There is no doubting the global influence of the quality movement. It is therefore persuasive to note the role that ethical considerations play in various quality award schemes, and this furthers the argument towards an integrated approach. Having said this, there is scant evidence in the awards that ethical aspects have achieved high materiality. Business ethics has the potential to become a significant aspect of corporate strategy and culture. We now have the 5Es of audit : economy, efficiency, effectiveness, environment and ethics. The ethical audit has tended to be an activity carried out by pressure groups external to organizations. With an increasing emphasis on the wider corporate and social responsibilities of organizations, this external only approach is less than adequate. Organizations which take their stakeholders for granted and abuse their wider responsibilities, including the environment, may find that their continued viability is in doubt. A definition is provided of the “business ethics audit” which attempts to find a middle way between a view that businesses are entirely about creating social good, and one which considers that “the business of business is business” and that there is no wider social responsibility. The preferred approach is to internalize within companies concern for ethical matters, and the appointment of a consumer advocate with access to the board is one way to achieve that. Ethical audit is, after all, merely an extension of existing legal and regulatory requirements. This provides a justification for an involvement of the quality movement in business ethics .
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