According to Griffith (1999), an integrated management system (IMS) is ‘the organizational structure, resources and procedures used to plan, monitor and control project quality, safety and environment’. The need for an integrated management system has been felt basically because of considering the adoption of an Environment Management System (EMS) and/or an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OH&SMS) besides a Quality Management System (QMS), as per the business and industry requirements (Stamou, 2003), as Figure 1 depicts the centre of an Integrated Management System and examples of standards through which the integration can be attained. An IMS is shown situated at the centre of the three systems, adopting common features of all the three management systems.
As all standards have been securely implemented in the marketplace of different industry sectors, the certification organisations are in favour of an integrated approach wherein a company has a single management system in place in stead of many systems functioning individually showing allegiance to many standards at a time. Having independent management systems under the command of different independent management teams, according to certification agencies, is a risky proposition as each management system would take the organisation in a different direction making the focus on company objectives blurred. Only integration can solve the problem by bringing cohesiveness in the implementation of different standards (Dr. Brewer et al. 2005).
An integrated management system fulfills the needs of any organisation, of any size and sector, assimilating the elements of two or more management systems into single unitary system by maintaining and following documentation, policies, procedures and processes holistically. Those organizations already into a single established management system are more prone to and