How we identify and rank the Most Admired
Since 1997, Hay Group has partnered with FORTUNE to identify and rank the Most Admired Companies. Following are common questions regarding the study and process.
What is it? How is it done? The FORTUNE Most Admired Companies study surveys top executives and directors from eligible companies, along with financial analysts, to identify the companies that enjoy the strongest reputations within their industries and across industries. This year, FORTUNE will combine the AMAC and WMAC into one survey called “Fortune’s Most Admired Companies Survey.” The new survey is comprised of 66 industries: the 25 international industries from the former WMAC and 41 industries that were exclusive to AMAC.
(Prior to 2008, there were two separate lists published annually: America’s Most Admired Companies and the World’s Most Admired Companies.)
- Candidates: FORTUNE 1000 and Global 500 companies
- 66 industry grouping: 25 covering international (globally competitive) industries and 41 U.S. oriented industries.
- Customized industry questionnaires
- Survey approximately 15,000 senior executives, outside directors, and industry analysts
- Most Admired Companies rated on nine attributes
- Overall corporate reputation score is an average of the attribute scores
Frequently asked questions
How are companies selected to be on the list? FORTUNE determines the industry groupings by using the Fortune 1000 listing and the Global 500 listing. Companies in the 25 international industries were drawn from Fortune’s Global 500 database and must have at least $10 billion in revenue, rank among the largest by revenue within their industry (based on total revenues for 2007). The maximum number of companies in any industry is 16 and each industry grouping is comprised of at least 9 companies representing at least 4 different countries. Companies in the predominantly U.S. oriented industries must be members of the FORTUNE 1000. In addition, approximately 50 non-U.S. companies with significant U.S. presence are also included.
US criteria have at least $1.6 billion in revenue and rank among the 10 largest in their respective industry.
What are the attributes of reputation on which companies are evaluated in determining the industry rankings?
- Quality of management
- Quality of products/services offered
- Value as a long-term investment
- Soundness of financial position
- Ability to attract, develop, and keep talented people
- Responsibility to the community and/or the environment
- Wise use of corporate assets
- Effectiveness in conducting its business globally
How are the attributes defined on the survey? Only the attribute names as listed above are provided on the survey. We simply state that 'ratings may be based on your firsthand knowledge of these companies or on anything you may have observed or heard about them.' Thus, interpretation of the meaning of the attributes within a specific industry is left to the respondents.
How were these attributes developed? The attributes were developed prior to the inception of the Most Admired Companies rankings in the mid 1980s through a series of interviews with executives and industry analysts to determine the qualities that make a company worthy of admiration.
Who is surveyed? For those companies on the Most Admired list, a maximum of 10 top executives and 7 directors (outside board members) per company are selected as well as a pool of industry analysts.
Who were the surveys sent to at my company? If you would like to review the list of participants that received surveys at your company, please contact Sarah Massari at Hay Group.
Can I review/update the list of participants for my company before survey administration? If you would like to receive a preliminary list of participants from your company before surveys are sent out in future years, please send a request to Sarah Massari. Make sure to provide the name of your company, your email address, and your phone number.
How is the survey administered? The survey is administered online. Participants are mailed a hard copy invitation to take the survey online and/or email notification of the survey link and password are sent in early October. However, there is an option to print a hard copy survey once logged into the online survey site and hard copy surveys can then be mailed to Hay Group.
When is the survey conducted? The participant list (registration) is compiled in July–September and the survey site is live in early October each year. A second reminder is then sent out toward mid November, and all surveys are due back to the Hay Group by mid-December at the latest.
How are the Most Admired Company Industry Rankings determined? Raters are asked to evaluate each eligible company on each attribute by assigning a score from zero ('Poor') to ten ('Excellent'). For the purposes of the industry rankings, a company’s overall score is determined through a simple average of the individual attribute scores. Companies who rank in the top half of their industry (the top 8 in the 25 international industries and the top 5 in the 41 U.S. oriented industries) are defined as “most admired” within their industry.
How is the Top 20 “All-Star” list calculated? Respondents are asked to identify the 10 companies they admire most, regardless of industry, from a list of companies that ranked in top 25 per cent of all companies the previous year; or foreign companies who ranked in the top 4 within their industry in the World’s Most Admired Survey last year; or U.S. companies that ranked in the top 3 within their industry in the World’s Most admired Survey (WMAC) last year; or a U.S. companies that ranked in the top 2 within their industry in the America’s Most Admired Survey (AMAC) last year; or a company that ranked among the top 20 all-stars in the WMAC or AMAC last year and did not make any of the above cuts.
How can a company be listed as a Most Admired Company, but not appear near the top of its industry? Since the All Star list is a separate poll from the individual industry lists, involving a different process (see above) and a larger set of raters, it is possible that companies may perform better on the All Star list than they do when judged solely by their industry peers.
Where can I find the company attribute ratings? Visit FORTUNE's website for the full industry listings including company overall scores and attribute scores.
When are the findings published? FORTUNE releases the latest rankings in their March edition which hits newsstands early March. The information is also published on Fortune's website in the beginning of March.