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Abstract

The need for adequate systems to guarantee the quality of food products has become more and more obvious in recent years. As a consequence, not only in Germany but throughout the world, the number of certification schemes has been increasing for nearly a decade. Due to the implementation of these standards in various countries, a considerable number of contingency factors exist that may influence the effectiveness and efficiency of such schemes. These factors include the diverse political, economic and social conditions in the different countries. Numerous studies attribute a decisive role in the successful implementation of management instruments to cultural influences. Cultural conditions may differ considerably from region to region around the world. Against the background of this multiplicity of cultures, this study analyzes the impact of cultural context on the way certification schemes are implemented and work in different parts of the world. Based on theories concerning the influence of culture on the implementation of certification schemes, an empirical study was devised and conducted in 2008. Ninety-six respondents answered the extensive questionnaire, which helped identify how cultural differences are perceived by auditors and how these differences influence the implementation, effectiveness and efficiency of certification schemes. Based on the results, the authors formulate recommendations for standard setters and auditors, as well as the companies that implement these standards.

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