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Working Conditions and Effects of ISO 9000 in Six Furniture-Making Companies - Implementation and Processes
Linköping University, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
1998 (English)In: Applied Ergonomics, ISSN 0003-6870, Vol. 29, no 4, 225-232 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What effects will the implementation of the quality standard ISO 9000 have regarding working conditions and competitive advantages? Which are the most important change process characteristics for assuring improved working conditions and other desired effects? These are the main questions behind this study of six furniture-making companies which implemented ISO 9000 during the period 1991-1994. The results show that customer requirement was the dominant goal to implement ISO 9000. Five of the six companies succeeded in gaining certification. The influence on working conditions was limited, but included better order and housekeeping, more positive attitudes towards discussing quality shortcomings, a few workplace improvements, work enrichment caused by additional tasks within the quality system and a better understanding of external customer demands. Among the negative effects were new, apparently meaningless, tasks for individual workers as well as more stress and more physically strenuous work. The effects on the companies included a decrease in external quality-related costs and improved delivery precision. The study confirms the importance for efficient change of the design of the change process, and identifies ‘improvement methodology’ as the most important process characteristic. Improved working conditions are enhanced by added relevant strategic goals and by a participative implementation process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1998. Vol. 29, no 4, 225-232 p.
Keyword [en]
quality standard, change process, ergonomics, ISO 9000, furniture industry
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14671DOI: 10.1016/S0003-6870(97)00061-6OAI: diva2:24213
Available from: 2007-10-01 Created: 2007-10-01
In thesis
1. On Stage: Acting for development of businesses and ergonomics in woodworking SMEs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On Stage: Acting for development of businesses and ergonomics in woodworking SMEs
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis reports findings and results from studies of development work and change processes in the secondary woodworking industry. The purpose with the research is to increase the knowledge on how companies can initiate change and to increase their ability to change. The dual aim of improving both business and working conditions served as a guiding condition for the research. Case studies and action research were performed in small companies, mainly with less than 100 employees and in some cases less than 20 employees.

The thesis encompasses six papers addressing different topics within the framework of development work and change processes. Topics elaborated are how performance concerning the ergonomic situation in a company can be measured and how the content and process of ISO 9000 implementation as well as standardisation influence system performance and working conditions. Furthermore, a framework for how change is enacted in SMEs and its effects on ergonomic considerations is suggested. A methodology for initiating change efforts in complex and ambiguous problem situations is presented. Finally the different expert and participant roles in an organisational change effort are elaborated and analysed with reference to experiences from previous case studies and theory.

Together, the papers and the thesis emphasize the importance of action and work activities as a base for change. It is in the conflicting work activities or work conduct of differing perspectives where many of the drivers of change can be found. I also argue that this is a main reason to give good working conditions utmost importance for organisation performance. Further, I conclude that the six papers together contribute to a theoretical basis for developing small firms and attractive workplaces. It is indicated that the results are relevant to small manufacturing firms, while neither organisational structure nor resources available are the same as in larger companies. Moreover, the organisational size has a number of implications on aspects like visibility, available theoretical knowledge, vulnerability, formalisation, institutionalised organisational inertia etc. that will alter the demands on the change process. Many of the results are not limited to woodworking industry; the technical content of the ergonomics problems will however be different in other firms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling, 2007. 140 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1123
organisational change, ergonomics, woodworking, SME
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-9894 (URN)978-91-85831-18-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-10-05, C3, Hus C, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2007-10-01 Created: 2007-10-01 Last updated: 2010-01-14

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Karltun, JohanEklund, Jörgen
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