International standards in the IT marketplace: How to bridge the gap and face the threats
Standards development and adoption play a crucial role in shaping competition in the IT industry. In addition to the traditional, formal standards development organisations (SDOs), many private consortia bodies are formed and are seen to produce standards that are more competitive. International SDOs are well-respected because of the legitimacy of the standards that they develop. However, given the rapid nature of IT and the demands for standards to be set and released in pace with the industry rapidity, the traditional approach of standard development have been criticised over the years for being slow and bureaucratic and organisational reforms have been called for. Some believe that international standards are at the crossroads. This study examines the position of international standards against consortia standards. It aims to bring a perspective in which informal standards are seen as a complement to formal international standards, not a competitor. This paper contributes to the literature by combining the perspectives of different authors on both international and consortia standards. It is an exploratory research study that looks at the standardisation phenomena and the confrontation between ‘traditional’ and consortia standard-setting approaches from two perspectives: on one hand it analyses the nature of each standardisation approach, and on the other hand it examines the adoption of standards in the market and its trends. This paper is based largely on a comparative, critical survey of papers written about both international and consortia standardisation. Initial findings were validated and supplemented with insight gathered through personal interviews with people who encountered standards in their work experience. The findings from the literature illustrate an unbalanced portrayal in the way the tension between international standards and consortia standards is perceived. Findings lead to the conclusion that international standards will always have a role to play and should co-exist with consortia standards without losing their significance.
Degree Discipline: Information Science
Keywords: Standards development; IT industry; consortia standards; formal international standards,
Research Type: Dissertation