Identifying Internal Issues for ISO9001

An organisation must determine the external issues and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and strategic direction, as well as, those that affect its ability to achieve the intended results of its quality management system. This helps to define the ‘context’ and ensure the management is relevant.

These issues are inputs to management review and considered when determining the scope of the quality management system. They also contribute to identifying the risks and opportunities faced by the quality management system.

Examples of possible internal issues are:

  • Organisational structure
  • Expected retirement of key personnel
  • Availability of reliable, qualified workforce
  • Capacity for product production; service delivery
  • Addition of a second shift for increased sales
  • Aging machinery or obsolete equipment
  • Aging workforce and new hires
  • Relocation of the company
  • Business performance
  • Rules for decision making
  • Lack of organisation knowledge
  • Cost of quality
  • Poor customer satisfaction; complaints
  • Inefficient, ineffective processes
  • Resilience of infrastructure
  • Extent of outsourcing
  • Contractual arrangements with customers
  • Relationship with investors
  • Service level agreements with customers
  • Expiration of government funding
  • Work stoppage
  • Computer hacking
  • Environmental pollution
  • Social media coverage
  • Organisational culture and behaviour
  • Corporate governance

Often, a structured approach for identifying the distinct types of internal issues helps. One such framework is the McKinsey 7S Model:


  1. Strategy – Purpose of the business and the way the organisation seeks to enhance its competitive advantage.


  1. Structure – Division of activities; integration and coordination mechanisms.


  1. Systems – Formal procedures for measurement, reward, and resource allocation.


  1. Shared Values – Beliefs and principles which guide decisions and behaviour of management and employees.


  1. Skills – Core competencies and distinctive capabilities.


  1. Staff – Human resources, demographic, educational, and attitudinal characteristics.


  1. Style – Typical behaviour patterns of key groups, such as managers and other professionals.

The 7S model is based on the theory that, for an organisation to perform well, these seven elements need to be aligned and mutually reinforcing. The model can be used to understand how the organisational elements are interrelated and ensure that the wider impact of changes made in one area is taken into consideration.


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