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 Introduction
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 PAGE 36 | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003, pp. 36-45, a MCB UP Limited, ISSN 1472-0701 DOI 10. 1108/14720700310497104 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 combined CSR/TQM approach. CSR
The dif culties re ected in the literature in de ning CSR are primarily caused by the relative emergence of the phenomena in organizations and its integrative effect on other disciplines. Moir (2001) contends that the de nitional complexities are further compounded by a current dichotomy in the literature, namely, CSR as socially responsive behavior based on ‘‘normative or ethical considerations’’ or CSR as managing corporate image and other business achievements (instrumental activities). The international organization, Business in the Community, state that their purpose is to measure and report their impact on society.
The World Council for Sustainable Development seeks to both develop understanding of CSR and to develop a range of organizational indicators. Thus, leading CSR organizations cover both sides of CSR, namely ethically driven behavior and organizational bene t. Wood (1991) and Ullmann (1985) show that there is a long history of CSR entwining these two purposes. This has resulted in a wide range of issues being incorporated into CSR agendas such as, workplace (employees), marketplace (customers, suppliers), environment, community, ethics, human rights and corporate sustainability.
Thus CSR creates a pressure for rms to go beyond the neo-classical and modernist perspectives of wages, taxes, hygiene factors and employment. There is a need to satisfy ethical considerations, especially in regard to moral and environmental considerations. Zairi and Peters (2002) view that the moral obligation should include involvement in non-organizational issues because they have skills and resources and are therefore obligated at the extreme end of this perspective. One example is large organizations mentoring smaller unrelated organizations (EFQM, 2002).
In critiquing these approaches Frederick (1994) sees a historic shift from organizational obligation to that of more dynamic responsiveness in regard to ‘‘humanizing’’ and ‘‘economizing’’. In either case he concludes that CSR must have an ‘‘ethical anchor’’ if it is to develop systematically. One way of addressing the need for an ‘‘ethical anchor’’ is to consider the need for stakeholder satisfaction (Nakano, 1999), where stakeholders can be internal organizational groups such as employees, managers and shareholders and external groups such as society and pressure groups.
In this approach an overall balanced position is reached in relation to the stakeholders voice (Carroll, 1996). However, it is likely that an organization’s stakeholder analysis will be more instrumental than normative driven (Moir, 2001). Wood (1991) develops the ideas of corporate legitimacy as ‘‘society grants legitimacy and power to business’’. Thus any ethical anchor for CSR must be grounded in societal legitimacy. Wood (1991) contends that any embracive de nition of CSR must include the principles of social responsibility, the processes of social responsiveness and the outcomes of corporate behavior.
The ethical foundations of quality The founders of modern quality management and business excellence, Crosby, Demings and Juran among others, considered ethics, principles and respect for people as key principles. For example, Crosby (1986) stated that: ‘‘the company will prosper only when all employees feel VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003 | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | PAGE 37 the same way and when neither customers nor employees will be hassled’’. Deming’s (1986) 14 points highlighted the ‘‘driving out of fear’’. He advocated an organizational climate where dealings between managers, employees and customers were conducted on an ethical basis.
Juran (1993) spoke of a system of values, beliefs and behaviors, individual and team, created within the organization which are necessary for organizational success. He espoused the view that TQM should be recognized for its focus on people through the quality of working life and employee satisfaction. This principled basis of quality is one of the key factors that identi es it as a key area of in uence in CSR. These principles based or ‘‘ethical anchor’’ concepts (Wood, 1991) do not detract from pro t seeking motives, rather they emphasis sustainable performance through valuing people and the environment.
Thus, the right thing for business and the right thing ethically are not incommensurate (DallaCosta, 1998). Rather, quality provides: ‘‘competitive products and services of excellent and durable quality, delivered in the shortest possible time to market, at minimum cost, and in a manner that emphasizes human dignity, work satisfaction and mutual and long-term loyalty between the organization and all its stakeholders, in particular its employees’’ (Bohdan et al. , 1999).
This position is adopted by the American Quality Society (ASQ) code of ethics, which states that quality is ‘‘knowledge and skill for the advancement of human welfare and in promoting the safety and reliability of products for public use’’. Thus, TQM has a foundational similarity to CSR in that it has an ‘‘ethical anchor’’ considered essential for CSR development (Moir, 2001; Woods, 1991). Companies are becoming more aware of how customers view their impact in regard to CSR. Thus, using existing TQM conduits of organizational change to develop CSR in organizations will not compromise the underlying principles of CSR or TQM (Kok et al. 2001). Environmental quality standards, such as ISO 14000, have helped to develop CSR within organizations as a development of the more process orientated ISO 9000. Moreover, ISO’s committee on consumer policy (COPOLCO) has begun an assessment of standards for corporate social responsibility. This committee was initiated to promote discussion of CSR initiatives. The COPOLCO chairman stated that they became involved because ‘‘an increasing number of consumers are expressing their concern regarding the social integrity of corporations in their operations in the global marketplace’’.
The requirements of the environmental quality standard state that managers must understand the risk to the company that arises from social concern about the environment (Dale, 2000) and that environmental risk management plans must be developed. Organizations which adopt ISO 14000 are thus re ecting both ethical and business perspectives of CSR. This dualism id re ected by Burnett (1999): ‘‘ethical and socially responsible investment is now both mainstream and big business. But the big players are not going green just to satisfy the minority, they see that the future lies with companies that re ect changing public priorities . . managers have realized that there is money to be made in heading for the moral high ground. ’’ In summary, TQM, both historically and currently, is consistent with both the legitimate ethical and instrumental sides of CSR. This congruity suggests that CSR could possibly be incorporated into organizations more effectively and in shorter timescales by using existing TQM organizational change conduits and processes (Vinten, 1998). Models and methodology for CSR and TQM Established models and methodologies of quality incorporate core elements of CSR.
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which incorporates CSR under its leadership criteria 1. 2 public responsibility and citizenship. This criteria asks the following with regard to responsibilities to the public: 1. How do you address the impacts on society of your products, services and operations? 2. How do you anticipate public concerns with current and future products, services and operations and how do you prepare for these concerns in a proactive manner? PAGE 38 | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003 3.
How do you accomplish ethical business practices in all stakeholder transactions and interactions? In regard to supporting key communities the Baldrige model and self-assessment process inquires: f How does your organization, your leaders and your employees actively support and strengthen your key communities? How do you identify key communities and determine areas of emphasis for organizational involvement and support? f These model based questions and their context of leadership and aligning directly with strategic planning underlines the inherent importance of CSR and its place in the everyday practice of quality.
The questions also re ect the strategic in uence of CSR. To consider CSR is to consider communities, employees, customers, products and services, market strengths and opportunities for improvements. The importance of CSR is also incorporated in the Business Excellence Model (BEM-EFQM, 2002), which devotes an entire criteria entitled ‘‘Impact on society’’ to CSR, similar to that of Baldrige’s ‘‘Public responsibility and citizenship’’. In both Baldrige and the BEM leadership is considered essential in developing and promoting such concepts into organizational culture.
This is re ected under the leadership criteria, ‘‘the behavior and actions of the executive team and all other leaders inspire, support and promote a culture of total quality management’’ (EFQM, 2002). Since leaders create the vision and determine the mission it is therefore critical that the vision supports not just what is good for the company beyond nancial gain, but also to its employees, local communities and society as a whole (Punter and Gangneux, 1998). Overall, it can be concluded that existing national and international quality models are consistent with the principles of CSR and its objectives.
However, there is a need for more coordinated use of these models in regard to CSR implementation strategies. Wood’s (1991) model of CSR (as modi ed in Figure 1a) covers principles of social responsibility leading to processes of social responsiveness and ultimately outcomes of corporate behavior. It suggests a possible way of incorporating CSR within an expanded business excellence or Baldrige model. Figure 1b shows a development of the CSR model, still consistent with the ‘‘legitimacy’’ and ‘‘stakeholder management’’ constructs as discussed earlier.
In addition, Figure 1 re ects the ‘‘people – process – results’’ ethos inherent in the BEM and Baldrige models. For example, ‘‘principles of social responsibility’’ now incorporates legitimate ‘‘leadership’’ and ‘‘people’’ criteria which are CSR orientated, from these TQM models. These include leadership in the community in regard to responsible management and in relation to people management that re ects ethical considerations. Similarly in relation to processes, CSR driven agendas in operational processes are added by considering the voices of multiple stakeholders, as
Figure 1 CSR in a TQM context (adapted from Moir, 2001 and Wood, 1991) Part a Principles and legitimacy of CSR TQM Leadership and People enablers with CSR sub-criterion elements e. g. leadership in the community CSR Processes and Stakeholder Mgmt. TQM Business Process and Stakeholder Mgmt enablers with CSR sub-criterion elements e. g. environmental processes Outcomes and behaviours of CSR TQM Results based on a range of Stakeholder voices e. g. Employee learning based results Part b VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003 | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | PAGE 39 onsistent with a TQM based process approach (Kok et al. , 2001). Finally, Figure 1 shows that ‘‘outcomes’’ can be rationalized within the ‘‘results’’ sections of the BEM and Baldrige models. In general, the principles and processes sections in Figure 1 re ect the ethical side of CSR while the outcomes relate more to the instrumental or corporate image side of CSR (Moir, 2001). While this model is useful it suffers from a lack of evaluation and measurement focus. Greening et al. (2000) also stress that CSR must be effectively measured if progress is to be made.
Kok et al. (2001) initially assume that the TQM models are acceptable frameworks for incorporating CSR in organizations with the need for clearer de nitions (Nakano, 1999). Their work focused on developing an acceptable audit system for CSR within the TQM frameworks. Based on the concept of the ethical anchor and legitimacy, Kok et al. (2001) have established an audit approach based on a standards approach to CSR (Stahl and Grigsby, 1997). This audit scale is shown in modi ed form for CSR in a TQM context in Figure 2.
These levels of attainment range from ad-hoc CSR policy to minimal legal compliance/ transaction ethics, enlightened self-interest/recognition ethics and proactive change/change ethics. This approach is goal orientated and therefore more consistent with the instrumental perspective of CSR. However, the ethical basis of the audit scale provides some degree of balance within Moir’s (2001) de nition of CSR. It is suggested that an initial suitable methodology for evaluating CSR, both from legitimate ethical and instrumental aspects, could include the following steps (as shown in Figure 3): 1.
The organization conducts a Baldrige or BEM assessment where additional CSR criteria have been added to each of the main criteria. The usual scoring process is used and overall TQM/CSR is evaluated. 2. The CSR related responses are then grouped within the key categories of Figure 1 and the audit process of Figure 2 is applied to each of the categories using a Likert or similar scale. Thus a CSR assessment and score is obtained. Therefore, organizations can either fully incorporate CSR within their TQM models or use the TQM model process to evaluate CSR. In either case the full scope of the de nition of CSR is maintained.
Figure 2 CSR audit criteria in a TQM context Ad-hoc approach Minimal legal compliance- transaction ethics Audit scale for CSR within TQM models Self interest and empowerment- recognition ethics Self interest and empowerment- recognition ethics Outcomes and proactive change- change ethics PAGE 40 | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003 Figure 3 An embedded CSR methodology using TQM models BEM or Baldrige selfassessment with additional CSR sub-criteria in each of the model criteria CSR ethical and outcome aspects of the selfassessment mapped on to the categories of figure 1 part a BEM or Baldrige selfassessment scoring procedures applied
CSR scoring audit scale applied to CSR categories Overall CSR assessment obtained Research methodology To further explore and deepen understanding in relation to quality management as a foundation and key catalyst for developing CSR within organizations, an exploratory case research study was undertaken. The organization was a large regional electrical utility, which has a three-year learning partnership with the university. Yin (1994) has indicated that research question’s, similar to the aim of the current study, are suited to the broad based qualitative inquiry of a single case study. Eisenhardt (1989) and Remenyi et al. 1999) indicate that the limitations of such a study is a lack of generalizability and localized in uences. However, as shown by Yin (1994) these limitations are offset by increased understanding of the overall phenomena, while taking due cognizance of the limitations. The data gathering included ethnography (a ten person joint university/organization study team and two full time PhD students), focus groups (consisting of 20 managers and employees from all levels), semi-structured interviews (managers and employees and key account customers and suppliers and the government regulator) and organizational information and archives.
Case analysis The case analysis was used to deepen the conceptual models and to act as a vehicle for illustrating an application of the models developed. This approach is similar to what Yin (1994) referred to as ‘‘analytical generalization’’ where case based data is compared with theory building constructs. The organization employed circa 2,000 people and had recently been privatized. It was chosen as it was a best practice TQM organization (as identi ed by the EFQM, 2002) and had applied TQM to all areas, was involved in a highly dynamic change environment and were committed to a learning based approach rather than mechanistic quick xes.
The organizations basic strategy was to reduce costs in the regulated part of the organization and to grow unregulated income in the organization. Throughout this change the organization had a commitment to CSR, not least through customer outcomes as speci ed in annual targets by the regulator. VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003 | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | PAGE 41 Initially the change team applied the BEM throughout the organization. The BEM self-assessment process was modi ed at sub criterion level to suit the uniqueness of the organization and its environment.
This approach is similar to that suggested by Burnett (1999). If changes are made at full criterion level the model becomes less effective as a benchmarking model. The changes made to each of the sub criteria re ected the principles and practice of CSR for all parts of the model. Thus, the tailored BEM could be used in the dual role as suggested in Figure 3, namely overall TQM self–assessment and CSR self-assessment. This discussion primarily covers the CSR self-assessment as referred to in Figure 3.
The ndings from the BEM self-assessment were analyzed based on Figure 1, where CSR is identi ed within a TQM context (adapted from Moir, 2001 and Wood, 1991). All of the selfassessment ndings were examined and recategorized, as appropriate, into the three key classi cations shown in Figure 1. Examples of the ndings for the case organization are shown in Figure 4. Each of these headings was subsequently used to structure the discussion on the case analysis, as follows.
Principles and legitimacy of CSR After privatization the management team choose to ‘‘ground’’ their TQM based improvement efforts on values that were ‘‘legitimized’’ within society (Wood, 1991; Moir, 2001). For example, the value of employee emancipation, consistent with societal based emancipation was developed by share option and improved company pension schemes. When downsizing was required due to market pressures the management team offered systematic retraining, secondments and enhanced voluntary severance packages to minimize the effect on employees.
Thus, CSR was ‘‘ethically anchored’’ in the legitimacy of societal requirements; equally business goals were not compromised. On an annual basis the organization reviewed its values in line with society norms and subsequently reviewed policy and strategy for consistency with the espoused values. Consistency of practice has proved to be a problem with organizations which ‘‘take the moral high ground’’ in regard to values (Reeves-Ellington, 1998) Thus, the case organization has retreated from its initial position of widely publicizing the values statement within the organization.
To develop the value centered approach to CSR the organization recruitment process re ected comprehensive testing and interviewing in regard to the values as part of an ethical approach to CSR. Figure 4 Examples of CSR in a TQM context (adapted from Moir, 2001 and Wood, 1991) Principles and legitimacy of CSR CSR Processes and Stakeholder Mgmt. Defined key business processes with CSR elements (e. g. customer care process). Processes linked to Stakeholders with defined Stakeholder requirements. Examples of defined Stakeholders are customers, society, community, Regulator and employees
Outcomes and behaviours of CSR Excellent category on the BEM model. Top proactive change CSR rating. Range of results satisfying targets of key stakeholders. Awards include Business in the Community award and charitable awards. Achievement of Environmental Standard (IS0 14001) Case examples: Values driven leadership. Values within appraisal and recruitment. Employees given time for charitable activities. Contributions to a range of charities and socially deprived areas. Help with learning difficulties and exclusion in schools Case examples: Case examples: PAGE 42 | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003 In support of the principles and legitimacy of CSR the case organization supported a wide range of activity with incentives and time allocations for employees to become involved. For example, teams of employees have been deployed to charitable relief teams in socially deprived countries where natural disasters have occurred. There is a special award scheme for disabled people in the community and in the organization to encourage integration in society. Moreover, the organization uses its meter reading access to check on those requiring critical care in the community.
Staff are specially trained in this role. In terms of legitimate ethical sustainability as part of CSR the organization supports a number of primary schools in teaching disadvantaged children and supplying computer equipment. The organization worked with a range of society based organizations to promote and support legitimate ethical concerns including The Princes Trust, the New Deal jobs program for young people and the Pathways to Excellence program (mentoring of small organizations in regard to TQM methodologies).
Finally, the organization (corporately), the managers and the employees were noted for sponsoring a range of events and activities, especially underfunded areas of the arts. In summary, the legitimate ethical approach to CSR, as suggested within Figure 1, and derived from the CSR modi ed BEM self assessment, have shown that the case organization includes an ethical approach to CSR as opposed to solely that of a business case or output based approach. Therefore, as suggested by Greening et al. (2000), the organization’s commitment to CSR is more likely to be sustained.
Processes and stakeholder management Figure 4 shows some examples of the case organization’s approach to CSR processes and stakeholder management. Rather than identify speci c CSR processes the organization chose to identify key business processes and the key CSR elements within those processes (Punter and Gangneux, 1998). This approach ensured that there was a strong business focus on CSR to compliment the ethical approach to CSR. This balanced approach is consistent with Moir’s (2001) de nition of CSR.
Examples of CSR elements include the sourcing of sustainable environmentally derived products from key suppliers as part of the organization’s supply processes. Also there is a process to supply communities with stand-by generators in times of outages as part of the repair and maintenance process. The organization’s overall approach to processes is rated as excellent within the BEM framework. One of the main parts of business processes is at the start of the process where the voice of the main stakeholder or recipient of the process outcomes is re ected (Wood, 1991).
To support this approach and in line with the stakeholder management view of CSR processes (Figure 1), the case organization has an identi ed list of key stakeholders. These stakeholders are systematically linked to processes and outcomes. For example, a key designated stakeholder is the regulator. Throughout the customer satisfaction and complaint processes the regulators voice (concerns) is imputed in the form of procedures and actions to ensure that the process outcomes meets the regulator’s targets. Similarly, there are regular focus groups with customers (domestic and business) to ensure that customer processes meet CSR driven targets.
In summary, the case organization’s process and stakeholder management approach to CSR ensures that the approach to CSR is balanced between legitimate ethical and business considerations. As suggested by Moir (2001), this dual approach is more likely to sustain CSR activity and avoid polarized and unbalanced CSR efforts. Outcomes and behaviors Overall, the case organization is in the excellent category (Dale and Lascelles, 1997) when using the BEM, which represents a score in excess of circa 700 points. Similarly when rated using the CSR approach (Figure 2) the organization is in the proactive change category.
These aggregate overall outcomes re ect a series of contributory outcomes. For example, the organization has won the Business in the Community Special Award for Social Responsibility, while at the same time winning the National and European Business Excellence Awards. Thus, the organization’s balanced approach to CSR is re ected in a balanced set of outcomes or awards. VOL. 3 NO. 4 2003 | CORPORATE GOVERNANCE | PAGE 43 The organization has also won the UK Utility Week Award for community involvement with primary schools.
It has received numerous other accolades and awards from charitable organizations for support in terms of money, skills and equipment. These outcomes do not have an underpinning rationale in business alone. They re ect a balanced view of an organization having both a legitimate ethical and business approach to the sustainability of CSR. Conclusions The emerging role of CSR has been found to be multifaceted, covering areas such as employee welfare, environmental issues and corporate sustainability. Within this broad remit two key perspectives have emerged.
First, CSR can be de ned in terms of legitimate ethics or acceptable ethical behavior in current society at large. From this standpoint CSR is found to have a strong ‘‘ethical anchor’’. Second, CSR can also be viewed from an instrumentalist perspective where corporate image and goals are of prime concern. This duelist de nition of CSR was found to have considerable congruence with TQM, which is already established within the theory and praxis of business and management. TQM is shown to also have a strong ethical focus while at the same time contributing to organizational goals and measures.
Thus, CSR can be advanced more rapidly in organizations if it can be incorporated in already established TQM models, methodologies and change programs. An existing CSR model (Moir, 2001) based on both aspects of CSR was developed along TQM model lines (business excellence and Baldrige models). It was found that CSR closely aligned with the leadership, people, processes and results sections of these models (Figure 1). Furthermore, it was found that Kok et al. ’s (2001) audit for CSR in a TQM context could be adapted to self-assess CSR within both the BEM and the Baldrige model.
Thus, it was possible to develop a CSR methodology based on TQM models, which can assess both the ethical foundation and organizational improvement aspects of CSR. The methodology as shown in Figure 3 is comprised of: 1. A Baldrige or BEM assessment where additional CSR criteria have been added to each of the main criteria. The usual scoring process is used and overall TQM/CSR is evaluated. 2. Grouping of the CSR related responses within the key categories of Figure 1. The audit process of Figure 2 is then applied to each of the categories using a Likert or similar type scale.
Thus, an overall organizational CSR assessment and score can be obtained. The analysis of the exploratory case study organization showed that the CSR model and combined CSR and TQM methodology enabled the approach to CSR and TQM to be evaluated in terms of a legitimate ethical standpoint, CSR based process and stakeholder management and outcomes. The ndings showed that it is possible to balance both sides of CSR, namely the ethical anchor and business side, without compromising the organization’s position relative to its key stakeholders.
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