Research - 22.09.2019 - 00:00 

The 2019 Swiss Public Value Atlas: The Common Good is Shrinking

How do leading private and public organisations contribute to the common good? The University of St.Gallen’s Centre for Leadership and Values in Society (CLVS-HSG) interviewed almost 15,000 people in cooperation with Leipzig Graduate School of Management. This makes the "GemeinwohlAtlas" (Public Value Atlas) the most comprehensive survey on the common good in Switzerland.

22 September 2019. The Swiss continue to be deeply concerned about the common good in Switzerland. As in the 2017 survey, 73 out of 100 respondents are concerned that too little attention is being paid to the common good in Switzerland. But compared to 2017, they view the contribution to the common good made by organisations and companies in Switzerland much more critically. Citizens feels that almost all organisations have contributed less to the common good than two years ago.

Organisations that do not take the pronounced concern for the common good in Switzerland seriously face harsh criticism. The vast majority of Swiss people are convinced that all organisations have a great responsibility to contribute to the common good. This also holds true for private companies. 86% of respondents attribute a high degree of responsibility for the common good, not only to the public and non-profit sectors but also to the private sector.

In the eyes of the Swiss population, large corporations in particular do not seem to take this responsibility seriously and, compared to 2017, fell particularly sharply in the ranking. Nestlé and Coca-Cola have each lost almost 15% of their common good ratings compared to the 2017 Public Value Atlas, and Amazon and Facebook almost 10%. "This is a fairly significant leap forward in a common good assessment, as it is based on long-term citizen experience with an organisation. Only if the population believes that things are actually going very wrong do such major assessment shifts occur," explains Prof. Dr. Timo Meynhardt, CLVS-HSG Director of Studies.

This is also evident in this year’s "GemeinwohlAtlas Deutschland." The German automotive industry has lost public esteem following the diesel crisis. However, the concern for the common good in Germany is still somewhat higher (81%) compared to Switzerland. It remains to be seen whether Switzerland has a special position in the German-speaking world or whether similar assessments prevail in Austria.

Rankings Overview

This year, as in 2017, first place went to the Swiss Air Rescue Service (Rega). Spitex, the 2015 winner, took second place and Pro Senectute came third. The top ten were all institutions whose performance mandate is essentially aimed at the common good. Geberit AG is the first private-sector company in the ranking. As in 2017, the company (founded in 1874) scored best in the private sector.

Top 10

1.    Swiss Air Rescue Service (Rega)

2.    Spitex Verband Schweiz

3.    Pro Senectute Schweiz

4.    Swiss Paraplegic Group

5.    Swiss Red Cross (SRK)

6.    AHV/IV (National Pension and Incapacity Fund)

7.    Pro Infirmis

8.    Swiss Accident Insurance (Suva)

9.    Swiss Travel Fund Cooperative (Reka)

10.  Salvation Army

Bottom 10

101.    FC Zürich

102.    Facebook, Inc.

103. Inc.

104.    Syngenta AG

105.    Blick

106.    Tamoil

107.    Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)

108.    Glencore

109.    International Federation of Association Football (FIFA)

110.    Marlboro

Overall rankings:

Clear mandate for companies and organisations

Survey respondents called on companies and organisations to do more for the common good, as almost all companies and organisations were rated worse compared to 2017. This may have many negative side effects, as most Swiss people heed the common good when purchasing products or choosing a job. Above all, however, this raises the key question of legitimacy, which should be indispensable for any organisation.

Former HSG President Prof. Dr. Peter Gomez, who serves as patron of the study, commented on the results as follows: "There is only one way for managers to form an opinion on the social acceptance of their company: Ask citizens and then take them seriously."

Prof. Dr. Timo Meynhardt explains: "Switzerland of 2019 is no longer Switzerland of 2017. The common good is shrinking. Executives should see this downturn as a warning that needs at least as much attention as the threat of a shrinking economy."

Discover our special topics