FORTUNE World's Most Admired Companies

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 World’s 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.

Overview

  • Candidates: FORTUNE 1000, Global 500 companies, and other major non-US companies
  • 57 industry grouping: 26 covering international (globally competitive) industries and 31 US oriented industries
  • Customized industry questionnaires
  • Survey approximately 15,000 senior executives, outside directors, and industry and the World's 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 26 international industries must have approximately $10 billion in revenue and rank among the 15 largest by revenue within their industry. Companies in the predominantly US oriented industries must have approximately $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?

  1. Ability to attract and retain talented people
  2. Quality of management
  3. Social responsibility to the community and the environment
  4. Innovativeness
  5. Quality of products or services
  6. Wise use of corporate assets
  7. Financial soundness
  8. Long-term investment value
  9. Effectiveness in doing 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 seven 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 MostAdmired.GlobalSurvey@haygroup.com.

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 MostAdmired.GlobalSurvey@haygroup.com. Make sure to provide the name of your company, your email address, and your phone number.

When is the survey conducted? The participant list is compiled in July–September and the surveys are sent out in October each year. A second reminder mailing is then sent out toward the end of 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 are defined as “most admired” within their industry.

How is the Top 50 “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 percent of all companies the previous year; ranked in the top 3 within their industry the previous year (top 4 for non-US companies); or a company that ranked among the top 50 All-Stars last year and did not make any of the above cuts. Excluded are companies on last year’s list that were not admired, ie, did not rank in the top 50 percent of their industry, and companies on this year’s list that were not on last year’s list.

How can a company be listed as a Most Admired All-Star 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.