Context of the organisation

As the new ISO standards emerged since 2015, Context of the organisation is a new requirement that the business needs to consider in establishing the direction of the management system. The standard leads to 2 aspects that need to be considered and these aspects are mapped throughout the other clauses

  • – Understanding the organisation and its context
  • – Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties

Understanding the organisation and its context

This requires the company to determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and its strategic direction and that affect its ability to achieve the intended results of the management system.

To determine external context, you should consider issues arising from its social, technological, environmental, ethical, political, legal, and economic environment. Examples of external context may include

  • – Change in legislation
  • – Economic shifts in the market
  • – Competition
  • – Corporate image
  • – Technology

Internal context is the environment in which the company aims to achieve its objectives and may include

  • – Governance
  • – Organisational structures, roles and responsibilities
  • – Contractual relationships with customers and external parties.
  • – Objectives, policies and strategies
  • – Resource capabilities and knowledge

The context can include positive and negative factors or conditions to consider and may be detailed through varied methods such as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and PEST (political, economic, social and technological) analysis tools. This process needs to be completed with management and may form part of a business / strategic plan.

Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties

Next the company needs to identify relevant interested parties, internal and external stakeholders who impact or could potentially impact the company. Ask the question, “if it goes wrong, who will be asking questions?” Once interested parties are identified, the company needs to determine each stakeholders needs and expectations – what do they want? Examples could include

  • – Customers looking for quality, value or on time
  • – Shareholders looking for financial performance
  • – Government agencies require legislative compliance
  • – Employees looking for stability and value

Once the above are determined . the information identified helps with

  • – Determining the scope of the management system
  • – Determining the management system and its processes
  • – Links to Risk and Opportunity