Empirical Research of the ISO 9001:2015 Transition Process in Portugal: Motivations, Benefits, and Success Factors

Luis Miguel Fonseca, José Pedro Domingues


Purpose: With the transition period for ISO 9001 certified organisations to migrate to the 2015 edition ending 15th September 2018, this investigation aims to evaluate the status of ISO 9001:2015 transition process and provide useful knowledge on the corresponding motivations, benefits, and success factors.

Methodology/Approach: An empirical study of more than 300 Portuguese organisations ISO 9001 certified, or in certification process, encompassing a wide range of activities sectors, was carried out.

Findings: As of May 2017, 19% of the respondents already have ISO 9001:2015 certification and all the remaining one’s plan to complete the process in time. The principal reported benefits are risk-based thinking, mapping of the organisational context, and stakeholder identification. Simultaneously those were the issues that required more attention and effort to be mastered and implemented. Additionally, there is evidence that ISO 9001:2015 enhances both internal and external organisational issues and generates benefits for all the researched dimensions. Based on the respondents’ responses, organisations who claimed that external motivations were the primary drivers to ISO 9001:2015 implementation systematically rate higher all the benefits when compared with the rating ascribed by those organisations who claimed internal motivations. Moreover, it is possible to conclude that the perceived benefits from ISO 9001:2015 implementation and certification seem to be strongly influenced by two primary dimensions: the (smaller) organisation size and the (lesser) international presence.

Research Limitation/implication: Due to ISO 9001:2015 novelty, the results of this investigation should be subject to future confirmation and replicated in other countries to allow a generalisation of the conclusions. Since the survey is based on the perceptions of the organisation’s Managers, there is a potential response bias risk that should be acknowledged.

Originality/Value of paper: With more than 1.2 million ISO 9001 certified organisation worldwide, this a highly relevant issue both for organisations, practitioners and academics. Due to ISO 9001:2015 novelty, this investigation aims to fill this research gap.


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Luis Miguel Fonseca
lmf@isep.ipp.pt (Primary Contact)
José Pedro Domingues
Author Biographies

Luis Miguel Fonseca, ISEP-IPP, School of Engineering Polytechnic of Porto

Adjunct Professor at ISEP-IPP, School of Engineering Polytechnic of Porto, Mechanical Engineering Department, teaching Industrial Management (MsC and BsC Engineering Courses) since 1989. Luis Fonseca holds a PhD in Management (ISCTE-IUL, 2012), an MBA (IEP/ESADE, 1993), a Specialization in Quality Engineering (UNL/ISQ, 1987) and is Electrical Engineer (UP, 1982)

Main research areas are Quality, Management, Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Industrial Engineering and Management:

  • ”Agostinho Roseta Award”, 2013 – 8th Edition, given by IEFP,  Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional, IP,  for PhD Thesis “Influence of Social Responsibility in the sustainable success of organizations”, category Studies and Research Works.
  • Award for the best article published in “Revista Qualidade” (Journal of the Portuguese Association for Quality), 9th Edition – 2013, “Zulema Lopes Pereira”.
  • Elected by ASQ board of directors (November 7, 2014) as ASQ "Fellow "in recognition for the significant contributions to quality", being the first Portuguese to receive this distinction.

José Pedro Domingues, ISEP-IPP, School of Engineering Polytechnic of Porto

received the Bachelor degree in Chemistry (1996), the MSc Degree in Textile Environmental Chemistry (2001) and a PhD Degree in Industrial Engineering and Systems (2013) all of them from the University of Minho. He is an invited professor at ISEP—Porto School of Engineering and researcher at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal

Fonseca, L. M., & Domingues, J. P. (2018). Empirical Research of the ISO 9001:2015 Transition Process in Portugal: Motivations, Benefits, and Success Factors. Quality Innovation Prosperity, 22(2), 16–46. https://doi.org/10.12776/qip.v22i2.1099
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