The ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 management systems standards require organizations to understand the needs and expectations of Interested Parties.
In this post, QSE Academy explains who are the Interested Parties and how your organization can manage them. You will also learn how to comprehend and prioritize your interested parties.
Introduction to Interested Parties
ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 both define Interested Parties as a:
“Person or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision or activity.”
According to ISO 14001, ‘to perceive itself or to be affected’ means the observation has been recognized to the organization. This covers comments or feedback from an organization’s social media channels.
Meanwhile, ISO 45001 states that “This International Standard sets out requirements with respect to workers who are also Interested Parties”.
In terms of explaining the concept of Interested Parties in the context of quality management, ISO 14001 notes:
- It is vital to consider all relevant Interested Parties since the concept goes beyond focusing entirely on customers.
- Relevant Interested Parties cause substantial risk to an organization’s sustainability if their expectations and needs aren’t fulfilled.
Examples of Interested Parties
Note that examples may depend on each type of management system standard.
For example, ISO 9001 covers customers, owners, employees, regulators, unions, partners, and competitors among others.
Moreover, ISO 14001 encompasses customers, suppliers, communities, non-governmental organizations, investors, and the like.
On the other hand, ISO 45001 includes workers, top management, external providers, contractors, agency workers, and so forth.
However, they are not mutually exclusive. This means they can cross over between management systems depending on relevance.
In addition, these examples are exhaustive. Therefore, they must be measured as a starting point only.
Your organization must read and understand the definitions of each example in certain standards.
Interested Parties: Understanding Their Needs and Expectations
Your organization must not underestimate the significance of stakeholder management to your success.
More than being customer-focused, it is about vigorously understanding and handling the changing, positive, and negative stimuli of stakeholders.
ISO management systems standards synonymously refer to stakeholders as Interested Parties.
According to ISO 9000, “Organizations attract, capture, and retain the support of the relevant interested parties they depend upon for their success”.
- Interested Parties are considered a crucial part of the context of the organization.
- Interested Parties should be understood before defining the management system’s scope.
- Context + Interested Parties = Scope of the Management System
To understand the expectations and needs of Interested Parties, an organization must establish:
- The relevant Interested Parties to the management system;
- The requirements significant to the management system, such as expectations and needs of Interested Parties,
Interested Parties and their Relationships
QSE Academy recommends combining Interested Parties based on their relationships with organizations.
ISO 14004 – EMS Guidelines for Implementation provide samples of Interested Parties based on their relationships with organizations, by their:
- Authority– regulators, etc.
- Responsibility– investors, etc.
- Representation– trade unions, etc.
- Influence– pressure groups, etc.
- Dependency– employees, etc.
- Proximity– neighbors, etc.
There are instances where different management approaches require sub-categories. For instance, customers may add transactional customers, which have different expectations and needs to key accounts.
Relevance, Expectations, and Needs of Interested Parties
Needs, expectations, and relevance depend on the complexity and size of your organization.
For example, a multi-national law firm may need a range of research methods such as qualitative and quantitative.
Meanwhile, a five-employee printing shop may finish research using a few phone calls to customers and suppliers.
Power and Interest
To help you decide how to manage Interested Parties, use Johnson and Scholes’ Power/Interest Matrix. This tool covers vital relationship variables:
- Strength of relevance – How much interest does Interested Parties have in your organization’s activities and decisions.
- Significance of risk – How much influence or power does Interested Parties have over your organization’s activities and decisions.
Mapping Interested Parties
This helps prioritize the needed effort to fulfill the needs and expectations of Interested Parties.
- Pinpoint significant Interested Parties – Use samples from the ISO management systems standards to create a categorized list.
- Determine the needs and expectations of Interested Parties –Apply various research methods to verify your understanding of each significant stakeholder.
- Rank Interested Parties in terms of interest and power – Assess their level of influence and strength of interest over your organization’s actions and decisions.
- Establish priorities and objectives – To reduce the risk that expectations and needs of Interested Parties are not met, determine results needed to be achieved.
It is crucial and valuable to understand the expectations and needs of Interested Parties to help your organization:
- Outline the management system’s scope;
- Fulfill compliance responsibilities;
- Achieve constant improvement;
- Guarantee customer satisfaction;
- Meet the requirements of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001.
QSE Academy prepared this comprehensive guide to help your organization develop a framework for determining, comprehending, tracking, and reviewing Interested Parties.