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Ethical product innovation: in praise of slowness

Elena Giaretta (University of Verona, Verona, Italy)

The TQM Magazine

ISSN: 0954-478X

Article publication date: 1 April 2005




The aim of the paper is to consider whether constant product innovation is compatible with the ethical management of a business. The question arises out of observations of two pressures exerted by global competition, i.e. the speed of change, which pushes in the direction of continuous innovation, and the determining power of demand, which wishes to see business conduct itself ethically.


With a theoretical approach, the paper highlights how these two pressures are both exerted on business, the advantages for business as well as for the consumers, deriving from the tendency of companies to innovate at all times and in ever shorter times, and the sins that an enterprise may commit when involved in a “competition vortex” created by the pressure of the speed of change.


What can a business imprisoned in this vortex do to escape when the fear of being “left behind” blinds it to seeing any other courses open to it? The paper proposes a possibly controversial, and at least challenging, model that can be seen as swimming against the tide, by adopting “slowness” and harmony, and a cluster of related concepts, as its basic tenets.


For this very reason the model proposed is already potentially valid, in a context where complexity and uncertainty give value to the original and the new. The paper is seen to be useful for managers and scholars of management, with particular focus on business ethics and product innovation.



Giaretta, E. (2005), "Ethical product innovation: in praise of slowness", The TQM Magazine, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 161-181.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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