Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The Place of ISO 18404:2015 in Organisational Improvement

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Shirley ColemanORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Emerald Publishing Limited, 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Purpose – This paper gives the background to the ISO 18404:2015 standard and explains its rationale. It aims to correct misconceptions and erroneous statements about the standard and to demonstrate the usefulness of the standard in a wide range of application sectors. Design/methodology/approach – A review of recently reported misconceptions and erroneous statements is presented and clarifications are provided. A qualitative interview approach was utilised to obtain the views of leading academics and practitioners familiar with Six Sigma and Lean in a range of sectors and from different parts of the world. This includes the results of a survey for capturing expectations and requirements for the next ISO18404 version. Findings – Clarifications were needed to correct some misconceptions and erroneous statements in recently published work. However, on review, the reports of the interviews in Antony et al. (2021) indicate that most Lean Six Sigma professionals have positive experiences with ISO 18404:2015 and see the advantages of a common standard in helping continuous improvement deployment. Possible causes of some reported negative results are already scheduled to be addressed in the forthcoming review of ISO 18404:2015. Research limitations/implications – A very real constraint when conducting research into ISO 18404:2015 is to obtain a view of the standard which is balanced with respect to those who have a vested interest in its continuation and evolution, or not. Whilst the current authors cannot claim to be any more objective than previous authors, they are highly knowledgeable about the reality of the standard. Originality/value – The paper gives a clear description of the ISO standard development process and provides a resource for insight into the value or non-value add of a standard in Six Sigma and Lean, and the appropriate details of such a standard. This forms the basis of a case for the implementation of the standard for organisations currently trying to decide whether or not to implement it.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Oudrhiri R, Al-Balushi M, Anwyl S, Bendell A, Chamie S, Coleman SY, Hayman M, Hilton R, Melhem O, Patel J, Ward S, White S, Whitehouse P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The TQM Journal

Year: 2022

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 25/04/2022

Acceptance date: 24/02/2022

Date deposited: 14/03/2022

ISSN (print): 1754-2731

ISSN (electronic): 1754-274X

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/TQM-08-2021-0243

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/5js9-d291


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric