TILEC Work In Progress: Stephanie Bijlmakers
The International Organization for Standardization: A 75-year journey towards organizational resilience
The standard setting environment of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has seen important changes since ISO’s creation in 1946. The evolution of ISO can be explained in relation to its ability to respond these changes and relating challenges, and to adjust in order to ensure its continued relevance. This chapter identifies certain exogenous trends, changes and challenges posed by its environment across different time periods in ISO’s history, and in relation to crises. It examines their implications for ISO and relating responses and transformations of the organization. This empirical case study of ISO develops the argument that ISO has built its resilience by meeting these challenges and achieving transformations that enabled it to ensure its continued relevance. This study serves to illuminate how transformations related to ISO’s organizational system and key elements (leadership, culture, membership, decision-making processes, standard setting procedures) have contributed to its resilience over time. The goal of facilitating the development of trade is still of key importance to ISO today, and its core activity remains standardization. ISO has also resisted changes, inter alia, to its business model. This chapter recognizes the importance of a contextualized approach to understanding the evolution and resilience of private/hybrid standard setting bodies (SSBs), in relation to crises. Nonetheless, lessons can be learned from this case study about how SSBs can build resilience over time.
This first section of this chapter introduces the analytical framework. The second section provides background information about the methodology of this empirical case study. The third part explores the challenges posed by ISO’s evolving and dynamic environment and responses of ISO’s across three different time periods in ISO’s history. These time periods are separated by shifts in regulatory paradigms within ISO. Drivers of change and relating risks and opportunities for ISO to ensure its continued relevance are identified for each period. The third part is an assessment of how changes to ISO’s organizational system and key elements have contributed to ISO’s resilience. Finally, this chapter concludes.
Key words : ISO, resilience, evolution, standardsetting bodies, private regulation
speaker : Stephanie Bijlmakers
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