A study into the pros and cons of ISO 18404: viewpoints from leading academics and practitioners

Jiju Antony*, Olivia McDermott, Michael Sony, Elizabeth A. Cudney, Ronald D. Snee, Roger W. Hoerl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to present and summarise the arguments for and against the ISO 18404 standard and the perceived advantages and disadvantages of implementing it. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative interview approach was utilised by interviewing a panel of leading academics and practitioners familiar with Lean Six Sigma. Findings: The results indicate that Lean Six Sigma professionals have conflicting opinions on ISO 18404. An overwhelming majority of the panel questioned the “quality” of the standard and whether it is “fit for purpose”, while others see the advantages of a common standard in helping continuous improvement deployment. Research limitations/implications: As the standard has not been widely adopted, there were limited examples on ISO 18404 discussion in the literature. Much of the current literature focuses on the theoretical application of the standard, with sparse practical examples providing case study deployment. Also, the interviews were short and at a high level. There is an opportunity for further study and analysis. It was difficult to find qualified interviewees who were familiar with the standard. A very real constraint when conducting research into ISO 18404 is to obtain a balanced view of the standard from those who have a vested interest in its continuation and evolution, or not. Originality/value: The paper provides a resource for people to obtain insight into the value or non-value add of a standard in Lean Six Sigma and the appropriate details of such a standard. These results can form the basis of a case for the implementation of the standard for those organisations currently trying to decide whether to implement it or not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1866
Number of pages22
JournalTQM Journal
Issue number8
Early online date23 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Continuous improvement
  • ISO 18404
  • Lean
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Quality
  • Six Sigma
  • Standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Business and International Management
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management


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