bulletin, 1994, p. 5) describes how the consumer’s voice could get a more structured place in standards development, namely in four steps: I investigating, frrom the start of a development, the consequences for society arising from a technology; 2 translating these aspects into consumer criteria; 3 taking account of these criteria at an early stage; 4 seeing that the consumer representatives play a role in the decision-making process. (..) In two ways the standardization process can be helpful: firstly by the fact of the participation of the consumer’s organization itself in the standardization movement, and secondly, by the participation of industrial actors willing to take consumer interests into account. Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    These data come firom an investigation among 30 national consumer organizations (mentioned by Healy & Pope, 1996, p. 7).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    An example of this is that the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee have stressed the need for greater transparency in the standardization process and asked for far greater resources to be made available for consumer representation in standardization (COPOLCO, 1996, p. 17).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    This is done, for example, by the European Commission in their Public Procurement Directives (See for an introduction on this topic and references to the Directives: Plissart, 1995).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    According to Burrows, better testing was an important reason that the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) standards got better acceptance than the competing OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) standards. This was due to better user participation, facilitated, for example, by circulating documents on the Internet (Burrows, 1993, p. 54).Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Simons and De Vries (1997, pp. 30–31) add the following to the arguments presented by Reihlen: — Most stakeholders are organized at the national level. They only occasionally have federations on the European level. Such European federations are a great distance firom the individual stakeholders in the different European countries. Although these federations may have specialized knowledge that would be welcome in deliberations at the European level, they often have no feeling for what individual stakeholders really need. — The development of European legislation is based on the input of the EU member countries. As many European standards relate to European legislation, there is an advantage to organizing standardization in a parallel way. This makes it possible to harmonize legislation and standards development on a national level. — If European standardization were centralized, CEN and CENELEC could become ISO and IEC members respectively, instead of the European NSOs. This would decrease European influence in international standardization drastically. Nowadays, European countries have a majority in many ISO and IEC committees. — Those national standards that remain will harmonize best with European standards if they are developed by committees that are directly involved in European standardization. — National involvement in European standardization enhances the abilities of an NSO to inform the national market about European developments. It is almost impossible for a European institute to inform the various national markets. Arguments for direct access to European standardization, omitting the national level, are (Simons & De Vries, 1997, pp. 29–30): — Fast-moving technical developments require fast standardization processes. Omitting national matching and voting speeds up the process. — The — mostly technical — entities to which standards refer disregard national borders. Therefore, when developing these standards no national barriers should be erected. — Trade barriers between countries have been removed. A single EU and EFTA market has been created. Consequently, the rules of the game for this market, such as standards, should be developed on the level of this market. — Many standardization topics are of such a specialized nature that only a few experts are able to participate. Many countries lack the expertise to be able to offer an intrinsic contribution. — The more involved, the higher the costs: direct participation at the European level is cheaper. Even if the number of people were equal, the number of committees in which they participate will be larger if there is a separate national level, which generates extra costs.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    In the case of electrotechnical NSOs this should be +: their national (and CENELEC) standards are based on IEC standards, with only a few exceptions.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    FSOs leave testing to the participants.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    There is a rather general support for total or partial replacement, where appropriate, of national or regional regulations by combinations of private standardization and certification. The problem of governmental wishes to add legal criteria to standardization can be solved by understanding that standardization is an economic activity by nature (Subsection 8.4.7). When governments using standards in legislation want standardization to meet legal criteria they do not respect this economic nature (De Vries, 1995c). In her study on the public law status of formal standards that are referred to in legislation, Elferink (1998) also ignores the economic nature of standardardization and the resulting standards. This leads her to conclusions on the copyright of standards that may be subject of discussion.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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