Purpose - The objective of this research is to introduce and describe a conceptual framework of business ethics in TQM.
Design/methodology/approach - In order to highlight the concepts proffered, a case study in the Swedish retail industry was conducted. The data that underpin the case illustration have been collected as part of a larger research project in the Swedish retail industry. Draws on and reports the findings from one case of the larger research project that has been used in this instance to inform the role of business ethics in TQM. The case illustration is based on a qualitative approach. The data were collected through interviews with leading executives in the corporation,
Findings - Both time and context become crucial parameters to manage the quality and spectrum zones of core values in the marketplace. In fact, the necessary quality management of business operations has to be performed without delay, minimising the damage. Therefore, the importance of business ethics becomes evident in TQM. In the long run, TQM will not succeed in business operations unless business ethics is considered in the core values to support the techniques and tools applied.
Research limitations/implications - The model has only been tested by relating it to one case in the Swedish retail industry.
Practical implications - TQM is dependent on the contextual and evolutionary issues in the marketplace. Therefore, TQM should be interpreted as a continuous process. The importance of continuously monitoring the spectrum zones and qualities of core values in TQM should not be under-estimated. Therefore, business ethics should always be present in TQM. Further research would benefit from other case studies of how business ethics benefits TQM. Therefore, the dynamics of business ethics in TQM should be further explored.
Originality/value - Business ethics needs to be an essential consideration of any TQM process. Examines how an organization can incorporate this task.
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