Management System Standards - Part 2 - Common Structure

Go to -

Management System Standards - Part 1 - Overview

Management System Standards - Part 3 - Two Free Standards

Management System Standards - Part 4 - Interaction

Management System Standards - Part 5 - Implementation

Management System Standards - Part 6 - Certification

Common Structure

The majority of ISO management system standards are now based upon a common structure. This was previously known as the High Level Structure (HLS). It was revised in April 2021 and renamed as the Harmonised Structure (HS). This common structure enables organisations to more easily implement a management system that conforms to two or more management system standards, often referred to as an Integrated Management System (IMS). The HLS/HS consists of a core text, a set of section headings and body text, which provides a foundation for management system standards. The core text is mandatory and is present in all new management system standards and most recent revisions of older management system standards. (One exception is ISO 13485:2016 Medical devices - Quality management systems - Requirements for regulatory purposes.)

The following document provides a background and overview of the common structure of ISO management system standards.

HS - Background and Overview

Each ISO management system standard consists of this core text, plus additional text, which is specific to the aspect of operations that the management system standard governs. The amount, and nature of, the additional text, differs considerably amongst these standards.

For example, ISO 55001:2014 - Asset management systems - Requirements contains a comparatively small amount of additional text, including one section on Information Requirements and one on Outsourcing.

By contrast, ISO 44001:2017 - Collaborative business relationship management systems - Requirements and framework, contains a substantial amount of additional text, encompassing a complete collaborative framework, known as CRAFT (Collaboration, Relationship, Assessment, Fulfilment and Transformation), which is based upon extensive commercial experience and academic research.

Encapsulation of Good Management

The core text that provides the foundation of (most) ISO management system standards encapsulates attributes and practices of good management of all aspects of operations.

The additional text that is added to the core text, to create a management system standard, encapsulates attributes and practices of good management, which are specific to the aspect of operations that the standard governs.