The quality and ethics connection: toward virtuous organizations

P. K. Ahmed, S. Machold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Quality as a philosophy of management practice has become widely embedded in organizational mindsets. This paper looks at the fundamental theories of ethics and morality, and shows how these and a fuller consideration of these can lead to better practice of social responsibility through a higher platform of quality, which we call quality consciousness. The paper shows that business actions, and indeed the pedagogy of management theory, are not in themselves amoral. Rather, they are driven by a systematic reflection of the context. The paper develops the implication of this for the extension and strengthening of the concept of quality by delineating the definitional boundary of quality, and then scrutinizing the philosophy of quality and the philosophy of virtue and morality to examine conceptual inter-linkage and symbiosis. The paper promulgates a view of quality that explicitly incorporates virtue as part of the quality paradigm. The paper then charts how the rigorous incorporation of ethics and organizational morality can be made in quality management, and how this will lead to the next stage of evolution in quality theory and the role this new heightened sense will play in better managerial practice of corporate social responsibility. By critique, the paper develops a tentative framework to move toward the virtuous organization. This, the paper suggests, is the next stage of quality evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-545
Number of pages19
JournalTotal Quality Management & Business Excellence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Corporate accountability and responsibility
  • Ethics
  • Quality

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