Understanding ISO 9001:2015
5.1 Leadership and commitment
This version of the ISO 9001 standard has significantly broadened the role of top role in demonstrating leadership
and commitment in ensuring the success of the QMS. It uses words like accountability, ensuring, promoting,
communicating, engaging, directing, supporting, etc., to encompass a broad spectrum of QMS activities that it must
demonstrate its leadership and commitment to.
QMS activities themselves that top management must demonstrate leadership and commitment are covered in detail
in other parts of this ISO 9001 standard. In this clause, we are only concerned with top management’s role in
each of them.
Let’s take a closer look at what these words mean in the context of ISO 9001 requirements:
: means to show; to prove, make evident, display, explain, exhibit, illustrate, substantiate, to provide reasons
for. ISO 9001 requires top management to demonstrate by these means its role in fulfilling the requirements
specified in clause 5.1.1.a-j.
Leadership: is a process of creating a work
environment that motivates employees to do their best in performing their functions and take a proprietary
interest in producing quality products or services. Leadership
must be provided by top management.
management may do this by inspiring and harnessing the thoughts and behavior of personnel to focus their
collective efforts towards the achievement of the organization’s mission, goals and objectives.
successful implementation of desired leadership techniques is crucial for effective QMS implementation and
sustained business success.
is defined by ISO 9000 as the person or group of people who directs and controls an organization at the highest
is defined as the act of getting people and resources together to accomplish desired goals and objectives
efficiently and effectively.
Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization for the
purpose of accomplishing the organization’s mission, goals and objectives.
by top management means providing leadership, resources, support, taking ownership and facilitating the success
of implementing and maintaining an effective QMS. To encourage buy-in from employees in using the QMS
effectively, top management must clearly demonstrate that they are behind it one hundred percent in word and
that we have clarified the terminology, let’s take a look at each of these requirements. Subclauses5.1.1.a–j
lists the specific requirements that top management has responsibility and accountability for.
In my eCourse “Understanding ISO
9001:2015” I devote
nearly 10 pages explaining these responsibilities and specific actions that top management must take to address