Different approaches to integration of management systems (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and SA 8000) with various levels of ambition have emerged. The tendency of increased compatibility between these standards has paved the road for discussions of, how to understand the different aspects of integration. The focus of the article is primarily to discuss three ambition levels of integration: from increased compatibility of system elements over coordination of generic processes to an embeddedness of an integrated management system (IMS) in a culture of learning and continuous improvements. At present, national IMS standards are being developed, and the IMS standards in Denmark and Spain are being analysed regarding the ambition level for integration. Should the ISO organisation decide to make a standard for IMS, then it would be necessary to consider the different levels of integration in order to make a coherent standard. So far, management systems have had major focus within organisations. However, in order to create competitive advantages for the organisation and contribute to a sustainable development, the IMS has to be expanded to include the whole product chain and all the stakeholders.
Journal of Cleaner Production, 2006, Vol 14, Issue 8, p. 713-722
Integrated management systems; Compatibility; Coordinated generic processes; Integration; Management system; ISO 9001; ISO 14001; OHSAS 18001; SA 8000