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20 December 2021
Total Quality Management and Environmental Social Governance: The Influence of the Corona Virus Pandemic
BACKGROUND AND FOCUS OF THE SPECIAL ISSUE
Over the past years, an intensive debate has been occurring among academics and corporate executives resulting in many definitions of a more sustainable way of doing business (Isaksson, 2019). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues have always been included in quality systems and in quality awards such as Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model (Ghobadian et al., 2007; Kok et al. 2001). Therefore, CSR is very much an integral part of quality thinking (Sila, 2020, Ciasullo, 2017; Mehralian et al., 2016; Douglas et al., 2004). Based on the systematic review of Tari (2011), all dimensions of Total Quality Management (TQM) practices can support the development of CSR practices. However, the effectiveness of CSR depends to a large extent on the manner in which companies cover important Environmental Social Governance (ESG) issues. ESG disclosure has a long history within the CSR literature (Wang et al., 2018). Indeed, due to growing pressure on corporations to respond to stakeholders’ concerns about ESG issues, companies voluntarily undertake to provide information about their operations in a manner that better addresses CSR concerns. Thus, addressing ESG issues has become a point of interest for stakeholders (Engle et al., 2019) and, specifically, for firms, addressing these issues has become an emerging part of competitive strategy (Cucari et al., 2018).
Although many studies have been conducted on TQM and ESG separately, there is a scant research that covers both these topics and knowledge about the associations between TQM and ESG aspects remains fragmented. This special issue would like to focus on both TQM and on ESG in order to propose a synergistic effect between quality, environmental, social, and governance issues. We would like to discuss how sustainable companies implement quality management systems and disclosure ESG issues to ensure that the interests of various stakeholders are embedded in day-to-day operations. We maintain that implementation of TQM and ESG has the potential to create a sustainable competitive advantage in today's dynamic business environment.
Hence, TQM and ESG issue are strongly related for three reasons:
- There is a growing awareness in the quality literature that a widening of the focus from ‘customers’ to the concept of ‘stakeholders’ has implied a more sustainability-oriented management
- In the ISO definition of TQM one can see that sustainable success – based on continuous improvement – has been related to a stakeholder approach (Zink, 2005).
- Ethical and operational responsibilities towards various stakeholders have prompted many companies to focus on ESG practices to protect consumers and foster more sustainable behaviours by companies
All of these aspects reflect a promise of change in the traditional conception of capitalism and corporate purpose and the economic crisis engendered by the current pandemic is the perfect litmus test of this promise.
We argue that the sanitary emergency that is Covid-19 offers an opportunity to put the balancing of stakeholder interest at the center and makes the coordination of those interests the objective of the corporations. As said by some commentators, no one could have foreseen today’s devastating health and financial emergency, but if business leaders do not step up now, then the question surely must be: will they ever? (FT, 29 March 2020).
In August 2019, just prior to the coronavirus impacting economies, 181 multinational CEOs of the Business Roundtable revised their Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation to explicitly move beyond shareholder primacy — a stance they’ve held since 1997 — to express a fundamental commitment to all stakeholders (customer, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders).
Following that statement, in December 2019, the World Economic Forum, an international organization that fosters public-private cooperation on global, regional and industry agendas, took the step of publishing a manifesto (Davos Manifesto 2020) that urged companies to move from the traditional model of “shareholder capitalism” to the model of “stakeholder capitalism”. This type of capitalism is reflected in a “Stakeholder Principles in the COVID Era”.
In this Special Issue call for papers, we suggest that stakeholder capitalism provides a novel lens for analyzing the behaviour of enterprises. So far, the quality management literature has mainly focused on the effects of TQM on some stakeholders such as employees (employee results), customers (customer results), and shareholders (financial and market results) but less so on the environment, social and governance. Recently, for example, Abbas (2020) examined the relationship between TQM and corporate green performance and investigated the role of corporate social responsibility in the relationship between TQM and corporate green performance.
Accordingly, we plan to investigate sustainable enterprise excellence, where ethical, effective and efficient enterprise governance drives equitable, ecological sound and economically viable strategy producing positive people, planet and profit enterprise performance (Edgeman and Eskildsen, 2014). The concept of sustainable enterprise excellence generally surpasses that of becoming a sustainable organization (Shrivastava and Hart, 1995) and has the goal of guiding the enterprise in an asymptotic quest of becoming a continuously relevant and responsible organization.
We believe there is potential for a much richer dialogue on these and other topics relevant to scholars and practitioners (Douglas and Judge 2001). To-date, there is little academic research that can inform — either conceptually or empirically — how firms can best integrate the issues of TQM and ESG.
Multiple areas where research can advance the literature include answering the following questions:
- What happen to “stakeholder capitalism” and how can it help with what we are living today?
- What is the role of Total Quality Management during these challenging times?
- Because ESG criteria are considered to be crucial for success, how can they be integrated with Total Quality Management practices?
- How can problems regarding the workplace, technology and health and safety represent a new iteration of the TQM and ESG issues?
- How can manufacturing and servicing companies, faced with growing pressure from different stakeholders, consider the impact of their operations on the ESG criteria?
Academics and business leaders should help to answer these questions because the speed and scale of the emergency has taken everyone by surprise.
Looking to Publish your Research?
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In preparing of manuscripts, authors are expected to follow the TQM&BE author guidelines, that can be found here. All submissions to be made via the TQM&BE Journal ScholarOne manuscript submission portal: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ctqm
All papers should be submitted in English.
All submissions will be screened by the guest editors, and if they fit to the topics and have sufficient quality, they will be sent out to a team of reviewers to undergo the usual double-blind peer review process.
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