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A management system is a set of policies, processes and procedures used by an organization to ensure that it can fulfill the tasks required to achieve its objectives. These objectives cover many aspects of the organization's operations (including financial success, safe operation, product quality, client relationships, legislative and regulatory conformance and worker management). For instance, an environmental management system enables organizations to improve their environmental performance and an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) enables an organization to control its occupational health and safety risks, etc.
Many parts of the management system are common to a range of objectives, but others may be more specific.
The international standard ISO 9000:2015 (Title: Quality management systems - fundamentals and vocabulary) defines the term in chapter 3.5.3 as a "set of interrelated or interacting elements of an organization to establish policies and objectives, and processes to achieve those objectives". 
A simplification of the main aspects of a management system is the 4-element "Plan, Do, Check, Act" approach. A complete management system covers every aspect of management and focuses on supporting the performance management to achieve the objectives. The management system should be subject to continuous improvement as the organization learns.
Elements may include:
- Leadership Involvement & Responsibility
- Identification & Compliance with Legislation & Industry Standards
- Employee Selection, Placement & Competency Assurance
- Workforce Involvement
- Communication with Stakeholders (others peripherally impacted by operations)
- Identification & Assessment of potential failures & other hazards
- Documentation, Records & Knowledge Management
- Documented Procedures
- Project Monitoring, Status and Handover
- Management of Interfaces
- Standards & Practices
- Management of Change & Project Management
- Operational Readiness & Start-up
- Emergency Preparedness
- Inspection & Maintenance of facilities
- Management of Critical systems
- Work Control, Permit to Work & Task Risk Management
- Contractor/Vendor Selection & Management
- Incident Reporting & Investigation
- Audit, Assurance and Management System review & Intervention
Examples of management system standards include:
- ISO 9000: standards for quality management systems (QMS)
- ISO 14000 standards for environmental management systems
- ILO-OSH: occupational safety & health management systems
- ISO/IEC 20000: standards for service management systems (SMS)
- FitSM: standards for lightweight IT service management
- ISO/IEC 27000: information security management systems (ISMS)
- ISO 45001: standard for occupational health and safety management systems
- ISO 50001: standard for energy management systems
- ISO 55000: standards for asset management systems
- SA8000: social accountability.
- IAEA management system safety standards
- Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3)
- "FitSM Part 0: Overview and vocabulary". Itemo. 2015-04-01. Archived from the original on 2015-08-31. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
- "ISO 9000:2015 Quality management systems — Fundamentals and vocabulary". iso.org. International Organization for Standardization. 2020-10-12. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
- International Organization for Standardization (2001) Guidelines for the justification and development of management system standards. International Standard ISO Guide 72, Geneva, Switzerland.
- International Organization for Standardization (2004) Environmental Management Systems-Specifications with Guidance for Use. International Standard ISO 14001, Geneva, Switzerland.
- Commission for Environmental Cooperation (2000): “Improving Environmental Performance and Compliance: 10 Elements of Effective Environmental Management Systems.” Report.
- British Standards Institution (1999): Occupational health & safety management systems - Specification; BS OHSAS 18001:1999. 389 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 4AL, United Kingdom.
- International Organization for Standardization (2000) Quality Systems - Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing. International Standard ISO 9001:2000(E), Geneva, Switzerland.
- United States Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (1989); "Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines." Federal Register, January 26, 1989.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (2001): “Integrated Environmental Management Systems: Implementation Guide.” Report written by Abt Associates for the USEPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Design for the Environment Program; Economics, Exposure, and Technology Division. Washington, DC.