Research Essay on Motivations and Barriers to The Adoption of ISO 14001 in Saudi Arabia Organizations

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Vanderbilt University
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Despite the limited available information on international Organization standardization 14001, there is significant content on the motivation and the barriers to the implementation of the standardization program by Saudi Arabia organizations. Many studies have established motivations, barriers, and the benefits of ISO 14001 in other countries without any prioritization on Saudi Arabia. However, these studies can be used to shed light on the motivations and barriers in the implementation of ISO 14001 by organizations in Saudi Arabia. The demand and implementation of ISO 14001 in Saudi Arabia and other countries is due to certification purposes and the demand by consumers. ISO certification improves the organization's image to the consumers who are keen on standards and the ability of the organization ability to meet environmental conservation protocols and standardization of the quality of the organization's products (Mariotti et al. 2014).

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Importance of The Adoption of ISO 14001

In most economies including Saudi Arabia adoption of the ISO 14001 by organizations has been a result of the understanding of customers' needs and market regulations to improve standardization of products to meet international standards approval. Globalization plays a significant role in the introduction of ISO standardization due to the need for a global applied and accepted quality of products, services, and processes. ISO standardization ensures that organizations can participate in international markets due to the globalization of markets and products. European-based economies have already implemented the ISO standardization procedures, and consumers are already aware of the demands and requirements of the products and services. Consumer awareness of the ISO 14001 needs and specifications makes it difficult for organizations in Saudi Arabia to play in international markets without the necessary ISO 14001 certification requirements. Global organization partnerships through franchising and other organization partnerships have significantly increased the implementation of ISO 14001 standards by Saudi Arabian organizations with the aim of improving their acceptability internationally (Kadasah, 2013).

Exporters in Saudi Arabia are forced by the requirements of the international standards to conform to the ISO 14001 requirements with the aim of improving the acceptability of their products in western markets. Without ISO 14001 organizations in Saudi Arabia would be locked out from participating in international markets. Competition in the domestic markets in Saudi Arabia has also forced organizations in Saudi Arabia to seek ISO certification. Most of the consumers in the Saudi Arabian markets demand foreign products due to their superior quality and standardization. This fact and the liberalization of the Saudi Arabian markets has forced Saudi Arabian organizations to seek ISO certification to attract acceptability by their domestic consumers. Liberalization of the market has also pushed Saudi Arabian organizations to seek ISO 14001 certification to meet the products and services standards requirements (Mariotti et al. 2014).

View of Experts on The Adoption of ISO 14001

A study carried out Alnaeem (2016) has shed more light on the ISO 14001 implementation and motivation in Saudi Arabia. By 2007 the study indicates that a significant number of organizations had already implemented the ISO 14001. However, the study has indicated that the reason behind the ISO certification of organizations in Saudi Arabia is driven by the internal forces. Internal forces for the ISO certification of Saudi Arabian organizations is due to the awareness and information availability by Saudi Arabian consumers. ISO certification reduces the competition of Saudi Arabian organizations products against European imports. Also, internally the quality of goods and standardization of Saudi Arabian organizations improves the competition score of organizations against other Saudi Arabian organizations without ISO certification (Alnaeem, 2016).

Santos et al. have also explored the challenges that organizations face in the implementation of ISO 14001. The barriers are both economical, procedural and also international organization characteristics. Compulsory requirements by the government for the organizations to be ISO certified has reduced the enthusiasm and internal commitment of organizations to seek ISO certification in some sectors because it is an expensive undertaking. Over expectations by organizations seeking ISO certification has also played a significant barrier to the implementation of ISO 14001. Most organizations do not realize any difference from those organizations that are not ISO certified which reduces the internal drive of organizations to seek ISO standardization. The lack of commitment by organizations owners and executives to implement ISO certification is a significant barrier in the acquisition of ISO 14001certificates by organizations. The most executives site that the ISO certification is not important as long as their organizations are making profits and their products remain relevant in the market (Santos et al. 2016).

Kadash notes that in terms of policies the existing certification policies and programs are bureaucratic which makes the process of acquiring ISO certification rigid and challenging for many organizations. There is need for policy reforms to improve ease in acquiring ISO certification and reducing the existing rigidity that makes many organizations executives not consider ISO certification. High turnover of the top organization management and low education by the aspiring executives has significantly played a role in reducing the ability of organizations to acquire ISO 14001 certification. Incoming executives fail to continue with the agendas established by other preceding executives which leads to the stalling of the ISO 14001 certification programs (Kadasah, 2013).


Alnaeem, M. (2016). Understanding and improving the manufacturing and changeover process in Saudi Arabian business-a multiple case study approach (Doctoral dissertation, Aston University).

Kadasah, N. A. (2013). Attitudes of Managers towards the Potential Effects of ISO 14001 in Saudi Arabia: Factor Analysis. International Business Research, 6(7), 91.

Mariotti, F., Kadasah, N., & Abdulghaffar, N. (2014). Motivations and barriers affecting the implementation of ISO 14001 in Saudi Arabia: an empirical investigation. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 25(11-12), 1352-1364.

Santos, G., Rebelo, M., Lopes, N., Alves, M. R., & Silva, R. (2016). Implementing and certifying ISO 14001 in Portugal: motives, difficulties and benefits after ISO 9001 certification. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 27(11-12), 1211-1223.

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