Professor Henk de Vries

Henk de Vries, Endowed Professor of Standardisation Management at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) will deliver his inaugural address entitled Standardisation Management on Friday 4 October 2019. In his inaugural address, Professor De Vries will give an overview and update of research into standardisation at RSM, and the emphasis on management that he intends to add through his work. He will argue that many companies are insufficiently aware of the relevance of standardisation on business, and lack a clear policy at company level. Prof. De Vries will highlight strategic dilemmas presented by standardisation, and the managerial opportunities.

Prof. De Vries’ appointment at RSM emphasises the huge relevance of standardisation in business and society. Standards are essential for the success of products and services in the market, and for the good functioning of processes and organisations. Standards shape technological development by providing agreed solutions for, for example, interoperability, quality and safety. Trends such as globalisation, integration of ICT and electrotechnology in almost every sector, and the increased attention for sustainability, make standards even more important.

During his lecture, Prof.De Vries will focus on three levels of standardisation management: the first level is within companies; the second level is standardisation projects in which many stakeholders participate, and the third level is the organisational setting of such projects at national or international level.

Ready for improvement

Within companies, the first level of standardisation balances the need for stable quality and interoperability of products, services, processes and management systems and their alignment with external standards, with the need to improve and innovate these and to influence the development of external standards. Most companies fail to manage this.

The second level of standardisation management relates to projects in which a group of companies and other stakeholders co-operate in developing common standards. The management of such projects is ready for improvement, says De Vries: “Standardisation includes designing and decision-making, and the challenge is to manage projects so that standards can be implemented and used – and that the intended benefits for business and society are achieved.”

The third level of management relates to the organisational setting for standardisation. Standardisation has its own organisations but there are also roles for trade associations, governments and organisations involved in conformity assessment such as certification bodies and accreditation organisations. De Vries: “I aim to continue and expand my co-operation with such organisations all over the world, and to contribute to the integration of standardisation in public policy.”

Prof. De Vries’ inaugural address will take place on Friday 4 October 2019 and is open to the public. The ceremony will start at 16:00 in the Aula of the Erasmus Building on Woudestein campus, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50 in Rotterdam. The reception will take place at 17:00 in the same building. Registration is possible via

Henk de Vries holds the chair of Standardisation Management, which is endowed by the Erasmus Trustfonds (Erasmus Trust Fund), in the department of Technology and Operations Management at RSM, in the Innovation Management section. His research focuses on standardisation from a business perspective. He is particularly interested in understanding how standardisation can be better managed, to further increase its added value for business and society. Henk de Vries is President of the European Academy for Standardisation (EURAS), and Visiting Professor at Delft University of Technology, faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. The chair’s sponsors are the Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute NEN, and ZIB Investments Crowdfunding.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

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