ISO 9001:2015, 5.3

This article summarizes the ISO/DIS 9001:2015 requirements in Clause 5.3 and highlights the changes from ISO 9001:2008.

5.3 Organizational Roles, Responsibilities, and Authorities

Top management must ensure that the responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles are assigned, communicated, and understood within the organization.

Assign the responsibility and authority to:

  • ensure that the system conforms to the requirements of ISO 9001;
  • ensure that the processes are delivering their intended outputs;
  • report on the performance of the system, on opportunities for improvement, and on the need for change or innovation, and especially for reporting to top management;
  • ensure the promotion of customer focus throughout the organization;
  • ensure that integrity of system is maintained when changes to system are planned and implemented.


  • This clause replaces old clause 5.5.1 on responsibility and authority
  • Adds that responsibilities must be assigned and understood
  • Identifies some specific responsibilities to be assigned
  • Introduces use of term “innovation” to the standard
  • Lack of management representative for assignments
  • Old duties can be spread among top management

Innovation is defined in 3.42 as the process resulting in a new or substantially changed object, which can be a management system, a process, a product, a service, or technology.