top of page

Quality Management Systems and Organization

Todays blog is about professional organization in a business and insight into how companies form streamlined services and products.

Quality Management Systems (QMS)

Note: In this blog, I will not analyze Levine and Toffel (2010) case study in depth, but reference some of their findings to assist readers with an understanding of the origins and meaning of quality management systems.

Another week of organizing companies, and we made headway in positive directions. This week’s topic, Quality Management Systems. As you organize your company, are you making headway for your business?

  • Define Quality Management System (QMS): the ability of an organization to create tools that achieve quality deliverables.

Each one of us, has an idea of what business organization refers to, and organization does not have to be defined as a QMS. From elaborate complex systems to simplistic measures helping us operate our companies, these systems can always be improved upon. I have assisted in refining systems into easy-to-use dynamic processes. I have also corrected processes that lacked development, created change, and implemented empirical studies. Each business is unique and requires strategy, but what exactly is a quality management system, where did it come from, and does it work?

Many case studies have been conducted to explore positive and negative implications of quality management systems. Harvard Business School preformed a significant case study on a QMS, specifically ISO-9001. ISO-9001 is the standard for quality management systems and promotes certification through their measures. What is a quality management system (QMS)? “Implementing a quality management system that conforms to ISO-9001 entails documenting operating procedures, training, internal auditing, and corrective action procedures. It also requires that procedures to improve existing procedures be implemented” (Levine and Toffel, 2010, p. 1-2).

In 2015 while attending graduate school, I was introduced to the civilian QMS, which I knew as Mil-Spec. I understood QMS as a streamlined process that provides step-by-step directives. The query of a QMS reducing employees’ abilities and desire to learn arose. Reason: employee’s critical thinking and innovation removed through QMS due to streamlined deliverables. However, with a QMS implemented, the organization must learn the standards of the companies QMS; thus, company norms change. “Several studies have examined how the ISO 9001 Quality Management System standard predicts changes in organizational outcomes such as profits. This is the first large-scale study to explore how employee outcomes such as employment, earnings, and health and safety change when employers adopt ISO 9001” (Levine and Toffel, 2010, p. 1). The following are Levine and Toffel (2010) hypothesis and null hypothesis, which can help us learn the implications of a QMS:

HYPOTHESIS 1a: ISO 9001 certification leads to higher rates of firm survival.

HYPOTHESIS 1b: ISO 9001 certification leads to higher sales.

HYPOTHESIS 2a: ISO 9001 certification leads to higher employment, but by less than sales increases.

HYPOTHESIS 2b: ISO 9001 certification leads to higher labor productivity.

HYPOTHESIS 3: ISO 9001 certification leads to higher wages.

HYPOTHESIS 3′: ISO 9001 certification leads to lower wages.

HYPOTHESIS 4: Adopting ISO 9001 reduces the number and cost of occupational injuries.

HYPOTHESIS 4′: Adopting ISO 9001 increases the number and cost of occupational injuries (Levine and Toffel, 2010, p. 7-9).

As a veteran of the United States Navy, the military trained me with their QMS, Mil-Spec. Our Mil-Spec included standard operating procedures (SOPs) such as directional boot lacing, phonetic alphabet, dawning a ball cap within 2 fingertip length, and even measuring a belt’s gig line to the shirt fold. Military members are trained in quality management systems from day one. MIL-Q-9858, also known as MIL-Q-9858A, set the standard for what we now know as ISO-9001. Although MIL-Q-9858A set the standard for ISO-9001, it was initially implemented for military contractors. MIL-Q-9858A was archived by the U.S. government in 1996.

After my departure from the U.S. Navy, I developed an understanding for QMS in the civilian sector. As I became immersed in graduate school, and continued to explore entrepreneurship, I met many business owners who developed a QMS without knowing what a QMS was. Some business owners did not know about ISO, though they thought about organization often. ISO-9001 was not a common conversation topic, but when the topic arose, we questioned what happened after a company obtained ISO-9001 certification. Did the company stop progression: did the company set a higher vision? Obtaining ISO-9001 certification takes enormous amounts of financing and employee dedication. Once this certificate is achieved, then what? These questions and many more were answered in Levine and Toffel (2010) case study.

Businesses follow trends, trends change, and so will QMS paradigms.

ISO-9001 is an industry standard for organization and as small business owners, QMS should be in our strategic planning. Not specifically for certification (trends change), but to understand how a business is organized; furthermore, deliver quality streamlined repetitive services or products to customers. I believe some form of a QMS enables employees and business owners to change, grow, and understand how important organization is to our customers. Sometimes as business owners, we forget to focus on the framework of our company and the systems that make it function. It is imperative that we allocate time and build systems that assist our focus on organization, goals, and strategic planning. We know how our businesses operates, and sometimes we need the tools and knowledge to develop these systems. As small business owners dawning multiple hats on a daily basis, translating our ideas onto paper can be challenging.

What is a quality management system (QMS)? What does a QMS entail? “Implementing a quality management system that conforms to ISO-9001 entails documenting operating procedures, training, internal auditing, and corrective action procedures. It also requires that procedures to improve existing procedures be implemented” (Levine and Toffel, 2010, p. 1-2). I encourage you to explore different meanings of what a QMS is and initiate the framework of your own. Take time to refocus, this can act as a template for success when it comes to QMS's. The Harvard case study link is listed below.


Levine, D. I. & Toffel, M.W. (2010). Quality Management and Job Quality: How the ISO 9001 Standard for Quality Management Systems Affects Employees and Employers [PDF file]. Retrieved from

Freedom through Capture Focus on

organization opportunity what matters

Signing off,

Paul Encinias, MBA & GCEL

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page