ISO Certificates as Organizational Degrees? : beyond the rational myths of the certification process

Authors: Boiral, Olivier
Abstract: This paper explores both the concrete and symbolic aspects of how ISO 9000 certification audits are prepared for and passed. Based on interviews with 60 respondents employed in certified organizations, this study analyzes the process of preparing for and passing an ISO certification audit through the lens of the degree-purchasing syndrome (DPS) in education, which refers to the disconnect between the acquisition of academic degrees and the learning process they should entail. This perspective makes it possible to go beyond the neo-institutional approach to shed light on the scholastic, ethical and contradictory aspects of the ISO certification process, which remain largely unexplored in the literature. The findings debunk the rhetoric of impartiality, objectivity and rigor surrounding the ISO certification process. They also reveal the tendency to acquire ISO certification as a sort of “organizational degree” after passing a quite predictable exam, with all the pitfalls that entails, such as rote preparation, procrastination, short-term focus and cheating
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 22 June 2012
Open Access Date: 13 April 2017
Document version: AM
This document was published in: Organization studies, Vol. 33 (5/6), 633-654 (2012)
De Gruyter
Alternative version: 10.1177/0170840612443622
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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