Standards for Business - How Companies Benefit from Participation in International Standards Setting

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) celebrated its anniversary in 2006. Since 1906, it has published thousands of standards that have shaped the world of electronics, electrotechnology and information technology. These standards are developed in hundreds of committees and working groups in which experts from all over the world participate. Famous scientists like Lord Kelvin have contributed to the development of IEC standards, but most participants in standards setting are experts from industry. Companies decide to invest in standardization and, apparently, expect returns on this investment. In this paper we present four cases in which companies indeed reaped substantial benefits from this investment, in terms of market share or cost savings. However, success for one company can mean losses for its competitor. Getting returns is not self-evident and therefore we also present findings which may support companies to decide whether or not to invest in standardization. A website has been developed to provide additional information.



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Classification:Publications with Economic / Trade Focus
AuthorsHenk De Vries (RSM Erasmus University, Netherlands)
Other bibliographical information:International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)