ASQ is getting ready to issue the latest Pathways to Social Responsibility report, and Paul Borawski ties this in nicely with this month’s View from the Q topic. I also just finished reading through the ASQ and IBM report and believe that to be an invaluable source for making the connection and case for quality and social responsibility. It also presented some surprising results regarding general perceptions. With this much information, I’m not sure that we’ve completed identifying trends and potential improvement initiatives.
In his latest post, Paul talks about social responsibility being mainstream, or wondering if it’s still on the fridge. I’d say that all organizations would likely agree on the competitive and general advantages to incorporating SR into their strategies, but the uncertain economic conditions continue to be a priority and viewed as separate to this. In looking at the data, organizations appear to acknowledge the benefits, but still see it as a financial risk. Interestingly, many of the organizations questioned were incorporating CSR related goals as an effort to enhance brand image. So, where is the disconnect? I think it’s with small business and their assessment of risk and priorities. We have failed to prove the top and bottom line results to businesses that are operating day-to-day. This is an opportunity for quality professionals. It’s a win-win… we should sell it that way.
Paul ends the the post essentially calling us out on how we’re making the case for quality and social responsibility. Unlike the results of the recent study, I still find myself having the subject changed when I try to discuss SR and sustainability audits. They want to talk about short-term solutions to existing problems. They’re putting out fires and worried about staying afloat. I don’t consider it sneaky to provide quality solutions that also have a larger impact. But, we need to work on getting through the communication barrier and proving that what we speak is the truth.
Fortunately, it is we in the quality community that have drawn the connections with social responsibility and can use this information to make small changes along the way. The ultimate connection occurs when the consumer has the power to drive change and free markets. I personally make the case for quality to tomorrow’s leaders through my role at the community college. And, I continue to blog about and “sell” social audits as a means of reducing risk and costs. As a consumer, I do care that my money goes to companies committed to being socially responsible and follow that commitment up with action. And, I’m quick to advise others when I find particularly good examples or even bad ones. It’s just another way to “raise the voice.”