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Sustainability and Quality Management: has EFQM fostered a sustainability orientation that delivers to stakeholders?

de Menezes, L. M. ORCID: 0000-0001-9155-5850, Escrig-Tena, A. B. & Bou-Llusar, J. C. (2022). Sustainability and Quality Management: has EFQM fostered a sustainability orientation that delivers to stakeholders?. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 42(13), pp. 155-184. doi: 10.1108/IJOPM-10-2021-0634


Purpose: As a Quality Management framework, the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model has stakeholder management at its core. In EFQM (2012), based on which assessments were made until 2021, “creating a sustainable future” was a fundamental principle, but how it translated to a Sustainability Orientation and delivered to stakeholders remains questionable. This study investigates the Sustainability Orientation within EFQM (2012) and its associations with Results for stakeholders.

Methodology: Longitudinal assessments of recognized-for-excellence organizations by a partner of EFQM are considered. Using factor analysis, scores on the sub-criteria that defined “creating a sustainable future” are investigated, and a Sustainability Orientation is inferred. Panel regressions and structural equation modelling assess the correlations between Sustainability Orientation and Results. A qualitative analysis follows, where sustainability reports from role-models within this population are text mined to examine whether and how they reflected the guidance in EFQM (2012) concerning “creating a sustainable future”.

Findings: Direct and indirect positive associations between the Sustainability Orientation implied by EFQM (2012) and stakeholder-performance are confirmed. Yet, inferences from text mining of reported priorities of role-models of excellence illustrate that EFQM (2012) might have driven different strategies towards sustainability.

Originality: Despite conceptualizations that the EFQM model embeds a Sustainability Orientation, to the best of our knowledge, its existence and likely impact remain to be examined.By combining longitudinal statistical analysis, structural equation models and text mining, consistent insights on the link between Sustainability Orientation and organizational performance are obtained

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at
Publisher Keywords: Sustainability, Quality Management, EFQM Excellence Model, Stakeholder’s Theory, GRI reports, longitudinal analysis, text mining
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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