Analysis of NSO Standard Development

  • Henk J. de Vries


This chapter analyses NSO services related to standards development, as the basis for a discussion of possible improvements in the process (Chapter 6). In order to systematize the analysis, a distinction is used that will be further elucidated in Chapter 11. It proved its value for systematic market studies on standardization in service sectors, and was also used for studying possibilities for innovation (Wintraaken, 1997). The distinction concerns: 1) the service organization, 2) its employees, 3) service delivery, 4) service results, 5) physical objects supporting service delivery, 6) workroom, 7) additional elements to the core service, 8) communication between customer and service organization, and 9) communication within the service organization. An important question is: who is the client? This will be addressed in Section 5.2. In fact, NSOs have to satisfy several categories of customers. Moreover, there is no clear distinction between service production, delivery, and consumption: committee members are customers but are also co-producers. This influences an NSO’s ability to meet customer demands (see Section 5.3).


Task Allocation Environmental Management System Standardization Committee Standard Development Work Item 
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  1. 1.
    This does not mean that they do not deserve special attention. ICT applications mean additional requirements for meeting rooms and secretarial support. For example, all participants need a monitor or PC, and the activity of photocopying is replaced by file management. The ISO/IEC Working Group on Coding of moving pictures and audio uses a guide that sets requirements for meeting accommodation (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11, 1998).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Quoted by Schmidt & Werle (1998, p. 94). Sirbu and Hughes examined a standardization committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on local area networks (LANs).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    This may include causing delay (see Subsection 5.3.4) and trying to hinder standards development.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    This social mechanism has also been observed by Grotenhuis (1997) in groups that had to generate specifications for information systems.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    CEN describes expected behaviour in a detailed way in its loose-leaf CEN System Handbook, for instance, 34 pages on The first plenary meeting of a Technical Committee (CEN, 1997b) and 5 pages on Responsibilities of the Chairman of a Technical Committee (CEN, 1996a). The IEC provides guidance for convenors of WGs and project leaders (IEC, 1995a).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    To be able to slow down the process, actors need to be skilled in using formal procedures, maybe even more so than other participants.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    For reasons of confidentiality, the two studies could not be used in this thesis.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    By way of comparison, the American Society for Testing and Materials, an SSO, says in its mission statement: To be the foremost developer and provider of voluntary consensus standards, related technical information, and services having internationally recognized quality and applicability (...) (ASTM, 1998).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    NSOs, to a large extent, gear their procedures to those of the ISO and IEC, and, as far as Western Europe is concerned, to those of CEN and CENELEC. The ISO and IEC changed their Directives to enhance speed (TC Communiqué, 1994). CEN has an ’Optimizing’ project, in which changing procedures is a main issue (Enjeux, 1996b).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    IEC’s data are comparable. The average development time for standards published in the period between October 1997 and October 1998 was 6 years (Raeburn, 1998c).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    In the Netherlands, there is an average of 208 working days per year (based on an average of 5% absence through illness, 5 public holidays, and 35 holiday). NNI technical officers are expected to have 190 days paid work. The remaining days are for education, providing information, keeping up with the market, preparing new projects, and participating in office activities such as meetings and social activities. Many of them, however, have planned work for more than 190 days. By way of comparison, Dutch consultancy firms have about 165 paid days per year.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    This also applies at the international and regional level. In 1994, the IEC found that no fewer than 85% of the manuscripts offered to IEC’ Central Office for preparation of the Draft International Standard were found not to be in accordance with the rules for the presentation of standards (laid down in Part 3 of the ISO/IEC Directives) and 35% were unusable — this despite the Central Office editing all CDVs (Committee Draft for Vote) during voting and sending the corrected documents to TC/SC Secretaries (IEC Bulletin, 1994, p. II). Checking whether CEN’s PNE Rules (Rules for the Presentation of European Standards) are met is the first point on the checklist for participants in European standardization issued by the German standards users organization (Ausschuß Normenpraxis im DIN, 1995, p. 15–3).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    This applies, for instance, to the Belgian NSO BIN/IBN, and the ISO, IEC, CEN, and CENELEC.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    For example, the German language in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Source: personal communication of Mrs. E.P. van der Valk, NNI’s human resources manager.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    See Subsection 3.2.3 and ISO Bulletin, 1996a.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    The latter develop joint standards for the timber industries (Pontoni, 1998a).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    EN 10238 has been prepared by SC 2 Automatically blast cleaned and primed steel products of TC 10 Structural steels — Qualities of the European Committee for Iron and Steels Standardization (ECISS). ECISS is one of CEN’s Associated Bodies (Abecassis (Ed.), 1995, pp. 27, 74–93, 394–395).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    In the Netherlands, the work item was shifted from the metal to the chemical sector. This also had consequences for the classification used for announcement of the new standard, which for some companies hindered tracing the standard.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    EN 10238 is related to two European New Approach Directives: the Council Directive on Construction Products (89/106/EEC (Official Journal L040), amended 93/68/EEC (L220)) and the Council Directive relating to Simple Pressure Vessels (87/404/EEC (L220), amended 90/488/EEC (L270) and 93/68/EEC (L220), rectified in 1990 (387L040R(01) (L031)) and 1997 (393L0068R(01) (L216)). At the very beginning of the project the relation to these directives was mentioned. It is, however, not clear whether an official link will be established (by mentioning the standard in the EC Official Journal). Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    The source of this paragraph is personal experience.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    SGML = Standard Generalized Markup Language. SGML is a device-independent method of representing text in electronic form. It is a meta-language: a means of formally describing a language. SGML is laid down in the international standard ISO 8879 and some additional standards. More about SGML can be found, for example, in Sperberg-McQueen & Burnard, 1997. SGML offers a standard way of describing the structure of a document. Once structured, the text can be manipulated, and, for instance, be published in several forms using different media. SGML facilitates advanced document searching and enables hypertext applications. DIN has already introduced SGML (Marschall & Wernicke, 1997; Walter, 1998, p. 291).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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