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Uneven Geographies of Organizational Practice: Explaining the Cross-National Transfer and Diffusion of ISO 9000


Eric Neumayer


London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Richard Perkins


University of Plymouth - School of Geography

October 1, 2004

Economic Geography, Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. 237-259, 2005

Abstract:     
There is growing recognition that organizational innovations can have a major influence on the geography of economic activity. Yet, very little is known about the mechanisms and geographic preconditions underlying their diffusion, particularly at the global level. In this paper we seek to fill this gap using the example of ISO 9000, the internationally-recognized set of standards for quality management. We develop a series of hypotheses about the conditions under which organizations are most likely to adopt ISO 9000 which we test using panel data for 130 countries over the period 1995-2001. Our findings support the idea that transnational networks connecting different countries at the international level provide conduits for the cross-national transfer of new organizational practices. Thus, exports to the EU, local involvement of transnational corporations (TNCs), European colonial ties, and the availability of telecommunications, all emerge as statistically significant determinants of ISO adoptions. Our findings also underscore the importance of national environmental conditions in influencing the receptiveness of organizations to new practices. Low regulatory burden, a high share of manufacturing activity, high rates of secondary school enrolment, and low levels of productivity, are positively correlated with the number of ISO 9000 certificates. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of our findings for current debates about the mechanisms, preconditions and scales of organizational transfer, diffusion and convergence.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

Keywords: ISO 9000, standards, cross-national diffusion, globalization, institutionalism

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Date posted: March 15, 2004 ; Last revised: June 28, 2012

Suggested Citation

Neumayer, Eric and Perkins, Richard, Uneven Geographies of Organizational Practice: Explaining the Cross-National Transfer and Diffusion of ISO 9000 (October 1, 2004). Economic Geography, Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. 237-259, 2005 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=516863

Contact Information

Eric Neumayer (Contact Author)
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )
Houghton Street
WC2A 2AE London
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer
Richard Perkins
University of Plymouth - School of Geography ( email )
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA
United Kingdom
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