Standards are essential for the success of products and services in the market, and for the well-functioning of processes and organisations. Trends such as globalisation, integration of ICT and electrotechnology in almost every sector, and the increased attention for sustainability, have made standards even more important. Unfortunately, little research is available to provide a better understanding of this phenomenon. In my inaugural lecture I first give an overview of the research I have conducted on the processes of standardisation. I discuss standards development, dissemination, market acceptance, implementation and use, and impact of standards and standardisation on business and society. In future research, my research agenda will focus on three levels of standardisation management: (1) within companies, (2) in complex projects involving many stakeholders, and (3) at local, national, regional and global level. I illustrate the societal relevance of my research with some examples about animals.