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Raising the bar for Corporate America

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
January 11, 2011

Most Americans have high expectations for the nation’s businesses, but the vast majority also thinks Corporate America failed to meet those expectations in 2010.

While Thomas J. Donohue, in his annual “State of American Business Address” to business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is predicting a fairly strong economic recovery, some analysts are suggesting much more needs to be done by companies comprising the Chamber.

According the consultancy, StrategyOne, the bar has to be raised considerably. In fact, when StrategyOne asked 1,081 Americans how well Corporate America did last year, 82 percent assigned a grade of ‘C’ or lower and 40 percent assigned a grade of ‘D’ or ‘F.’ Just 17 percent gave Corporate America an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ for their 2010 performance.

Other survey highlights included:
* 88 percent of consumers said it was extremely or very important that companies help get the economy back on track in 2011.
* 88 percent said it was extremely or very important to conduct business in an ethical manner in 2011, and 87 percent said it was a top priority to do business in an honest and moral way. But just 17 percent of Americans thought companies deserved an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for honest and moral conduct in 2010, and just 18 percent awarded companies an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for their ethics in 2010.
* 85 percent of consumers thought it was extremely or very important for companies in 2011 to deliver high quality products and services, although only 31 percent said companies deserved an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for this in 2010.
* 84 percent of Americans thought companies needed to demonstrate good governance in 2011, while only 16 percent felt corporations had earned an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade on this issue in 2010.
* 83 percent said it was of high importance for corporations to pay back any bailout money loaned them as quickly as possible in 2011, but 78 percent of consumers said companies deserved a ‘C’ or below for this issue in 2010.
* 82 percent said it was a top priority for companies to make fewer mistakes and errors in 2011, while just 19 percent gave companies an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for this in 2010.

“Let’s be clear, Americans are not dreaming up some far out vision of utopia,” said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne. “Instead they are being realistic that Corporate America should – and indeed must – engage in important issues of the day where they can make a demonstrably positive difference. That means the economy and jobs for starters, but also ensuring their products are safe and not harmful to use, and that they simply conduct their day to day business activities in an honest, ethical, and transparent manner.”

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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