Theoretical analyses have dealt with the relationship between standardisation activities in formal standardisation bodies and in standards consortia. However, the empirical evidence is rather weak. Besides various case studies, there is no broad and quantitative approach for examining the relationship between formal and informal standardisation processes. This paper quantifies the standardisation activities in information and communication technology (ICT) of formal and informal standardisation bodies by utilising the database PERINORM containing formal standards and by analysing two CEN/ISSS surveys of standardisation consortia in 2000 and 2004. The two major insights gained are that the technical content of activities of formal and informal standardisation bodies is complementary rather than substitutive, which means most technical issues are addressed by both formal standardisation bodies and standardisation consortia. In addition, there has been a consolidation of consortia activities through a significant reduction in the number of consortia. However, this reduction has not changed the distribution of consortia activities by technical fields and complementary relations with the activities of formal standardisation bodies. Based on these new insights, some challenges emerge both for future theoretical analysis of decisions on standardisation types and for ICT policy regarding the interaction between standardisation and technical regulation and the role of standards in public procurement.

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Telecommunications Policy
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Blind, K., & Gauch, S. (2008). Trends in ICT standards: The relationship between European standardisation bodies and standards consortia. Telecommunications Policy, 32(7), 503–513. doi:10.1016/j.telpol.2008.05.004