An analysis of the multiplicity of an international standard: The case of ISO pallet sizes

Doyoung Eom, Heejin Lee, Dukgeun Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pallets are platforms used for materials handling in logistics. Standards setting at the international level, in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), created six pallet sizes (ISO 6780). The multiplicity of pallet sizes in one standard reflects a failure of standards setting. The focus of this study is on the international standardisation of pallet sizes in the ISO. This paper traces the process of standards setting in the ISO and examines the internal dynamics between major actors in the ISO Technical Committee to find out why and how multiple pallet sizes were adopted. In addition, this study analyses why different outcomes were derived in comparison with ISO containers, which is assessed as an international standard that has wellharmonised and modularised dimensions. This study contributes to the understanding of the complexities in standards setting at the international level through the lens of competition and cooperation among major countries participating in the ISO. It also provides implications for contemporary standardisation in the logistics systems and other industries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-299
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Services and Standards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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