5 Essential Questions to Evaluate Top Management’s Role in Quality Management Systems


In the realm of Quality Management Systems (QMS), there are two types of audits commonly conducted: 1st party audits (or internal audits) and 3rd party audits, usually carried out by a certification body. However, there’s a glaring omission in both cases: the absence of top management from the auditing process.

The reasons can range from a reluctance among audit teams to engage with higher-ups, to fears of retribution for asking hard-hitting questions. But when top management provides the green light for inclusion, what critical questions should you ask to gauge their commitment?

Below are five essential questions that offer valuable insights into top management’s commitment to a successful and effective QMS.

1. What Is the Vision for the Company?

Understanding the company’s vision is fundamental to aligning all organizational activities. Is the vision documented? If yes, how is this vision communicated to every tier of the company, including front-line employees? A transparent, well-communicated vision speaks volumes about management’s dedication to the company’s future.

2. What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Are in Place?

KPIs offer measurable evidence of a company’s progress towards its objectives. It’s vital to inquire how these KPIs are cascaded down the organizational hierarchy. Every employee, regardless of rank, should be aware of their role in achieving these KPIs. This speaks to the management’s ability to integrate organizational objectives at all levels.


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3. How Are Resources Allocated for Quality Management?

A well-funded QMS is often a reliable indicator of top management’s commitment. Query about the budget and other resources allocated for maintaining and improving the Quality Management System. Insufficient resources may signal that the Quality Policy isn’t a top priority for management.

4. What Is Management’s Role in the QMS?

Management should be more than mere spectators in the Quality Management System; they should be active participants. Their role in the QMS, and how they demonstrate commitment to their team, reflects the organization’s overall adherence to quality protocols.

5. What Are the Frequency and Outcomes of Management Reviews?

Management reviews should be more than a box-ticking exercise. Ask about the frequency of these reviews, who attends them, and what key decisions were made during the last meeting. Investigate how the minutes of these reviews are documented and shared. These details reveal whether the meetings serve a genuine operational purpose or are merely conducted to meet compliance standards.


Ignoring top management’s role in audits is a glaring oversight that needs rectification. These five questions to evaluate top management are not merely for auditing purposes; they also serve as a framework for understanding the depth of management’s commitment to quality and overall organizational excellence. Once you start asking the right questions, you’ll find that the answers can lead to improvements that resonate throughout the entire organization.

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