MILWAUKEE, WI- When paired with an organization’s quality program, social responsibility initiatives are more successful than when the two aren’t integrated, according to a new study produced by ASQ and IBM.

According to the report, 60.7% of respondents said their social responsibility program was somewhat, very or a little successful when integrated with their quality program.

While organizations that paired their quality and social responsibility efforts had at least some success, nearly 40 percent of respondents said their quality and social responsibility programs remain separate, leaving opportunities to improve results by adopting this approach.

“Quality and Social Responsibility: A Key Business Strategy for Enhancing Competitive Position,” which is available on, polled 1,105 respondents from around the world. The survey was conducted to explore the approaches of worldwide organizations large and small to initiate and maintain social responsibility programs and how quality techniques can improve those efforts.

Having a quality program in place provides the supporting tools and methods for analyzing conceptual approaches to social responsibility.

“This report clearly shows that the integration of quality and social responsibility programs is essential for achieving sustainable results in the future,” says ASQ CEO Paul Borawski. “Social responsibility and quality has been connected in many ways, including its incorporation in the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and the adoption of ISO 26000.”

Despite the popularity of social responsibility programs, coordinating social responsibility efforts organization-wide and engaging employees in social responsibility were identified by respondents as top challenges, at 16.1% and 14.4%, respectively.

Other challenges include the ability to calculate return on investment for social responsibility programs; getting suppliers, customers and business partners involved; developing a coherent strategy credible at the CEO level; and expanding the breadth of social responsibility efforts into new areas within the organization.

Other findings in the report include:

  • The leading reason-18.5%-for starting a social responsibility program was to enhance the organization’s image, while 17.1% say their program was started to sustain growth.
  • 25% of respondents say their organization has one to two employees responsible for the social responsibility program, while 21.9%of respondents say five to nine employees are responsible for the program.
  • Nearly 41% of respondents say their company has no formal social responsibility program, while about 15% of respondents say their program has been in place for seven or more years. Just more than 5% say their program is less than one year old.