Research - 14.05.2014 - 00:00 

GemeinwohlAtlas Schweiz

What contribution do Swiss organisations and enterprises make towards the well-being of society? HSG researchers interviewed 4,500 people in German-speaking Switzerland about 62 organisations. The results are published in the online GemeinwohlAtlas at


22 May 2014. Ever since the financial and economic crisis of 2008 at the latest, Swiss companies and organisations have been called upon to demonstrate their ability to contribute towards societal welfare. Good business results alone are no longer sufficient to legitimise entrepreneurial decisions. However, reliable data about how the population rates individual companies’ and industries’ contribution to public welfare have been missing so far.

For this reason, the Center for Leadership and Values in Society (CLVS-HSG) explored the factors which influence public perception. The data published in the net, which were presented to the general public in St.Gallen’s Pfalzkeller for the first time on 22 May 2014, constitute an empirical basis for a public dialogue.

Performance, quality of life, business practices, solidarity

In a first survey, the researchers led by Prof. em. Dr. Peter Gomez and Prof. Dr. Timo Meynhardt of the CLVS-HSG examined how familiar the population was with Switzerland’s biggest and most important enterprises. On the basis of expert discussions, regionally relevant organisations in the Canton of St.Gallen were also selected. By way of complement, important organisations from outside trade and industry were also included.

Subsequently, the participants in the study filled in an online questionnaire to rate the 62 selected institutions’ contribution to public welfare. The criteria included the organisation’s attainment of its objectives, its contribution towards the quality of life, the moral quality of its business practices and its contribution to solidarity in Switzerland. The ten organisations with the highest ratings are:

• Swiss Travel Fund (Reka)

• Migros

• Swiss Red Cross

• Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)

• Swiss Accident Insurance Fund (Suva)

• Swiss Radio and Television (SRF)

• Swiss Post

• Coop

• Swisscom

• Raiffeisen

A majority of organisations achieve good ratings

The complete list of all enterprises and organisations that were surveyed can be found at the website, which also includes explanations about the methodology and the scientific frame of reference of the GemeinwohlAtlas. The results of the study, which is representative of the population of Eastern Switzerland, are as follows:

• A great majority of the organisations surveyed enjoy a high degree of social support. The interviewees paid these organisations a veritable “compliment”.

• The interviewees are perfectly capable of differentiating in more detail. For instance, “the economy” is not sweepingly lumped together.

• Organisations which were rated critically to very critically have not so far succeeded in framing and communicating their activities so convincingly that the interviewees were able to discern any contribution to public welfare.

In a next step, the authors plan to extend the survey to other regions of Switzerland and to expand the circle of organisations surveyed.

Photo: Photocase / Dominik Schwarz

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