This document, originally posted on introduces the 7 quality management principles that ISO 9000, ISO 9001 and other related quality management standards are based on. We have summarized the key points for you to digest. View the full document on

The 7 Quality Management Principles

“Quality Management Principles are a set of fundamental beliefs, norms, rules, and values that are accepted as true and can be used as a basis for quality management”.  ISO Standards use these rules or principles as a foundation to lead an organization to improvement of their processes. These principles were “developed and updated by international experts of ISO/TC 176, which is responsible for developing and maintaining ISO quality management standards”.

1. Customer Focus

“The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectation”

This principle considers the organizations end goal of meeting, and exceed customer expectation with regards to confidence in their product or service. Sustained success is achieved by understanding the consumer and their needs; current and future; adding value at every interaction, and doing business with their needs in mind – this principle considers the companies focus is on their customer.

2. Leadership

“Leaders are all levels establish unity of purpose and direction and create conditions in which people are engaged in achieving the organization’s quality objectives”.

Leadership creates alignment. Alignment in strategies, company policies, vision and direction, processes, allocation of resources, etc. Standard within leadership are created with the purpose of achieving and succeeding company objectives.

3. Engagement of People

“Competent, empowered, and engaged people at all levels throughout the organization are essential to enhance its capability to create and deliver value”.

Simply put, organizations with engaged and empowered employees thrive.  It is essential for organizations or work effectively and efficiently, to lead and delegate by trusting their employees with the task ahead. Give recognition, empower your people and promote positivity. Facilitate the engagement of people in achieving the organization’s quality objectives.

4. Process Approach

“Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system”.

By understanding how a process achieves results, an organization can optimize their systems and improve performance. One key benefit to this is achieving “consistent and predictable outcomes through a system of aligned processes”.

5. Improvement

“Successful organizations have an ongoing focus on improvement”

As the saying goes “change is the only constant”. For organizations to remain competitive and current, constant improvement is needed. Reacting to changes internally and externally; be it shift in leadership, consumer habits, or economic shifts; can create new and positive opportunities.

6. Evidence-Based Decision Making

“Decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information are more likely to produce desired results”.

Correlation between variables, does not necessarily mean that a change in one variable is the cause of the change of the other variable. Ensure you are using sound and accurate measurements when you are making decisions to avoid subjective decisions that are not based on real data. “Facts, evidence, and data analysis lead to greater objectivity and confidence in decision making”.

7. Relationship Management

“For sustained success, and organization manages its relationships with interested parties, such as suppliers”.

Much like how engaging employees contributes to success, maintaining good relations with suppliers can influence the performance of an organization.  Suppliers and interested parties have an impact on your business and its success, whether you admit it or not. Maintaining relationships with such parties can contribute to sustained success by optimizing their impact on performance.

Next Steps

We’ve provided you with a general overview on the 7 quality management principles that are the baseline for ISO quality management standards, and how they can form a basis for performance improvement and organizational excellence.

Every organization is different, and how you apply these principles will be different, as the nature of your organization and the specific challenges you face differs. However, understanding the underlying principles is important to effectively implement standards.

Further Information

Download the PDF to dive further into each of the 7 principles. It will walk you through the Key Benefits of each of the 7 principles, and give you tangible ways to implement them in your organization. Download the PDF here.

Learn about the difference between Quality Management and Quality Improvement.


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