Coordinating International Standards: The Formation of the ISO
38 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2007
Date Written: January 2007
Standard setting has been among the nuts and bolts of globalizing industrial capitalism since its beginning, assuring that things needing to work together fit from product to product, industry to industry, and country to country. The foci of the first two of the now 229 technical committees of the non-specialized international standards organizations that emerged after the two world wars - the interwar International Standards Association [ISA] and the post-World War II International Organization for Standardization [ISO] - are iconic: Screw Threads and Bolts, Nuts and Accessories. Over the past two decades, voluntary standardization processes, invented by turn-of-the-twentieth-century engineers working in national and international technical committees, have increasingly been applied to issues that have little in common with those of fitting one mechanical part to another, such as work processes (ISO 9000), environmental pollution (ISO 14,000), and human rights (SA 8000 and the planned ISO 26000). This rapidly expanding scope, plus the high visibility of standards in networked areas such as telecommunications, has led to a new scholarly interest in standard setting practices.
Keywords: international standards
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation