Interested Parties ISO 9001 : How to Define and Manage them

How to Define and Manage Interested Parties
ISO 9001

Interested Parties ISO 9001 : How to Define and Manage them

Interested Parties

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 Interested Parties and how your organization can manage them. You will also learn how to comprehend and prioritize them.

The standard ISO 9001:2015 requires that organizations take into account the needs and expectations of interested parties when planning and implementing their quality management system (QMS). So, what are interested parties and how can you make sure you’re meeting their needs?

Interested parties can be defined as any individual or group that can affect or be affected by an organization’s activities. This includes customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, regulators, and the community at large.

The standard requires that organizations identify the interested parties relevant to their QMS and determine how to communicate with them. Organizations must also take into account the needs and expectations of interested parties when planning and implementing changes to their QMS.

One way to ensure your organization is meeting the needs of interested parties is to involve them in the QMS planning process. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or other methods of gathering feedback.

Another way to keep interested parties informed is to establish a system for communicating changes to the QMS. This could include sending out newsletters, holding meetings, or posting updates on a company website or intranet.

By taking into account the needs and expectations of interested parties, organizations can ensure their QMS is responsive to the changing needs of their environment and better able to meet customer requirements.


ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 both define IP 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 concerning workers who are also Interested Parties”.

In terms of explaining the concept of IP in the context of quality management, ISO 14001 notes:

  • It is vital to consider all relevant IP since the concept goes beyond focusing entirely on customers.
  • Relevant IP uses 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.

Besides, 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.

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”.

  • IPs are considered a crucial part of the context of the organization.
  • IPs should be understood before defining the management system’s scope.
  • Context + IPs = Scope of the Management System

To understand the expectations and needs of IPs, an organization must establish:

  1. The relevant IPs to the management system;
  2. The requirements significant to the management system, such as expectations and needs of IPs,

Interested Parties and their Relationships

QSE Academy recommends combining IPs based on their relationships with organizations.

ISO 14004 – EMS Guidelines for Implementation provide samples of IPs 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 for 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 IPs, use Johnson and Scholes’ Power/Interest Matrix. This tool covers vital relationship variables:

  1. Strength of relevance – How much interest does IPs have in your organization’s activities and decisions.
  2. Significance of risk – How much influence or power does IPs have over your organization’s activities and decisions.

Mapping Interested Parties

This helps prioritize the needed effort to fulfill the needs and expectations of IPs.

  • Pinpoint significant IPsUse samples from the ISO management systems standards to create a categorized list.
  • Determine the needs and expectations of IPsApply various research methods to verify your understanding of each significant stakeholder.
  • Rank IPs in terms of interest and powerAssess 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 IPs are not met, determine results needed to be achieved.


            It is crucial and valuable to understand the expectations and needs of IPs 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.

Likewise, we have formulated toolkits to assist your organization in creating a process that relates Interested Parties with your management system’s scope.

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