What does 'determine' mean ?


M Greenaway

ISO9001:2000 is littered with requirements stating that the organisation shall 'determine' this that and the other.

What do they mean by 'determine' ?

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
I suppose since ISO doesn't define it their own context in their 9000 series, you can safely go with Webster's interpretation. Jim's sounds okay to me, too.

M Greenaway

So any statement saying that 'the organisation shall determine' is pretty unauditable then ?


Super Moderator
"Shall determine" is auditable.

I would ask an auditee "How did you..." or "What was your method..." or "In what way..." Something along those lines, and then I would verify with some objective evidence that "deternination was in fact accomplished.

Piece of cake.;)


Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
I think a statement containing "determine" is auditable. Take 6.4 Work Environment, for example: "The organization shall determine and manage the work environment needed to achieve conformity to product requirements."

I work in a steel mill. Our personnel determine (figure out, assess) what the parameters are for the work environment. It varies from department to department, obviously. Sales' work environment will be vastly different from that of the Melt Shop.

If we deliver rusty steel to a Customer. There is the possibility that our warehouse is leaking. Not an ideal work environment for achieving conformity to product requirements - unless the Customer wants rusty steel.

Should a nonconformance be attributed to the Work Environment, as an auditor, I would like to see what actions were generated to ensure that that aspect of the Work Environment did not result in further nonconformances.

Our process maps also contain a section for Work Environment, along with Inputs and Outputs. You may have a beautiful looking process on paper, but if the lighting is horrible, or the noise unbearable, or the ergonomics unrealistic, as an Auditor, I would be concerned that the Organization had not adequately determined a suitable Work Environment and that the potential for a product nonconformity exists.

Anton Ovsianko

I totally agree with Jim Wade. 'Determine' IMHO means that everybody concerned with the process within the company know how it is carried out.
It can as well be documented. However, mere documentation, which is not known or used systmatically by the personnel, does not say that the company has 'determined' this process.



Chris May

Hope this helps...


I hope this helps (or not)

I like the last line.


  • determine.doc
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M Greenaway

Thanks Chris

I have a reasonable understanding of the english language, but as we know words in the ISO world often mean different things to what the Concise English Dictionary might tell us.

I was wondering what we should expect to see as a result of a company 'determining' something, as required in ISO9001. For example the 'organisation shall determine requirements specified by the customer'.

What does that mean ?

The customer specifies requirements, maybe by phone, fax or e-mail or whatever. What does the organisation do to 'determine' them ?

Chris May



I wasn't doubting your education:bigwave:

I just found it amusing that the word itself is derived from latin and means "to limit".

I thought it was funny anyway........:bonk: :agree:



M Greenaway

No need to apologise - I clearly missed the irony.

Lovely weather anyway.

P.S. having a **** day
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