Overview of the Swiss-Based International Organization for Standardization

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The Swiss-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world's largest developer of International Standards. These standards provide specifications for products, services and practices, regardless of type of industry. They are designed to make global trade more efficient and effective by providing common language and criteria. Founded in 1947, the ISO has published more than 19,000 International Standards for nearly every aspect of business and technology ("About ISO," n.d.) ISO 9000 refers to a single standard of the same name. It can also refer to a set of three standards (ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004), all of which are referred to as "quality management system standards" ("ISO 9000 and ISO 9001," 2012). An organization is ISO 9000-certified when it demonstrates that it successfully follows the ISO 9000 standards for its industry. As of 2005, there were approximately 350,000 ISO 9000-certified organizations in over one hundred fifty countries worldwide (Rouse, 2005). These numbers attest to how the Standards have been received worldwide. In a survey conducted by Dowling College of Long Island, nearly half of ISO 9000-registered companies in the New York City metropolitan area reported an increase in their European market share after registration (Hutchens, n.d.). To become certified, an organization is subject to examination by an outside assessor, who audits paperwork as well as interviews staff members to ensure they understand their
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