Can ISO 9000 Hinder Organization Learning/Innovation LO24264

From: Jan Lelie (
Date: 03/29/00

Replying to LO24250 --

I agree with you you and the others. ISO 9000 is a good standard on the
levels of rules, second game board, setting policies for the expert
actions. It's implementation however is guided by a different game board:
ethical and human relations issues. So when we implement ISO9000 as if it
is NOT a game of influencing others - and some managers do have that
tendency -, then it will not only hinder the implementation, but also will
backfire on the rules themselves.

I once was in a project for the Malcolm Baldrigde award only because my
boss wanted to make a good impression on the - American - CEO. I had
pointed out to my boss that, being the European daughter of an American
company, by the rules of the award, we even couldn't enter this game. But
he stopped the project only when the CEO lost interest in the quality
award. In the meanwhile, because everybody is always very busy, the
outside consultants had taken over the project and were busy spending our
money. As a side line: my boss only showed up once in a meeting on the
award: about ten minutes before the photographer for the internal journal
game to take some pictures. Of my boss chairing the meeting. It is true, i
can show you the pictures.

Innovation and learning are games on a "higher" level than new values:
innovation means creating new things and products, fifth level. Learning
can be played right up to and including the sixth board: new culture, new
spirit, new visions, new meanings. Learning is also learning to create new
rules for use of resources, implementing motivation, values and rules for
sustaining new rules. This would only be guided by ISO 9000000, is

Kind regards,

Jan Lelie

PS: the game boards are described in McWhinney's Paths of Change.

PPS: who of you did also have the joke that a ISO certified organization
is ISOlated.

"C.W. Russ Russo" wrote:
> I am always flabbergasted when I read anyone thinks the ISO 9000 standard
> is somehow detrimental to an organization.
> The standard is a ten page, generic, very basic, vanilla quality
> management system. Using it for what it is will help any organization get
> started to develop a basic quality system. Expecting ISO to help a
> basically flawed organization or to work miracles is foolhardy.


Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (Jan) LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development Mind@Work - est. 1998 - Group Decision Process Support Tel.: (+ 31) (0)70 3243475 or car: (+ 31)(0)65 4685114 and/or taoSystems: + 31 (0)30 6377973 -

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