Rodney McAdam, is Reader in Management, School of Business, Organisation and Management, Faculty of Business and Management, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Belfast, UK. Tel: 028 90 36816; E-mail: email@example.com and Denis Leonard, is a Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, USA
Abstract The aim of this paper is to explore how quality management can act as a foundation and key catalyst for developing corporate social responsibility (CSR) within organizations. CSR is an emergent discourse within organizational research and praxis. It has parallels to sustainable development, environmental protection, social equity and economic growth. Although some organizations consider CSR to be a peripheral and sector speci c issue, it is becoming increasingly mainstream, supported by government legislation. Key questions arising are, is there a con ict between pro t earning and CSR? How can CSR be implemented without impairing business performance? Can CSR build on existing quality management based business initiatives from a philosophical and practical manner? The critique and case study analysis within this paper shows how the ethical basis of quality management can be used to develop CSR within organizations. Quality management models and methodologies established on the broad principles of quality are seen as a foundation and catalyst for effective CSR in organizations. Keywords Quality management, Social responsibility, Organizations
The continual hegemony of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has led to the area being covered by various descriptors as the eld continues to grow and widen: sustainable development, environmental protection, social equity and sustainable economic growth. Some organizations treat CSR as a peripheral issue, while others assume the issue is sector speci c. They conclude that it is only applicable for organizations involved in activities such as oil, gas or logging, where environmental hazards and impacts need to be considered and managed carefully and therefore represent a signi cant proportion of costs. Conversely, CSR may be perceived as being the preserve of philanthropists, building libraries or contributing to socially deprived areas. Ethics in business are not merely philanthropy but an essential foundation upon which businesses are founded and through which business improvement can be achieved and better communities developed (Moir, 2001). Similarly, total quality management (TQM) is founded on ethics, which lead to business improvement theory and practice (Zairi and Peters, 2001). Thus, it can be argued that CSR has always been a major in uence in business and that it is now growing more rapidly. CSR has a strong af nity with the principles of quality management. There is a responsibility for quality practitioners and researchers to ensure that the ethical basis
VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003, pp. 36-45, ã MCB UP Limited, ISSN 1472-0701
of quality is not overlooked and that quality management takes a leadership role in promoting ethical business practices. This approach will avoid deploying an excessive number of initiatives and con icting harmful stand-alone approaches to change. The Enron related problems and the volatility of the markets have highlighted the need for quality practices and CSR. There exists an opportunity to examine the role of quality management in relation to CSR. The aim of this paper is to explore how quality management can act as a foundation and key catalyst for developing CSR within organizations. First, the de nitions of CSR are discussed. Second, the ethics in quality are described followed by a discussion on existing quality models in regard to CSR. Finally an exploratory case study analysis is used to illustrate the...